Depending on how the competition shakes out this summer, the Seahawks could roll into the regular season with a new starter at all five positions on their offensive line.
Justin Britt, a second-round pick of Seattle's in 2014, started all 16 regular-seaosn games at right tackle his rookie season before making the switch to left gaurd, where he started all 16 games this past year. Now, according to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Britt will move to his third position in three years, with the Missouri product joining the competition at center alongside last year's starter Patrick Lewis, 2016 sixth-round pick Joey Hunt, and second-year pros Kristjan Sokoli and Will Pericak.
"It's so early, there aren't games being played now and we're a long ways from home here," Carroll said of Britt's position switch on Sunday, the final day of the team's rookie minicamp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. "It's an opportunity to mix our guys and see how we can get the best guys on the field. Justin is the guy that's been with us the most and can be in command of the most information and all of that. We're going to take a good look at him at center and see how that works out.
"We know he can play guard and tackle, we have great flexibility here, so at this time of year we're trying to get more information. The last couple days that he's been there he's looked very comfortable with it, so this is just where we're starting out."
Last year's starting left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy signed free-agent deals elsewhere this offseason, opening up two spots on the offensive line. Couple that with Britt's move out of the starting left guard spot, the competition at center, and Garry Gilliam's switch from right to left tackle, it's possible that each spot on Seattle's first-string O-line will feature a new face this season.
"If we stay with this throughout camp and get enough play time, he will be able to play every position, make him extremely valuable in that regard," Carroll added of Britt's move to center, an idea Seattle discussed last season and one Carroll said they had in mind when the club drafted Britt three years ago. "We're trying to utilize the background that he has as we're still a young group, we're going to project with another young group, the guy that knows the most and who has the best communication and dialogue with [offensive line coach] Tom [Cable], we think that might be a real advantage there. So we'll just see what happens.
"We have no helmets on, we are in Phase Two and we're snapping the ball against nobody. Nobody's out there, it's just totally on air. So this is an opportunity to get as much info, as I said, as possible, and last week he looked good. He looked very comfortable and very much at ease. It shows who he is and how he's flexible, so we'll see what we can develop there. You can worry about it if you want. I'm not worried about it. It's going to be fine. We'll figure this thing out in time. We do not have to make any decisions now."
So, as it stands right now, the "it's so early" offenisve line look Carroll mentioned includes Gilliam at left tackle, last year's fourth-round pick Mark Glowinski at left guard, the Britt/Lewis/Hunt/Sokoli/Pericak competition at center, 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi at right guard, and free-agent addition J'Marcus Webb at right tackle. Of names the coaching staff has mentioned, the battle for play time could also include 2016 third-round pick Rees Odhiambo, an offensive guard, and free-agent signee Bradley Sowell, a candidate for left tackle.
"He's not going to have any problem doing that right now," Carroll said of Glowinski going from right to left guard. "We're just taking a shot to see how it looks, how it fits together. We're hoping to see what J'Marcus looks like at right tackle, I really like the way he finished last season there. The flexibility that Germain has, he's played both right guard and right tackle, as has J'Marcus, that just gives us a chance to get this thing started. We have to start somewhere, so I wanted to put the flexibility really on Mark. He's been around a little bit longer, so we'll give him a shot to go on the other side. He already feels comfortable with that. So away we go, and it's going to give Garry Gilliam a chance to go back to where we thought he should play from the start at left tackle, so we'll see how that all comes together."
Not only did the Seahawks add 10 drafted rookies to the roster, but also 26 free agents, check out some of the new faces signed to the roster for Rookie Minicamp.