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Three Things To Know About Seahawks OL Kristjan Sokoli

Learn more about Seahawks sixth-round pick Kristjan Sokoli.

With the second of two picks in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Seahawks selected Buffalo offensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli (No. 214 overall).

Sokoli joined the Seattle-area media for a conference call shortly after the pick was made. Here's three things to know about the Seahawks' newest offensive lineman:

1. He Played Defensive Line In College

But the Seahawks want to use him on the offensive side of the football.

Seattle pulled off a similar project with 2012 seventh-round draft pick J.R. Sweezy, a defensive tackle at North Carolina State who now takes the team's starting snaps at right guard. Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks hope to transition Sokoli to the center position.

"I was open to the opportunity," Sokoli said. "I didn't want to close the door. As time passed, I made an official pre-draft visit to the Seahawks as well, and I came to know Tom Cable through that, and I also came to know Tom Cable through a personal workout here in New Jersey. I really felt like he would be a great fit for me and I was extremely excited to get a shot to play for such a great team.

"To give me a call now, in the sixth round, is unreal. I'm extremely excited and I can't wait to work and become the best offensive lineman I can be."

Sokoli said it's his "willingness to fight and learn" that made him a desirable pick for the Seahawks to transition to the O-line. Despite not playing the position in college, Sokoli wanted readers to know he has some experience protecting the quarterback's blind side.

"I played left tackle for Bloomfield High School, if that counts, for the Bengals," he said. "You can put that I played left tackle for Coach Carter, I would appreciate if you wrote that."

2. He Can Kick A Field Goal In A Pinch

On top of playing left tackle in high school, Sokoli saw time at defensive end, tight end, and also served as the team's punter and kicker. He said he'd be willing to show off his leg if Seattle called for it.

"Absolutely," Sokoli began. "If they want me to be third-string kicker and punter, I would be happy to do it."

So, Sokoli, what's your range?

"I have a soccer background," he said. "So I can't say anything under 50 [yards]. It's at least 50."

3. He's From Albania & Moved To The U.S. When He Was 9

Sokoli, a native of Albania, saw his father leave for the United States when he was just five years old. His mother followed suit two years later when Sokoli was seven. It wasn't until he was nine that he was able to join his parents in America.

"My dad came here and he applied for political asylum, or refugee, and he eventually won the paperwork," Sokoli said. "It took him about three years and it was an extremely hard and stressful process for me and my family.

"Thankfully, since about the middle of high school, we've all had citizenship. We're very proud American citizens."

Sokoli said he's appreciative of the opportunity to work in the NFL after all that he and his family have been through.

"It's about making myself proud, but also my inner family proud and also all of the Albanians proud," he said. "We have so many hard-working, hard-boned Albanians that have gone through so much, and they didn't get to accomplish as much because the opportunities simply weren't there.

"For me to come to America and to be blessed with this opportunity, I have so much drive and push to really do it not just for my family and for myself, but for my whole Albanian nation."


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