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Should Seattle Sign Jon Stinchcomb?

I can't tell you if Seattle will sign Jon Stinchcomb, but I can tell you if Seattle should sign Jon Stinchcomb.

Stinchcomb has a few obvious connections to Seattle. Born in Atlanta, Stinchcomb played college at Georgia in the SEC conference. His older brother Matt and former Seahawks flameout David Greene are partners in a financial firm. One could start a Stinchcomb to Seattle rumor based on just that.

He was selected in the second round of the 2003 draft by the New Orleans Saints. Stinchcomb will be 30 for the majority of the 2009 season. That's a decent age for an offensive lineman. Stinchcomb is white, so expect to read that he's a "technician". Stinchcomb does do a lot of little things well like cut block and support block. He's consistently assignment correct and is stingy with penalties. He has been penalized for just ten false starts and zero holds over his five year career. Whether he's really more technically sound than say Stacy Andrews depends a bit on the technique.

A better way to describe Stinchcomb is that his hands and upper body do the work. His hand fighting skills are excellent, and he knows how to torque and contort his torso to generate power in even awkward postures. He has good feet, but is not agile and struggles quite a bit against edge rushers. His feet make him look quicker than he is, and he pulls swiftly into the second level and delivers a good block on the move. But moving laterally is not Stinchcomb's strength. Since he doesn't mirror slide well, Stinchcomb instead must maintain good inside position and attempt to bury off balance edge rushers. It works against some. Better, more rounded pass rushers like Aaron Kampman combine speed skills with good balance and hand fighting technique. Stinchcomb struggles against ends like Kampman and though he doesn't allow a ton of sacks, he does allow a ton of pressures. Drew Brees gets the ball out. A late-career Matt Hasselbeck might just curl in a ball.

Stinchcomb is a good run blocker. He's thick, powerful, powerful on the move and a true pancake blocker*. He'll blow open a hole on the first level, seal inside, dominate a linebacker on the second level, brush himself off and do it all again next snap. If Greg Knapp is serious about reaching or exceeding a 50% run split, Stinchcomb is a very good addition and a big upgrade to Seattle's run blocking. Watching him cut, pull and dominate on the second level, it's easy to see how he fits in a zone blocking system. Stinchcomb could make an excellent left guard, too.

Seattle should sign Stinchcomb if the price is right. Due to pigmentary differences, you won't read Stinchcomb compared to Ray Willis, but there are obvious similarities. Both are powerful. Willis is more athletic and agile; Stinchcomb a better hand fighter. Both are toast against the edge rush. Willis can't recover; Stinchcomb can still bury a guy who gets a jump on his outside shoulder. If Willis develops, he can be a better Stinchcomb. He has better overall athleticism, better leg drive and moves better laterally. If he develops is always a risk, one I think Seattle is in position to take, and one I think Seattle should take. If it doesn't, Seattle can sign Stinchcomb and get eight tenths the finished model.

* An ability that gets a ton of run around draft time and yet seldom translates to the NFL.