Assessing Need: Offensive Line

Seattle played smashed in the mouth football in 2010. It hopes to reverse that.

Since we're talking Robert Gallery and improving the run game, I thought we should take a quick look at what the Seahawks have and what the Seahawks need on the offensive line to achieve that presumed goal.

Left tackle

Starter: Russell Okung

Backup: Tyler Polumbus

Depth: William Robinson, Chester Pitts, Ray Willis

Need: Not great but not to be ignored.

Okung missed time as a rookie and high ankle sprains are notorious for recurrence. When he was in, he flashed franchise caliber talent. Filling in for Okung, Polumbus kept his nose clean as a pass blocker but contributed little as a run blocker. He's a restricted free agent this offseason and could be signed as depth, but it's minimal depth--something a bit above replacement level. Robinson's is a project. He was way too thin coming out of San Diego State. Has he grown? Maybe, but probably not. Pitts ended the season on injured reserve. In many ways he's still recovering from microfracture knee surgery. It was heartening to see him take the field, but Pitts shouldn't be counted on. Willis lacks the quickness to be a left tackle. I'd rather he push for starts at right tackle.

Guard

Starters: Vacant

In the mix: Max Unger, Polumbus, Pitts, Stacy Andrews, Mike Gibson

Need: No starter, no developmental talent outside of Unger, and little quality depth; the Seahawks need to add a guard assuming that guard will start, and at least one more guard that can compete for snaps.

In this case, I don't think there's good reason to separate left and right guard. Seattle very well may need both. Andrews is under contract through 2014, but he was miserably bad, especially as a run blocker and was eventually benched in favor of Gibson. Gibson is under contract through next season and will probably be invited to camp to compete. I anticipate Unger will take over at center, but if he doesn't, he's no lock to start. The emphasis on the run game could help, because Unger moves well, but that's about as positive as I can be about Unger. He's looked consistently physically overmatched in his short professional career.

Center

Starter: Vacant

In the mix: Unger

Need: Depends entirely on whether Seattle re-signs Chris Spencer and/or intends for Unger to start. Could be a need, but it could be a need that's internally filled.

Unger hasn't seen many professional snaps at center, but I worry about his power and ability to match against nose tackles, over tackles, and, well, defensive linemen. He just hasn't looked good, and though I understand he's cheap insomuch that his contract is cheap, and he's expensive insomuch that he cost a second round pick and Seattle doesn't want to give up on him, the Seahawks have no good reason to count on him either. So, depending on what Cable and Carroll think about Spencer, and what Spencer thinks about the Seahawks, this could be a pressing need or no need at all.

Right Tackle

Starter: Sean Locklear

Backup: Polumbus, Willis

In the mix: Breno Giacomini, Andrews, Pitts

Need: Locklear was Seattle's worst regular offensive lineman and among the worst starting right tackles in the NFL. He once was talented, and that talent would seemingly match him well with a zone blocking scheme, but after a raft of injuries and two very down seasons, Seattle would be foolish not to upgrade. Even talent isn't eternal.

Willis is probably the best internal option, and the presence of Willis and Polumbus means Seattle is not really in need, at least from a depth standpoint. But the talent is thin and it wouldn't surprise me if Seattle selected a tackle early, mindful both of Okung's injury history and the dearth of depth at left tackle, and also that right tackle, someone like Gabe Carimi, could be best available talent at 25. Carimi's a powerhouse and a good fit for a run first team.

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