Assessing the Seahawks' Need at Offensive Guard

+ Round-by-round picks

Guard

Strengths: Youth, potential

Weaknesses: Ability, depth, health, fit

In Brief: Mike Wahle is the presumed starter at left guard. Wahle is a decent fit for the system and the team has little incentive to cut him, but he looks to have lost it as a pass defender and his injuries are quickly becoming the career-threatening kind. Rob Sims is an excellent pass blocker. He doesn't move well through traffic and isn't a pull blocker. Sims is a good example of the curious way Seattle seems to be assembling its zone blocking line. He would likely play on the right. Mansfield Wrotto showed tremendous growth in 2008. He was a serviceable right guard and has the athleticism to play left. Wrotto is a run blocking force, but so unrefined as to be a liability. He was penalized for three holds in limited action. Ray Willis can play inside.

Targets by Round

2. Max Unger/Duke Robinson: In theory, one develops a system to best use one's resources. So, Seattle would employ a zone blocking system to maximize players that fit a zone blocking system, like...Wrotto? Sean Locklear sort of makes sense, and one can see Chris Spencer moving around alright, old-man back and all, but Seattle isn't built like a traditional zone blocking team, so what is Seattle building? Seattle's line is powerful. Sims and Spencer are former power lifters. Wrotto is a bruiser. Willis is a bruiser. All four move reasonably well in space, none are stiff per se, but none are light/fast, fleet footed but undersized, technical and savvy, none are akin to Alex Gibbs zone blockers. Max Unger is. Which sort of means Unger is a poor fit for what Seattle is doing. Or it means Seattle is drafting Unger and starting over.

If I were to interpret what Seattle is doing, an outsider's perspective mind you, I would guess Seattle is creating a non-traditional zone blocking scheme. Instead of using light/fast technicians, Seattle is using powerful/quick maulers. And instead of using zone principles to mask shortcomings of strength and accentuate agility and decision making, Seattle is using zone principles to mask shortcomings of technique and blitz awareness and accentuate power and physical dominance. In that sense, Duke Robinson may never cut block effectively, but teamed with Chris Spencer, he's going to knock that nose tackle into next week and peel off and look for more. It may not work as well on the outside, but it's and interesting gambit in the interior. Robinson, like Sims and Spencer and Wrotto, is not super-agile or super-aware, but he's reasonably agile, quick and immensely powerful.

4. Tyronne Green: Green is a former defensive lineman whose inexperience and lack of technique and awareness, but aggression, athleticism and coachability make him a lot like Mansfield Wrotto. If Seattle is building on the talent it has, and building a system that fits that talent, Green is a perfect match. He moves well in space, but his upside is in his power. Like Wrotto, Green doesn't just glide to and guide linebackers away, he gets up on `em and puts a punch in their sternum.

5. Xavier Fulton: Fulton is listed at tackle, but I see him as a guard. Fulton is also a former defensive tackle with limited experience...in fact, just transpose everything I just wrote about Green. Fulton is bit taller and a bit better athlete in a measurables sort of way, but less aggressive and coachable. It wouldn't surprise me if Fulton is drafted first, but I think Green is the better prospect. Green has that air of a player that will do anything to be an NFL player and so should improve throughout his rookie contract. Think of Fulton as the Baraka Atkins to Green's Darryl Tapp.

The dark horse here is none of the above, with Seattle either targeting a guard I've missed or simply not selecting a guard. It's not a strong class, and there's few players that fit Tim Ruskell's MO. Seattle needs depth, but it also needs starter capable players. That's a list of two.

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