College: Arizona, 37 Starts
My Take: Scouting so many picks has its rewards. Sure, most won't ever be Seahawks, but most will play in the NFL, and many will eventually play against Seattle. There's also the individual stories: I'm curious to see how Jamon Meredith develops. I'm interested in what kind of pro Mike Thomas makes. Then there's the few I really root for like Trevor Laws and DeSean Jackson and Brian Brohm and Michael Bush and Zach Miller and Justin Blalock. But it can become tedious, for sure.
The draft is all but impossible to predict. Part of previewing players is guessing who will be available at Seattle's respective picks. That assumes that Seattle doesn't trade, which they will, and that all 32 teams value each player more or less the same, which they don't. That guessing can lead to blind spots. Players that make a ton of sense but you don't think will be available or valuable for that pick. That happened last year when Seattle selected Lawrence Jackson. Despite my spending weeks previewing potential draft picks, he had slipped through the cracks.
The SBN Mock Draft brought another potential pick to my attention, Eben Britton. I would be amazed if Britton slipped to the second in the real draft, but I wouldn't be amazed if Seattle traded up to draft him if he slipped to the later half of the first.
Britton started 37 games at Arizona State. His first two seasons he started at right tackle, but moved to left for his junior season.
Rudy Carpenter and his happy feet improved from a man-sized sack rate of 13.6% to a dainty, girlish 9.7%. Yeah, David Carr thinks Carpenter needs to get rid of the ball earlier. That's, actually and honestly, probably not all that much about Britton. Some farcical thing, witchcraft maybe, informs me that performances at the extremes tend to regress towards the mean without it really meaning anything, but damn did Britton step in and stop twenty sacks! That line is going to be garbage next year!! Britton's gonna knock twenty sacks of the SHawks and this team's SBowl bound SBitches!
Britton is the rare human being that is both tall and wide, and, and athletic, and though he's step a below Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith in overall value, and a step below Andre Smith and Michael Oher in potential, he sits at a nice middle ground where there's good value, good potential and less risk. Britton has a broad base of skills, less risk because of character and injury concerns, and should he not meet his potential and simply become an above average right tackle, little is lost. Seattle has three starting caliber tackles on its roster. After undergoing microfracture knee surgery, Walter Jones' career may be over; it may be effectively over; or it may just be nearly over. Sean Locklear has the footwork and kick slide to play left tackle, or so it seems. Seattle should at least let him prove he can't, because Locklear at left, even if he's just average, is excellent value. Ray Willis is Seattle's newest utility lineman, joining the venerable ranks of Floyd "Trichinosis" Womack and Tom SmAshworth. Willis is a lot like Britton, in that they are both tall men with large belt sizes. Scouts ensure me Britton is more of a technician, while Willis is more of a scrambler than pocket passer. Should Locklear take over at left, Willis is the right tackle in waiting. That might not be good. In limited touches, Willis looked like a very able run blocker that could handle the pass rush, except for the really fast pass rush. That was hard.
Britton frees Willis to sub or convert full-time to right guard. The two would make a massive and surprisingly agile right side for an offense that's implementing some sort of zone-blocking scheme. Britton is also left tackle insurance should Locklear be injured or ineffective. The upside for Britton is not, to my eyes, Joe Thomas like I've occasionally read, but Michael Roos. Both are monster offensive tackles with excellent strength and technique, but only good athleticism. Britton has a 52" chest, roughly Chase Daniels' wingspan, and good size and muscle development through his core and legs. He's a good student and fits Seattle's Sunday School criteria for roster construction. Britton would throw his jacket across a puddle for a little old lady rather than, say, blow his leg off searching for his snooter. A guy like Britton needs only a couple skills to develop to become very good, and the non-injury downside is stomach-able. Seattle needs line talent, so there's an outside need here, but mostly, I just think Britton is a first round talent that's fallen too far. And whether Seattle can find a place for him to play right off, or Seattle figures that out over the next couple of years, this is when drafting best available talent is the one right rule to building a contender.