When Seahawks rookie minicamp kicked off Friday, first-round draft pick Germain Ifedi was lined up at right guard, not at tackle, the position he had played during his past two seasons at Texas A&M. And while nothing is close to being set in stone in mid-May, the plan for now at least is to use Ifedi at right guard next to free-agent addition J'Marcus Webb at right tackle.
"If you go back and look at where he has played, his film early in his career at right guard shows he's really adept at doing that too," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Ifedi. "He's got the flexibility to play right tackle as well. We're going to take a good look at J'Marcus Webb at right tackle and Germain (at guard) side-by-side.
Again, it's way too early for projections, but if an Ifedi/Webb right side of the line were to materialize, it would make for a very large combination. Webb (6-foot-7, 331 pounds) and Ifedi (6-5, 325) are the second and third heaviest players on Seattle's roster behind defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, and are both tall, long-limbed athletes.
"It looks sweet," Carroll said. "They're about as big and long as you can get. Both guys can handle both positions… We think we've got good flexibility there, and as always, we'll see what we can pick up information wise, but this is where we'll begin."
Ifedi smiled when asked how the move back to guard came about, explaining that offensive line coach Tom Cable "came in and said, 'You're a right guard in rookie minicamp,' and I said, 'Yes sir,' and I went and played it."
Ifedi has the build and athletic ability usually associated with playing tackle in the NFL, but he said he's more than happy to play anywhere the coaches ask.
"That's up to the coaches," Ifedi said. "I'll play where they put me, and wherever they put me, I'll work my hardest to excel at it."
As for the differences between right guard and right tackle, Ifedi said, "Guard, things happen a little more quickly, your guy gets on you a little quicker, but football is football. Offensive line, you've got to block your guy and you've got to protect your quarterback by any means necessary."
While things will likely look different when veterans are around, Seattle's first-team rookie-camp line featured three draft picks playing next to each other, with sixth-round pick Joey Hunt at center and third-round pick Rees Odhiambo at left guard, while undrafted rookie George Fant played left tackle and 2015 fourth-round pick Terry Poole played right tackle. Ifedi noted that a bond is already forming between the three offensive linemen in Seattle's 2016 class.
"We've definitely been able to help each other, me Rees and Joey," Ifedi said. "We've been able to bounce things off each other, we're all playing right next to each other on the inside, so I think for the first couple of days, we've been able to really come together to try to figure this thing out together."
Part of the rookies' ability to figure things out will come down to how they work under Cable, and Ifedi has enjoyed his no-nonsense interactions with Cable thus far.
"It's been good," he said. "He's not going to baby you; he's going to tell you how it is. He's a great coach and a well-respected coach around the league. He got us in here and got us going right away. He didn't ease us in, he threw us in the fire and let us figure it out. He expects you do to everything right, he expects you to be where you need to be and do what you need to do.
"In college, you kind of have people to hold your hand every step of the way, but here, you either know what to do or you're going to be gone."
The first day of Seahawks Rookie Minicamp at VMAC was also the first day as a pro for many of these 68 roster hopefuls.