Seahawks Draft Need - Offensive Tackle

When Walter Jones didn't come back from his micro-fracture surgery, things went from bad to worse along the offensive line and with Jones' prospects for returning to action seemingly very slim, this is the draft the Seahawks must find a young tackle to take the sure-fire Hall-of-Famer's place at left tackle...

It's been a revolving door at left tackle for the Seahawks this year. With Jones missing the entire season, Seattle has rotated four players through -- Kyle Williams, Brandon Frye, Ray Willis and Sean Locklear -- and while the latter has done the best job, everyone pretty much agrees he's not the permanent solution to hold down the left tackle spot.

It is imperative that Seattle finds the replacement for Jones, regardless of the fact that he says he wants to try and come back in 2010. With his age and the position he plays, the likelihood is slim that he will even return, much less play at the high level Seattle fans and the organization have come to expect over the past decade.

Oklahoma State's Russell Okung has been my favorite tackle to watch this year. He's more polished that Jason Smith, last year's first tackle taken, and he's more athletic than Jake Long who was taken first overall by Miami two years ago.

Okung's size, quick feet and long arms are a perfect fit at left tackle, where he can easily handle the speedy pass-rushers the NFL can throw at him every week while also fending off bull-rushers who try to bring it right at him.

Where he'll struggle early on, like Smith, is in the running game where he's only average right now. It isn't because he isn't a willing blocker, he is, but in Oklahoma State's offense the run blocking is more about shielding defenders instead of actually aggressively pursuing them to block. In the NFL, you have to be able to drive block as well as get down the field and find a man. He's got all the tools, he just needs to proper coaching in order to realize his full potential in the running game.

After Okung, it's a bit of a crap-shoot.

Oklahoma's Trent Williams and Rutgers' Anthony Davis appear, at this point at least, as the next tier of tackle prospects, but I just don't see it at this point.

Davis has outstanding potential and he's probably the best tackle available in the running game. However, he struggles when asked to handle edge pass-rushers who like to get up field quickly. That doesn't mean he can't with better technique, but to just throw him out there as a starter from day one could be costly.

The talented junior hasn't declared yet for the Draft and may return. Should he opt to finish out his college eligibility, he'd likely be the first tackle selected in April of 2011.

Williams appears to be a better fit at right tackle to me. He is a good pass-blocker, but he isn't athletic enough in my opinion to handle speed rushers, who will eat him for lunch on a weekly basis. At right tackle, he'd at least have the tight end most of the time to help him out and he has the size and strength to handle the power-rushers from that side.

Next in line is a group of solid, not great linemen who could project on either side.

USC's Charles Brown has big-time potential, but he's been inconsistent in his four years with the Trojans. One play you'll watch him pick up a blitzing linebacker or safety and on another you will see him whiff on a man who was head-up on him.

He's a much more rounded prospect though than some of the other players available because he plays in a pro scheme that teaches him the proper techniques that translate the an NFL system. He displays early first round potential, but I have a feeling he will drop a little and could even fall into the early part of the second round if teams are worried about his consistency.

The next two seniors on the list are Tennessee's Chris Scott and Iowa's Kyle Calloway. While both are solid, it's a group of juniors that has to be more intriguing for NFL scouts.

Iowa's Bryan Bulaga, Boston College's Anthony Costanzo, TCU's Marcus Cannon and Georgia's Clint Boling.

Bulaga and Calloway are teammates on one of the best offensive lines in the country. They also get good coaching from a former offensive lineman in Kirk Ferentz who's program has produced several big-time linemen over the past two years.

Bulaga, with is outstanding technique, could challenge Davis for the top tackle spot in 2011 should both choose to return.

Cannon is intriguing because of his size. At 6-5, 350 pounds he looks to me like a player who could project inside at a guard position if the need arises. He's got nimble feet though for a man his size, so right tackle would probably be the better spot for him.

Seattle must take at least one and would be better served if they looked at two tackle prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. With Jones likely done and Locklear turning 29 in May, the Seahawks need to find the players to fill in the depth at the tackle positions.


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