2016 NFL Draft Preview: How Big of a Need is Offensive Line for the Seahawks?

A look at where the Seahawks' roster currently stands at offensive line, and at some of the top prospects in this year's draft.

With the NFL Draft coming up, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand with Seattle's roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

Seattle currently holds nine picks in the 2016 draft, which begins on Thursday, April 28 in Chicago.  

Round 1 | Pick 26 | No. 26 overall

Round 2 | Pick 25 | No. 56 overall

Round 3 | Pick 27 | No. 90 overall

Round 3 | Pick 35 | No. 97 overall*

Round 4 | Pick 26 | No. 124 overall

Round 5 | Pick 34 | No. 171 overall*

Round 6 | Pick 40 | No. 215 overall*

Round 7 | Pick 4 | No. 225 overall (from Dallas) 

Round 7 | Pick 26 | No. 247 overall

* - Compensatory Pick (compensatory picks cannot be traded)

Our draft preview series begins with the offensive line, one of the Seahawks' more unsettled position groups following the departure of two starters in free agency, left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy.

Draft History (Under Schneider and Carroll)

T Russell Okung* (No. 6 overall, 2010)

G James Carpenter* (No. 25, 2011)

G John Moffitt* (No. 75, 2011)

G J.R. Sweezy* (No. 225, 2012)

G Ryan Seymour* (No. 220, 2013)

G Jared Smith* (No. 241, 2013)

T Michael Bowie* (No. 242, 2013)

T Justin Britt (No. 64, 2014)

T Garrett Scott* (No. 199, 2014)

T Terry Poole (No. 130, 2015)

G Mark Glowinski (No. 134, 2015)

G/C Kristjan Sokoli (No. 214, 2015).

* signifies a player no longer with the team.

Where the Seahawks Stand

With Okung and Sweezy both signing elsewhere in free agency, the Seahawks will have a new-look line come September. Whether that line is made up of players currently on the roster depends on what happens in the draft as well as how the competitions play out come training camp.

As things stand before the draft, the plan at left tackle is to let Garry Gilliam, last year's starting right tackle, compete with free-agent addition Bradley Sowell to replace Okung. Gilliam has the type of athleticism usually associated with that position, but if he indeed ends up at left tackle, that will leave an opening on the right side, one that could be filled by another free-agent signing, former Oakland Raider J'Marcus Webb.

Mark Glowinski figures to have the early lead in the competition to replace Sweezy having started one game there last season, but there will no doubt be competition there as well. As the roster currently stands, the likely starting line, according to what Carroll and Schneider have said in offseason interviews, would be Gilliam or Sowell at left tackle, Justin Britt at left guard, Patrick Lewis at center, Glowinski at right guard and Webb at right tackle, but that could obviously change between now and the start of the season based on the draft, as well as how other linemen currently on the roster compete in camp.  

However things shake out, Carroll and his coaching staff are confident in their options even before adding to the position in the draft.

"I think we are in good shape," Carroll said the NFL annual meetings last month. "It's very fortunate that we have Garry Gilliam. The combination of the fact that he played this year and did a good job, he gained the starter's mentality and all that, we think we have an athlete who is really equipped to play that spot. But we are going to have to go to camp and see how that works out. We'll have the flexibility to see how Brad looks there. We could also do J'Marcus (Webb) there if we have to and Garry could stay on the right side, so we'll figure that out when we get to camp and get our hands on the guys.

"Garry Gilliam, he's a tremendous prospect to be a left tackle also. I think you guys are real concerned about this spot—we're really not. We're excited to see how it turns out. But we have good viable guys to take a shot, and we'll see how Terry Poole can do too at the right tackle spot to give us four guys who really can mix it. We have to figure it out as we go, but I've never been worried about that. But we just want it to happen quickly and get the thing situated as quickly as we can. No timeline on that but that will be one of our concerns as we go through."

Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's Top 5 offensive tackles in the 2016 NFL Draft.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Offensive Tackles

1. Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): From a talent and technique standpoint, Tunsil is easily cleanest offensive lineman in the 2016 draft and might be the cleanest prospect period. Tunsil showed signs of rust against Texas A&M in his first game back from a seven-game suspension, and he still kept Myles Garrett in check. Tunsil lacks pure power, but has the body control to be a quality run blocker in space and on levels. Ultimately, his feet, technique and instincts could make him an all-p­ro and one of the top pass protectors in the NFL.

2. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Three-year starter with the outstanding foot quickness and pass protection talent expected from an early round left tackle prospect. Stanley showed great maturity in acknowledging his weaknesses and returning to school to work on them and improve his game. While Stanley's core power is still a concern, he showed improved strength and run blocking prowess this year and should be ready to come in and start right away for a team looking to protect a high-­end quarterback.

3. Jack Conklin, Michigan State

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Possesses top flight size and strength at the tackle position and has the technique and recovery athleticism to make up for his average foot quickness. Conklin went from solid in 2014 to very good in 2015 and teams must now decide whether or not they want to give him a chance at left tackle or plug him in on the right side where he should be able to step in right away and become a quality starter. Conklin has some physical limitations, but he's got solid technique and exactly the field demeanor that offensive line coaches will be looking for.

4. Taylor Decker, Ohio State

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): His intangibles will likely help make up for some of his physical deficiencies, but he likely lacks the arm length and consistency against edge rushers to play on the left side as a pro. Decker has the run-blocking prowess and mindset to be a long-time starter at right tackle, but may always be a little leakier in pass protection than offensive line coaches and quarterbacks might like.

T-5. Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): It wasn't long ago scouts were beating up former Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi about a disappointing season before he went 21st overall in the draft even with a torn ACL. NFL scouts see Ifedi as a guard, but a team may decide to try him at tackle before moving him inside. Ifedi has the tools and traits to become a good NFL offensive linemen if he can avoid the leaning and lunging that plagues him. A move inside combined with NFL coaching could unlock Ifedi's high ceiling.

T-5. Jason Spriggs, Indiana

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Spriggs has outstanding athleticism, but his play strength and overall recovery ability are major concerns for a position as important as tackle. Spriggs followed up a strong week at the Senior Bowl with a very good showing at the combine and has solidified his standing as an early round tackle amongst evaluators. If he can improve his inside post and prevent counter moves from eating him up, he has a chance to be a solid NFL starter on the left side.

Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's Top 5 offensive guards in the 2016 NFL Draft.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Guards

1. Cody Whitehair, Kansas State

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): With his combination of functional strength and body control, Whitehair might be one of the safest offensive linemen in the entire draft. He will almost assuredly be bumped inside to guard, but could be considered at center as well. He has the confidence and talent to start right away and his run blocking should improve as he gets more comfortable firing out from a three-­point stance. Whitehair has the ability to be a very good starter with a ceiling that could reach the all-pro level.

2. Joshua Garnett, Stanford

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Thick, powerful guard who can gain an early advantage in the rep and finish with authority. Garnett looks to establish a new line of scrimmage on every running play and is a great fit for a team looking to impose their will between the tackles. While he's a plus run blocker, his pass protection issues should not be taken lightly and will have to be vetted with offensive line coaches to make sure they are correctable issues. Garnett should be an early round pick who can come in and start right away.

3. Christian Westerman, Arizona State

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Quick-­twitch, athletic guard who comes from a football family and has been working on his strength and athleticism from a young age. Offensive line coaches will appreciate Westerman's technical savvy and zone scheme teams will covet his fluidity and blocking ability on the move. A move to center is not out of the question thanks to his body type and quickness and his draft stock may be helped by a potential ability to offer roster depth at several offensive line positions.

4. Vadal Alexander, LSU

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Teams will no doubt be intrigued by Alexander's length, size and power, but this year should have proved that his only position in the pros is at guard and that his lack of athleticism could limit which teams will consider him in the draft. Alexander has enough power in tight quarters to win one­-on-­one battles, but his lack of balance and functional footwork will diminish his success rate as a block finisher. It might be Alexander's best interest to lean down in an attempt to improve his quickness and overall body control if he is to become a consistent, NFL player.

5. Connor McGovern, Missouri

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Three-year starter who has played guard and both tackle spots. While he has the power and frame of a guard, there are some teams who may give him a shot at right tackle first. McGovern still has some work to do in pass protection, but shows potential to be a starter in the league. He is an ascending prospect whose stock should rise thanks to his power and multi-­position diversity.

Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's Top 5 centers in the 2016 NFL Draft.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Centers

1. Ryan Kelly, Alabama

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Tenacious leader and three-­year starter for highly successful Alabama program that puts a heavy emphasis on physical and mental toughness. Kelly might not be a combine warrior, but when the pads are strapped, he plays with enough strength and athleticism to thrive in both gap and zone running schemes. While he could use more mass on his frame, Kelly has the necessary skill­ set and football intelligence to step in and challenge for a starting position right away.

2. Nick Martin, Notre Dame

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Three-year starter who possesses the leadership, intelligence and toughness that general managers and offensive line coaches look for from their centers. A season ending knee injury in 2013 might have taken away some of his natural bend and athleticism, but Martin's play strength and toughness should make him an early starter in the league at either guard or center.

3. Max Tuerk, USC

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Athletic, but undersized center who gives tremendous pound­-for­-pound effort on every rep. Tuerk uses hand strength and plus balance and body control to make up for a lack of power, but his knee injury and below average mass for the position will certainly scare some teams away. Tuerk can handle himself in any scheme but is a fit for primarily zone scheme rushing attacks who don't face many 3­-4 fronts within their division.

4. Evan Boehm, Missouri

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Four­-year starter with outstanding power at the point of attack with an ability to create running lanes through sheer brute force. Boehm's squatty frame may cause some evaluators to hesitate, but offensive line coaches will fall in love with his instincts, power, leadership and durability. Boehm has a chance to be an early starter for a team looking for power and leadership in the middle of their line.

T-5. Graham Glasgow, Michigan

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Three-year starter who relies on power over athleticism to win his reps. Glasgow's strength at the point of attack will appeal to power running teams, but his inconsistent connection percentage on second level blocks may worry some teams. Glasgow needs to improve his hands, but he has enough upside to be a quality backup at two positions or maybe an eventual starter.

T-5. Jack Allen, Michigan State

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Despite having a cat named "Bubbles," Allen is a coach's dream with the leadership, competitiveness and the tenacious mindset to grind out the will of defenders by the end of the fourth quarter. While there are clearly some athletic limitations, Allen is especially adept at minimizing those while accentuating his strengths. There are too many check marks in his favor to expect him to fall short of an NFL career as an eventual starter.

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