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Top 2023 Seahawks Training Camp Storylines: Who Wins The Starting Jobs On The Interior Line?

The Seahawks will be replacing two starters on their interior offensive line, and the competition between rookies and veterans will be one to watch in camp. 

Training Camp Story Interior OL

With Seahawks training camp kicking off later this month, is taking a look at 10 of the most intriguing storylines, position battles and players heading into the 2023 season. So far we've looked at special teams, tight end, the defensive line, running back and linebacker, and today, we take a look at the offensive line, focusing on the competition for the interior line jobs. Check back tomorrow when we focus on receiver, and in particular on what kind of impact first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba could make as a rookie.

Key Offensive Line Additions: G Anthony Bradford (draft), C Olu Oluwatimi (draft), C Evan Brown (free agency).

Key Offensive Line Departures: G Gabe Jackson (unsigned free agent), C Austin Blythe (retired).

At this time a year ago, the Seahawks entered training camp trying to sort out who would be their starting tackles.

As a top-10 pick, Charles Cross seemed the likely starter at left tackle, but still had to earn the job, while right tackle was more wide open, with the competition eventually won by fellow rookie Abraham Lucas.

With those two starting all season and playing at a high level, the Seahawks appear to be set at tackle for years to come, a huge feat when it comes to building a roster, but despite having those tackle spots sorted out, the Seahawks still come into training camp in 2023 with questions to answer on the offensive line. In particular, the Seahawks need to sort out who will fill the two starting vacancies created this offseason when center Austin Blythe retired, and when right guard Gabe Jackson was released in a salary cap-related move. With those two veterans no longer on the team, the Seahawks have a couple of spots to fill and several good options to step into those roles.

At guard, Phil Haynes is back after signing a one-year extension this offseason, and figures to open camp as the favorite to replace Jackson. While injuries limited Haynes early in his career, he has played well when given the chance, and saw significant playing time last season while splitting time with Jackson, playing 44.3 percent of the team's offensive snaps.

"He's got a starting caliber to us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Haynes in his end-of-season press conference. "We like him. He's physical. Consistent is a good word for him because he's there. He's there for you. He's a great kid. It worked out well to put him and Gabe in. It helped Gabe with his knee, and it gave Phil a chance to be a comfortable starter. We had three guys. If anybody went down, we could rotate our guys around and get it taken care of. I've got high hopes that Phil could be a real factor for us."

Haynes will still have to earn that job, however, particularly with the Seahawks drafting LSU guard Anthony Bradford in the fourth round, a player with impressive credentials coming out of the same program that developed Seattle's other starting guard, Damien Lewis.

"He's a big man, he can compete to start," general manager John Schneider said after the draft. Carroll also reiterated that Bradford will be competing for a starting job when camp gets underway.

Center, meanwhile, is shaping up to be a battle between Evan Brown, who signed as a free agent, Olu Oluwatimi, a fifth-round pick out of Michigan, and Joey Hunt, a veteran who has played 35 games with 11 starts since coming into the league in 2016, with eight of those starts coming for Seattle in 2019.

Brown comes in with the most starting experience, not to mention versatility, having started 24 games over the past two seasons for Detroit, playing both center and guard. Oluwatimi, meanwhile, brings an impressive resume with him to Seattle, having earned consensus All-American honors as a senior while also winning the Outland Trophy (college football's top interior lineman, offense or defense) and Rimington Trophy (college football's best center).

"It's going to be a great spot to watch, it really will," Carroll said. "Evan has come in here and commanded the leadership. He has more experience than Olu's got. We'll see how that all works out. Joey is an experienced football player too, so we have a really good spot. Just going to let it happen and see what happens, see how it goes. We're not going to set any timelines or anything like that. It'll work itself out, but Olu's done a really nice job. He's done a nice job jumping in. He's a really bright kid, and it shows up, and he gets it, and he's confident. You could see him playing."

Take a look at photos of guard Anthony Bradford during his three years at Louisiana State University. Bradford was selected by the Seahawks with the 108th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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