The Seattle Seahawks offensive line is once again under heavy scrutiny this season, despite the fact that their “new” center is a Pro Bowl alternate and that they actually managed to stay in the first round (while still trading down) and take an offensive lineman. However, Germain Ifedi, the 31st overall pick, has been inconsistent and definitely isn’t out of the “next James Carpenter” woods yet.
Being the next James Carpenter isn’t that bad of a thing though. When you’re picking an offensive lineman on the cusp of the beginning of the second round, you’re usually getting someone who should be a serviceable tackle or a pretty good guard. As of now, Ifedi is a serviceable guard. There’s enough there to think that one day he could be a serviceable tackle, or a pretty good guard; that’s basically exactly where Ifedi is at after 14 weeks.
But could Seattle have done better?
That’s a question that is asked of most teams, most players, every year and “draft re-do” posts have become quite popular. NFL.com has already posted one for the 2016 draft, less than a season into these guys’ careers, but is there something to be gained from the speculation? Not by us, the fans and the writers, but perhaps by the front offices that should reconsider their decisions constantly.
The decision to sign J’Marcus Webb instead of someone who had a good chance to start. The decision to release Jahri Evans, who is once again making all the right blocks for the New Orleans Saints. The decision to add youth to the line with Ifedi, Rees Odhiambo, Joey Hunt, and George Fant. I wouldn’t say that the last one is a bad one, we couldn’t know that yet. I wouldn’t even say that the Webb decision was a bad one, there are many shades of gray. The Evans decision ... probably a bad one.
Back to the 2016 draft.
The Seahawks were picking 26th overall, probably annoyed with the fact that they hadn’t traded their first rounder yet, and finally found a willing partner in the Denver Broncos, who had yet to do anything to replace Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler — short of giving Mark Sanchez false hope that is. The quarterback that Rob Staton liked most in the draft, more than Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, was also still on the board: Paxton Lynch. (God rest ye merry gentleman, the Dallas Cowboys would somehow come away with both the best QB in the draft and Sanchez!)
The Broncos made their move, sending the 31st overall pick and a third rounder to Seattle in exchange for the 26th pick, perhaps fearing that the Arizona Cardinals would take Lynch, or that a team like the San Francisco 49ers or Cowboys would trade up for him.
The Seahawks had a number of options available to them (it is an NFL draft with hundreds of hopefuls after all) but fans begged for help along the offensive line. They were rewarded with Germain Ifedi of Texas A&M, a player that Rob and I talked about on 3000 NFL Mock Draft dozens of times as the most Seattle-like pick in the first round, and here he was.
At this point, the Ifedi pick seems ... fine. I don’t think it’s so largely disagreeable in the way that (I believe) the Goff pick is. It was the biggest need and so far as stated earlier Ifedi is at least playing to the expectations of a late-first round rookie guard, who a year ago was a tackle. I think some people would say it’s clearly not working out, others would say the potential is still very high. But is it very clear by now that the Seahawks could have done better? NFL.com thinks so.
In their draft re-do, they have Seattle taking defensive tackle Chris Jones over Ifedi. Jones went 37th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Coming out of Mississippi State, Jones was considered talented, but inconsistent. It seemed to be a bit of a boom-or-bust pick by the Chiefs, and so far we’ve seen mostly boom. Jones has played at a high level, starting nine games and making 23 tackles with two sacks and two batted passes. His performance should allow Kansas City to let Dontari Poe test the free agent market next year, something that could still have an effect on the Seahawks, who will be looking for someone like Poe — don’t be surprised if that’s their big splash of 2017.
I also don’t think the drafting of Jones would’ve changed Seattle’s strategy of drafting Jarran Reed at 49. Instead, it probably just means they don’t trade back into the fifth round to get Quentin Jefferson. Jones and Reed could’ve been a fascinating pairing as rookies but alas, this is make-believe.
Other players who were available at 31 that look good so far are Emmanuel Ogbah (six sacks for the Cleveland Browns), tight end Hunter Henry (seven touchdowns for the San Diego Chargers; Seattle used the extra pick they got in the Denver deal on Nick Vannett), Derrick Henry, Noah Spence, and Michael Thomas.
If the Seahawks don’t sign Poe or another high-profile pass-rushing interior lineman next year, we should definitely expect them to target one early in the draft. Jones would’ve looked good on Seattle’s defensive line next to Reed, Ahtyba Rubin, Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, and Cliff Avril, but who would be starting at right guard for them right now? J’Marcus Webb? Jahri Evans? Evans didn’t beat out Webb when he had the chance while Ifedi was hurt, remember?
Instead, they’ll probably talk to Poe, others, and scan the draft again for one in 2017. They’ll also probably trade their first rounder anyway.