Before I begin: I'll refer to pSPARQ, simScore, and other things that may be unfamiliar. Please refer to the FAQ posted at my blog if you have any questions. I've also posted extensively on the subject of SPARQ here at FieldGulls. If you're interested, all SPARQ rankings for the 2015 class can be found here.
I covered the 2015 corners on Monday, and now we're back for a quick look at the 2015 offensive line group. Note that there are no significant comparisons available in the 2015 class for J.R. Sweezy or Russell Okung.
While Seattle's been wildly successful at converting late-round defensive backs into stars, the offensive line hasn't been quite as successful. I'll stage a quick defense of their recent OL draft strategy:
Their late-round OL picks have worked out relative to expectation. J.R. Sweezy is a tremendous seventh-round pick, Michael Bowie contributed as a rookie (and is now with another team), and Ryan Seymour is going into his third NFL season (albeit with another team as well). Those are successful picks. Garrett Scott's medical retirement ended his career before he had a chance to prove himself. Jared Smith struggled with knee issues and never lasted in Seattle. Bottom-line: the Seahawks are 3-1-1 on 7th round OL picks. That's good.
James Carpenter was never the star that the first-round selection warranted, but he was good enough to get a second NFL contract. The third-round selection of John Moffitt is the franchise's biggest draft error at OL under the current regime.
That leaves only Justin Britt and Russell Okung, the latter of whom is a good player. Britt's a popular target of criticism, but I'm reserving judgment until we see his second season.
The point is that Seattle's missed a few times, but they also haven't invested a ton of draft capital in the line, particularly over the last 3 years. It doesn't help that they tend to pursue linemen who specialize in the run game, and it's probably easier to point out errors in pass protection.
There are five offensive linemen with confirmed visits to the VMAC this month: Tennessee State's Robert Myers, Florida's Chaz Green, West Virginia's Mark Glowinski, Virginia Tech's Laurence Gibson, and Colorado State's Ty Sambrailo. These names will come up again.
Justin Britt, 2nd round, 2014
Comps: Duke's Laken Tomlinson, Texas A&M's Jarvis Harrison
Guys like Idaho's Jesse Davis, Penn State's Donovan Smith, and Buffalo's Andre Davis are also in Britt's general zip code, but Tomlinson and Harrison are better comparisons. I've noted a few times that Britt profiles more as a guard, and this kind of analysis is why. Note that Britt was an 89 simScore comp to Paul McQuistan last year, a near-identical match. This is a profile Seattle's acquired a few times now.
Tomlinson is interesting. He's projected to go in the second round, and Seattle doesn't pick until 63. Taking a guard probably isn't my first choice, but Tomlinson is probably the best at that position in this range. I'd talk myself into the selection in about 20 minutes, give or take.
Jarvis Harrison has a ton of potential and is a great athlete, but showed up late to his pro day and there are questions about his "want-to". It's difficult to see that being attractive to Peter Clay Carroll and I'd guess Harrison may be left off the Seattle draft board entirely.
James Carpenter, 1st round, 2011
Comps: Florida's Chaz Green, Duke's Takoby Cofield
Chaz Green visited the VMAC last week, so the athletic comp to Carpenter becomes a little more interesting. He's nearly identical to Carp except for the 8 second 3-cone, which definitely makes a future at tackle seem dubious. I could see Green as a late-round option at left guard.
I have no idea what a Takoby Cofield is.
Jared "Fat Rabbit" Smith, 7th round, 2013
Comps: Hobart's Ali Marpet, Illinois State's Michael Liedtke, Connecticut's B.J. McBryde
Drafted as a center, Fat Rabbit never got off the ground in Seattle, spending more time on the IR list than on the practice field. Still, that kind of athletic interior lineman is a profile that Seattle's consistently sought after, and center is a position that the team will need to address with the departure of Max Unger.
Ali Marpet is awesome and would likely be an awesome value proposition... if he hadn't been invited to the NFL Combine in February. Even coming from D-III Hobart, Marpet is projected to go in the 2nd-3rd range. He's SPARQ-y and could probably play center, but it ain't coming cheap.
B.J. McBryde might factor into Seahawk DL-to-OL shenanigans. Freak athlete with 35"+ arms, little draft buzz at his college position, and the exact profile Seattle's hit before. The Eagles will probably draft him a few picks ahead of where the Seahawks have him slotted, just like we saw with Beau Allen last year.
Michael Liedtke has a wrestling background, which Tom Cable's been known to like in the past. I know nothing about him on the field, but he's presumably a UDFA candidate.
Michael Bowie, 7th round, 2013
Comps: Tennessee State's Robert Myers
Michael Bowie represents one of the lesser athletes drafted by Seattle under Carroll and Schneider. He was claimed off waivers by Cleveland last offseason after a shoulder injury, leading to a release with injury designation. It's interesting that Carroll then fueled speculation by noting his dissatisfaction with Bowie's weight, and it may be that those issues are part of the reason for his poor pre-draft testing.
Whatever the reason for his Seattle departure, he wasn't terrible as a rookie, and that's a good result from a 7th-round draft pick. I noted last preseason that Bowie profiled better as a guard, and Robert Myers is pretty much Michael Bowie as a guard. Combine that with his recent visit to the VMAC and I could see him in rookie camp, whether as a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent. Most Seattle offensive linemen have been very athletic, but the LG position has tended to be more about mass than explosiveness.
Ryan Seymour, 7th round, 2014
Comps: West Virginia's Mark Glowinski, Cincinnati's Tyreek Burwell, Hobart's Ali Marpet
Seymour wasn't anything special as a Seahawk, but he ended last season on the Cleveland active roster and is heading into his third NFL season. He even drew a little praise among Browns fans late last year, and that's a positive result for the 7th-round 2013 pick.
VMAC visitor Glowinski is a very close comp to Seymour, and he just feels like a Day 3 Seahawk pick. Burwell is the athletic OL option in UDFA, much like Garry Gilliam in 2014.
Garry Gilliam, UDFA, 2014
Comps: Virginia Tech's Laurence Gibson
Garry Gilliam and Laurence Gibson aren't much different. Gibson's projected in the 6th, which is just about right. The biggest knock on him is that he's already 24.
With Gibson also having visited the Seahawks this April, 4 of their 5 visits are the top 2015 comparisons to former Seattle draft picks. Roster mirroring is real.
There are a ton of OL in the draft, but there are a few that stand out to me a little bit.
A.J. Cann, Hroniss Grasu, T.J. Clemmings
Projected Round: 2nd
Clemmings is probably not available at 63, but they did discover a stress fracture in his foot on a recent team visit. If he freefalls on draft day, look out. Cann and Grasu are both SPARQ'd-up interior OL choice that will command a pretty high price, much like Tomlinson. Again, if Seattle does go interior OL early, this group seems the most likely.
I added a number of centers onto the list, but I've only watched Shaq Mason. He's my first choice among mid-round centers. Hamilton, Easton, and Reiter round out the SPARQ-y group.
Boston College DL Brian Mihalik is 6'9" and extremely athletic. It seems like there might end up being some buzz about him at OT, just going from the raw profile.
Buffalo's Kristjan Sokoli is a freak of nature and would be the most Seahawks OL-to-DL convert of them all. It seems almost too obvious to actually happen in real life. He'd also be the 6th 3 Sigma Athlete in the NFL if converted to OL.
You can also find me at 3sigmaathlete.com and on twitter at @zjwhitman.