Seattle Trades Third and Fourth Round Selections for Max Unger, Offensive Lineman

Max Unger

Birthdate: April 14, 1986

Height/Weight: 6' 4 5/8"/309

Position: OL

College: Oregon, 51 starts

NFL Combine: 7.39 three cone drill, 22 reps at 225, 4.5 short shuttle

My take: Unger is what you want in a guard in a traditional zone blocking system. He's almost the prototype: strengths and weaknesses. Unger isn't particularly strong, isn't particularly football strong, and the truth is he would not make a very successful tackle, guard or center in most offenses. I particularly worry about his play at center. With much of the league converting to a 3-4, centers are no longer heady support blockers. They are the man opposite the nose tackle, the strongest players in football. The 3-4 system suffers no easy double teams. Protect your center by doubling with a guard and expose a gap. A modern center must be stout at the point of attack and that's not Unger.

Unger is athletic for an interior lineman. He has skilled feet and great technique. He keeps himself low on the move and moves well through traffic. He diagnoses opposing defenses and has ideal football intelligence for a zone blocking scheme. I split time watching Unger and Chung and the two sort of represent opposite ideals. Chung is a talented player that's all over the field, but really raw. I watched Chung and imagined what he could be with professional experience and strong surrounding talent. You always knew where Unger was and his talent matches his production, because he's polished, finished. I watched Unger and saw what Unger is and understood he will fill in the spaces and make the players around him better, but will never be great on his own. I see Unger as a Mark Sclereth type: Functionally undersized and getting most of his movement through double teams, but good sometimes very good and an important part of a dominant unit.

Tim Ruskell errs towards players that can produce right away. Seattle has an underreported hole at left guard. Mike Wahle could fill it, but counting on Mike Wahle is asking for a redo of 2008's wide receiver situation. Seattle could move Ray Willis to left, but he's not a natural fit, or plug in Rob Sims, but Sims is a pass blocker first and doesn't move well through garbage. The best choice is to find a natural fit and that's Unger. In a weak class for guards, a team in need needs an open mind to filling the position. It doesn't take Dadaist leaps to envision Unger at guard, but a defined position can have a surprising inertia in the NFL and Unger is a center. I hope Seattle escapes such stupidity, because to be gravely honest, the Seahawks wish to run ball 500 times next season, and this rushing attack, sewed together offensive line and all, makes that look like 500 stabs at our playoff hopes.

Update: Unger is the versatile, intelligent interior offensive lineman Seattle needed to make it's zone blocking scheme work. He's joining a talent unit in need of a leader. He is that leader. He will make Mansfield Wrotto attack the right guy. He will likely take over line calling duties from Chris Spencer. He will keep this unit charged and attacking and ruthless and...

I'm totally jacked Seattle selected an offensive lineman. They needed one, and no one player could have made this engine go like Unger.

Update II: I think we will look at back and think of Unger as the Lofa Tatupu of the offensive line. A player that unites and strengthens the players around him. A guy who is always in the middle of the highlight if not the highlight himself.

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