After the Kansas City Chiefs selected Tennessee safety Eric Berry at number five, the Seattle Seahawks wasted little in making Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
"There's some things he's going to struggle with because he's young, and he has to do it," Seahawks offensive line coach Alex Gibbs said of Okung. "We're going to throw him right in. He will be our starting left tackle, 'Day One, Hour One'.
"We will live with him through whatever the pain is."
Okung will replace the legendary Walter Jones at left tackle. Jones, a future Hall of Famer, is expected to announce his retirement from the National Football League in the coming days.
Knowing that Chiefs offensive line coach Bill Muir was interested in Okung, Gibbs was nervous as the Seahawks' brass awaited for Kansas City to submit their draft card.
"First of all, he has tremendously long arms, and tall stature," Gibbs said. "He's nasty, and football is his life. He's so committed to what he wants to do. He doesn't have a lot of fan fare. He doesn't have a lot of side-views. He doesn't have a lot of contingencies. He's football. It's the most important thing in his life, and he is a committed young player, which is rare in today's world to get 'em where they come out, and it's everything they want to be.
"So we've got a guy that's going to come early, stay late, and aspires to be outstanding within himself. Self-motivated."
Gibbs also discussed that the signing earlier this week of veteran guard Ben Hamilton was designed to help mentor a young offensive tackle in the team's zone-blocking system.
Gibbs' was Hamilton's offensive line coach when he entered the NFL with the Denver Broncos in 2001, and Hamilton has started 104 games, primarily at left guard, in this system. Hamilton also played a hand in aiding the development of Broncos perennial Pro Bowl tackle Ryan Clady.
"Ben will line up inside of him and guide him through this whole process," Gibbs said. "So he's Coach one, I'm Coach two. That's why he's here."
With the 14th overall pick, the Seahawks selected Texas safety Earl Thomas.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said during a first-round wrap-up press conference that Thomas would play free safety, replacing veteran Deon Grant, who was released last month. Jordan Babineaux will play strong safety, Carroll added.
Thomas (5-10, 202) was rated behind Berry as the draft's top safety, with some experts--most notably Mike Mayock of the NFL Network--having Thomas rated ahead of Berry based on Thomas' exceptional instincts to play the position.
A ball-hawk in the secondary, Thomas intercepted 10 passes during his two seasons with the Longhorns, including eight as a red-shirt sophomore in 2009. Thomas earned first-team All-American honors and was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist in 2009, and the 20-year old declared for the NFL Draft a day after the 2009 National Championship Game.
The Seahawks currently have one selection on Day Two of the three-day draft, the 60th overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.
Seahawks Draft Okung, Thomas
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