OL could get boost with Supplemental prospect

Most years, the NFL's annual Supplemental Draft comes and goes without much interest from the Seahawks. Brian Bosworth in 1987 was a notable exception. Could 2015 be another? Former Clemson left tackle Isaiah Battle is the most intriguing prospect in the July draft and has many of the physical attributes Seattle likes in their offensive linemen.

After two consecutive years of no players getting selected in the NFL's annual Supplemental Draft, there promises to be at least some fireworks this July. That's because 6-foot-6, 290 pound former Clemson left tackle Isaiah Battle - the most gifted prospect to enter the Supplemental Draft since wideout Josh Gordon - has elected to forgo his collegiate eligibility and enter this year's draft.

Battle signed as a highly regarded prospect and it isn't difficult to see why. Physically, he looks the part of an NFL left tackle with a tapered, athletic frame including broad shoulders and long arms. He's light on his feet, showing balance and agility in pass protection as well as when blocking at the second level in the running game.

He's certainly raw. Too often Battle (pictured above) bends at the waist rather than the knees, leaving himself vulnerable to bull rushers and counters back to the inside. And he needs more time in the weight room to develop his strength.

Battle has a lot of the unique physical tools that have intrigued John Schneider and Pete Carroll in the past and given Tom Cable (and Pat Ruel's) track record in developing prospects, it wouldn't surprise me to see Seattle investigate the 22-year old fully.

Incumbent starting left tackle Russell Okung is entering the final year of his rookie contract and though often the brunt of scorn from fans, he will demand big dollars on the open market. Second-year pro Garry Gilliam will always hold a place in Seattle's heart for the trick touchdown that sparked the comeback in the NFC Championship Game victory over the Packers last year but the Seahawks may be hesitant to turn over the position to the former undrafted free agent.

Battle played in 27 games for the Tigers over the past three seasons, starting 11 of 12 games a year ago and 16 contests, overall. Ideally, he'd be drafted by a team with the ability to "redshirt" him and let him develop. There are a lot of clubs in need of offensive tackles, however. The Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are among the clubs already rumored to be interested in Battle. His length and athleticism could make Battle particularly intriguing to teams using a zone blocking scheme, like Seattle.

The Supplemental Draft is very different from the typical April edition. It was originally created as a catch-all for players who had lost their eligibility at the collegiate level between the January cut-off for underclassmen to declare early and the start of the next season. Typically, players allowed into the Supplemental Draft ran afoul of the law or academic expectations. That may not be the case with Battle, however, according to the announcement of his plans published on Clemson's official athletic web site.

"I have some family matters to address, with a child due this summer, and I feel it is in my best interest to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft," Battle said. "I want to thank everyone at Clemson, especially Coach [Dabo] Swinney and the assistant coaches, for what they have done for me the last three years. I also want to thank my teammates. They have all had a big impact on my career."

Teams aren't "on the clock" during the Supplemental Draft. Each club emails the round in which they'd be willing to invest a pick for the player to the NFL and, if it's the highest, that franchise will be awarded the prospect and lose its corresponding pick in the next year's regular draft. The order is based loosely on the prior year's record. If Seattle does have concerns about the long term play at left tackle, investing a middle round pick in Battle could pay off down the road.

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