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2024 Draft Preview: How Early Do The Seahawks Address The Interior Line?

A look at where the Seahawks stand at offensive line heading into the 2024 NFL Draft, as well as draft analyst Rob Rang’s top-ranked prospects at that position.

Draft Preview - OL

The NFL Draft kicks off later this month in Detroit, and while it will be the 15th in Seattle for general manager and president of football operations John Schneider, it will be his first with new head coach Mike Macdonald.

But while there are some adjustments to be made for Schneider and the player personnel department in terms of learning what Macdonald and his coaching staff look for in players, Schneider doesn't see this draft process playing out a whole lot differently than the previous 14 did with Pete Carroll as the head coach.

"There's so much preparation that goes into it, it's going to be the same," Schneider said last month at the NFL Annual Meeting. "The preparation is—really, think of it like a game; you're putting together a game-plan sheet. That's basically what your board looks like. So you're like, 'OK, well that happened, now we're going here. That happened. Now we're going here.' So that's really your preparation, and I don't see it being any different.

"Pete, he was a blast to work with throughout the preparation, and Mike and his staff are the same. It's going to be fun."

Unlike the past two drafts in which Seattle had multiple first and second-round picks thanks to the Russell Wilson trade, the Seahawks have a little less draft capital in 2024, though the 16th overall pick is still a valuable asset, either to be used on an elite player or perhaps to be traded for a pick later in the first round along with additional picks. The Seahawks have seven total picks heading into the draft, but do not have a second-rounder having sent that to the Giants in last year's trade for Leonard Williams.

So with the draft coming up soon, is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand for the Seahawks, as well as the top draft prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position over the past 14 drafts under Schneider.

So far we've covered quarterback and off-ball linebacker, and today we turn our attention to the offensive line. Check back tomorrow when we focus on the defensive line and outside linebacker.

Seattle's 2024 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 16 overall; Round 3, No. 81 overall (from New Orleans via Denver); Round 4, No. 102 overall (from Washington); Round 4, No. 118 overall; Round 6, No. 179 overall (from Washington); Round 6, No. 192 overall; Round 7, No. 235 overall.

Offensive Line Draft History Under John Schneider: 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/G/C 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); G/T Germain Ifedi (No. 31, 2016); G/T Rees Odhiambo (No. 97, 2016); C Joey Hunt (No. 215, 2016); C/G Ethan Pocic (No. 58, 2017); T Justin Senior (No. 210, 2017); T Jamarco Jones (No. 168, 2018); G Phil Haynes (No. 124, 2019); G Damien Lewis (No. 69, 2020); T Stone Forsythe (No. 208, 2021); T Charles Cross (No. 9, 2022); T Abraham Lucas (No. 72, 2022); G Anthony Bradford (No. 108, 2023); C Olu Oluwatimi (No. 154, 2023).

Where the Seahawks Stand

The Seahawks could still add a veteran guard between now the draft—there are several longtime starters still available—but it seems almost a foregone conclusion that they will also address that position during the draft seeing as last year's starting left guard, Damien Lewis, left in free agency, while last year's season-opening starter at right guard, Phil Haynes, remains a free agent. The Seahawks do still have Anthony Bradford, who started 10 games as a rookie and is a strong candidate to start at right guard in Year 2, as well as some other young players with limited experience like McClendon Curtis and Tremayne Anchrum Jr., but even if they like the upside of those players, the Seahawks still need to add to that position between now and the start of training camp, a fact acknowledged by both Schneider and Macdonald in recent weeks.

"It's a work in progress and we're not done by any stretch of the imagination," Macdonald said. "Obviously, there is some great competition going to happen in that room and we expect some higher level play this year from those guys, and we're out at work at it. But we are not hitting the panic button or anything like that. We don't play until September so a lot of time to figure out who the right guys are and who the right opportunities are to make the team the best we can.''

Said Schneider, "We're going to be bringing a couple of veteran offensive linemen through in this second phase of free agency, and then comparing that what the draft looks like... That is a need on our team right now, I think it's fairly obvious."

The Seahawks could also look to add to the competition at center after losing Evan Brown in free agency, but Olu Oluwatimi seems primed to take over that role in his second season, although not without a fight from former UW Husky Nick Harris, who signed in free agency.

So the question then becomes one of how early the Seahawks address the line, and guard in particular, and perhaps if they elect to take multiple swings at that position in the draft. Obviously signing a veteran starter before the draft can help mitigate the need a bit, but doing so would not change the bigger picture need there. Traditionally interior linemen don't often get drafted in the top half of the first round, but there are some very good linemen in this year's draft, including college tackles who perhaps project even better as guards, who might be worth an early pick for Seattle. There is also enough guard depth in the middle rounds that the Seahawks could go that direction as well, but whatever strategy the Seahawks use on draft weekend, it seems highly likely they attack, at some point in the draft, what Schneider referred to as a "fairly obvious" need.

Rob Rang's Top 5 Offensive Tackles

Overview: The Seahawks boast one of the best young bookends of offensive tackles in all the NFL in left tackle Charles Cross and right tackle Abraham Lucas, but a potentially historic class nevertheless makes it possible that Seattle will reinvest at the position this spring, even after reuniting with veteran George Fant in free agency. That is because some of this year's top collegiate offensive tackles actually project best inside at guard in the NFL, where the Seahawks are seeking to replace four-year starter Damien Lewis. Of the prospects listed below, Washington's Troy Fautanu, Alabama's JC Latham and Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga (a Tacoma native) are all viewed as potential guard converts. All five players listed below are viewed as first round "locks" with two or three more possibly earning top 32 selections. Along with quarterback and wide receiver, offensive tackle is the richest positional group in the 2024 draft. The talent is so good, in fact, I expect future NFL starters at the position to still be available throughout Day Two and perhaps even into Day Three. Washington's Roger Rosengarten is one such prospect being underrated as is Houston's Patrick Paul and Missouri's Javon Foster. Sleepers I like include Yale's Kiran Amegadjie, Wyoming's Frank Crum and South Dakota State's Garrett Greenfield.

1. Joe Alt, Notre Dame, 6-9, 321, Top 10

In a class full of future top-end starting tackles, Alt is the easy choice as the safest of the bunch. A former tight end who started 33 consecutive games at left tackle for an Irish squad that routinely churns out NFL-caliber offensive lineman, Alt was literally born to play professional sports. His father, John, was a two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle and is a member of the KC Chiefs' Hall of Fame and his older brother, Mark, is currently a member of the NHL's LA Kings. Barring injury, Alt has the look of a decade-long anchor for a lucky NFL team.

2. Troy Fautanu, Washington, 6-4, 317, Top 20

Even among offensive linemen statistics can be bent in all sorts of ways but one particularly telling number with Fautanu and is this – over 2.5 seasons as the Huskies' starting left tackle, he gave up just three total sacks, earning himself First Team All-PAC-12 honors each of the past two seasons, as well as the Morris Trophy in 2023. And remember, this was for a Huskies squad that threw the ball consistently deep and more often (574 attempts) than any other in the country. He's a plug and play blocker with experience at both left tackle and left guard, showing the power, agility and tenacity to line wherever his future NFL team needs him most.

3. JC Latham, Alabama, 6-6, 342, Top 20

Even for mighty Alabama, Latham stands apart due to his size and recruiting hype, signing with the Crimson Tide as a consensus 5-star recruit and the most celebrated freshman in the entire SEC in 2021. Since, he served as key backup at right guard as a true freshman and the Tide's starting right tackle each of the past two seasons, blowing away opponents with his sheer size and strength. Scouts will take the mobility of Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe into account when projecting Latham to the NFL, as he wasn't as dominant in pass protection as his stats (three sacks allowed in 443 pass sets, according to PFF) suggest, but one can live with the couple of plays Latham gives up in comparison to the dozens in which he dominates.

4. Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State, 6-6, 324, Top 20

If Fuaga had played at Ohio State, rather than Oregon State, the Tacoma native might be considered a consensus Top 10 selection. After a terrific week at the Senior Bowl (where he was named the OT of the Week) Fuaga might get there anyway. He is a quality pass protector with zero career sacks allowed and arguably the best run blocker in this class. Frankly, there is not an OT in this class with more highlight reel blocks than Fuaga, who served up more pancakes each weekend than the local Denny's. His relatively short arms (33 3/8"), however, may get him pushed inside to guard, though he possesses the nastiness and power to excel in this role.

5. Amarius Mims, Georgia, 6-8, 340, First Round

From a scouting perspective, there may not be a player at any position in this class more exciting than the massive Mims, who shockingly entered the 2024 draft with just eight starts on his college resumé. Boasting a prototypical frame for an offensive tackle, Mims signed with Georgia as a consensus 5-star recruit and has dominated when on the field but injuries and a stacked roster limited him prior to his leaving Athens as a redshirt sophomore. For such a large man, Mims is remarkably quick and balanced in pass protection and he plows through defenders in the running game.

Rob Rang's Top 5 Interior Offensive Linemen

Overview: One position that promises to earn plenty of attention from the Seahawks in the build-up to the 2024 NFL draft is along the interior of the offensive line. Seattle opened last season with Damien Lewis at left guard, Evan Brown at center and Phil Haynes at right guard. Lewis (Carolina) and Brown (Arizona) have since signed elsewhere in free agency and Haynes was supplanted in the starting lineup a year ago by then-rookie Anthony Bradford. The Seahawks appear set at center with Olu Oluwatimi expected to take over as the full-time starter unless veteran Nick Harris, signed away from Cleveland in free agency, beats him out for the job. Another veteran – Tremayne Anchrum Jr. – was added to the mix at guard, signing with the Seahawks after spending the past four years with the division rival LA Rams. Even if the Seahawks bring in other veterans, Seahawks general manager John Schneider publicly acknowledged the club's "fairly obvious" need inside. Fortunately, the 2024 draft boasts several starting-caliber blockers, including the aptly-named Jackson Powers-Johnson from Oregon. He and Duke's Graham Barton boast the positional versatility Seattle has long prioritized along the offensive line, with each commonly projected in mock drafts as Seattle's top selection. Among my favorite middle and late round candidates not listed below include centers Tanor Bortolini (Wisconsin) and Beaux Limmer (Arkansas), as well as guards Cooper Beebe (Kansas State), Brandon Coleman (TCU), Dominick Puni (Kansas) and Sataoa Laumea (Utah).

1. Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon, 6-3, 328, First Round

It isn't often that interior offensive linemen leave early for the NFL with just one year of starting action under their belt but when that solitary season is as dominant as Powers-Johnson's 2023 campaign, it is understandable. The Utah native signed with Oregon as a consensus four-star recruit three years ago and earned immediate playing time at guard, center and even defensive tackle for a program that saw all five of its starting blockers either be drafted or signed as free agents by NFL teams. JPJ earned First Team All-PAC-12 honors in 2023 and was stellar at the Senior Bowl, showing off the broad build, ballast and shocking agility to project as a decade-long foundational piece at any of the three interior positions.

2. Graham Barton, Duke, 6-5, 313, First-Second Round

Barton began his college career at center but the Duke coaching staff quickly realized he was their best blocker and moved him outside to left tackle for the next three years, where he earned First Team All-ACC honors following the 2022 and 2023 campaigns. While tall, Barton's relatively short arms (32 5/8") and physical brand of football project better inside in the NFL. He ranks as one of the more pro-ready prospects in this class, winning with size, strength, athleticism and technique, while also showing the toughness and smarts NFL teams expect.

3. Zach Frazier, West Virginia, 6-3, 313, Second-Third Round

After a dominating prep career on the football field and the wrestling mat (four-time state heavyweight champion), Frazier signed with his native state Mountaineers and immediately lived up to his three-star billing, becoming the first true freshman offensive lineman at West Virginia to start since 1980. Frazier would go on to become a rock for WVU, starting 46 games at left guard (2020) and center over his four years in Morgantown, earning First Team All-Big 12 accolades from league coaches the past two seasons. Frazier isn't flashy but he's quick, strong and understands leverage better than a Physics professor.

4. Christian Haynes, Connecticut, 6-3, 317, Second-Third Round

While basketball clearly remains the top sport at UCONN, former Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, Jr. has made football relevant again, leading the Huskies to a bowl game to cap the 2022 season and producing a two-time All-American in Haynes, a legitimate Top 100 candidate. Haynes is a bowling ball and a brawler, coming off the snap low and hard to consistently generate movement. Any concerns about his level of competition were erased with a stellar week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He started 49 games at UCONN, playing both left and right guard.

5. Jordan Morgan, Arizona, 6-5, 311, Second-Third Round

An Arizona native who grew up just a half hour's drive from campus, Morgan emerged as the best offensive line prospect from the Wildcats in quite some time during his five-year college career, culminating with First Team All-PAC-12 honors in 2023, as well as an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He started a total of 37 games over his career, all of them at left tackle but, like Barton, relatively stubby arms (32 7/8") could push him inside to guard in the NFL. Not every college tackle with short arms can handle the quick, combative chaos inside but Morgan plays with the aggression and physicality to do so.

NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang ranked his top offensive tackles and interior offensive linemen for the upcoming draft.

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