Future Seahawks at the Senior Bowl - Offensive Tackle

Seattle, as bad teams often do, needs line help. Seahawks fans, as fans of bad teams often do, overestimate how much line help the Seahawks need. It has two young ends on defense that deserve a chance to start. Brandon Mebane is a fixture. The offensive line is solid through its interior and has depth and talent at right tackle. The need positions are vital though and that effectively makes the rest of the line look worse.

Seattle needs talent at left tackle. A healthy Sean Locklear could man the left, but he's at best an average talent at a premium position. 'Healthy' is a pretty big qualifier. Seattle needs talent at pass rushing, under- or three-tech tackle. It needs a gapper: Someone with similar explosiveness as Brandon Mebane, but better agility and closing quickness.

This is the draft to fill those positions.

Offensive tackle:

Selvish Capers: Seattle needs an athletic left tackle that can block pass rushers and block in space. It doesn't need a bully. Capers is having a hard go at the Senior Bowl. He has always played right tackle, defending left handed quarterbacks. One might think defenses would mirror their formations to counter a left handed quarterback, but I have rarely seen a defense respond this way.

That means the Senior Bowl is Capers first go at NFL caliber pass rushers. He's not excelling. His stock is already a bit depressed and in a crowded tackle class, he's probably losing ground to both the pure left tackles at the top of the heap and the pure right tackles with a definite position. I would worry less about Capers lack of refinement if he didn't turn 25 in November. However, if his stock continues to slip, he's an Alex Gibbs reclamation project of supreme talent.

Ciron Black: I've wanted Seattle to draft Ciron Black for about three years. He has been an NFL prospect his entire college career and suffered a bit from overexposure.  Familiarity breeds contempt, and Black has played long enough to compile an ugly reel of missteps. Scouts often miss how one player is impacted, often inhibited, by the overall play of an offense. LSU is a good program, and a talented one, but its offense is weak at some pretty significant positions, like quarterback.

Black is a good example of how 40 times and drills can be a poor proxy for actual athleticism. He's a good athlete with strong body control and ability to move in space, but he's slow and he won't pace a rusher down the field like, say, Capers or Charles Brown. Unlike Brown, Black won't be bullied either. He has a low center of gravity and the easy size one wants in a tackle. A tackle must be very strong, but flexible and comfortable playing at an NFL weight.

Black still has a shot at the first round, but it's fading. Gibbs might opt for a more slightly built tackle that can run, but Black has the requisite athleticism to pull and block in space. Someone to remember should he fall far enough to become exceptional mid-round value. It's funny sometimes how positional classification can hurt a prospect. Mike Iupati is being talked up for his dominance at guard and some teams are discussing if he could become a professional offensive tackle. Black would almost certainly dominate at guard and has already proven to be a capable offensive tackle. Iupati is being overvalued because scouts are reading into his potential and Black is being undervalued because scouts are overly familiar with what he already is.

Mitch Petrus: Petrus played guard, fullback and tight end, but never tackle. He has the build and athleticism of a Gibbs pick, and depending on where he slides, Seattle might draft him and see if Gibbs can't coach him into a left tackle. Barring that, he's still scheme-appropriate talent and depth on the inside.

A lot of the best talent doesn't attend the Senior Bowl. Exposure cuts both ways, and established prospects like Brown, Russell Okung and Trent Williams have more to lose by participating than gain. Even minus the big names, there's still plenty to see.

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