The main point of frustration with the 2016 Seattle Seahawks was ... well, I wouldn’t say there was one. There were at least five or six:
Garry Gilliam, Germain Ifedi, Mark Glowinski, Bradley Sowell, George Fant, J’Marcus Webb.
The Seahawks were regarded by many to have the worst offensive line in the NFL, and it’s indisputable that they were the cheapest by a wide margin. The only player who didn’t get criticized often was center Justin Britt, perhaps the most criticized player on the team from 2014 to 2015. The rest were mostly just inexperienced. You may have heard that Fant was recently a basketball player and is just now learning how to play NFL left tackle. Glowinski started just one game before this season. Ifedi was a rookie who played tackle and moved to guard. Most fans would say that they want Pete Carroll and John Schneider to attack free agency hard with the goal in mind of making a big splash at tackle and guard, but it doesn’t sound like that will happen.
In his final press conference of the season, Carroll insisted he was happy with the group and that they want to have some consistency going into next season. (Video clips courtesy of @guga31bb on Twitter)
Pete's answer on the future of the o-line -- "we made a ton of progress [...] the youngest guys improved the most" pic.twitter.com/BpJQcxUr9C— Ben B (@guga31bb) January 16, 2017
Pete literally says we have a chance to come back with the same o-line group next year and that "we're gonna try to" pic.twitter.com/nJJHGZVm9J— Ben B (@guga31bb) January 16, 2017
Pete on o-line: "I don't think you can just buy your way to it[...]bring young guys up, keep developing them, & make them part of this prgm" pic.twitter.com/mtz5R7V8ON— Ben B (@guga31bb) January 17, 2017
There’s something to be said for the idea that just the fact that next year will be the second year together for these guys is a good thing that the team hasn’t had in awhile. Britt can look to his left and right and see two guards who he played 18 games with (a couple less for Ifedi because he was hurt to start the year, but still valid). Fant flashed some really incredible things for a player who for all intents and purposes, had no business being an NFL starter so quickly.
Carroll likely won’t put a $9 or $10 million player at left tackle. The only time that has ever happened is with Russell Okung and it was:
A) Necessary because of the old CBA.
B) When they had a ton of cap space and very few players worth paying.
C) A smart move to start the franchise off with someone who could protect a dying Matt Hasselbeck and eventually block for Marshawn Lynch, as the plan was always to be a successful running team.
Drafting a player who can start at left tackle right away at this point seems very unlikely. The best offensive linemen are still taken in the top 15, often in the top 10. Don’t come at me with the exceptions that I know exist. The point is that just like with Ifedi, you can’t bank on getting a great tackle at pick 26. Maybe you get lucky and it happens, but that is unlikely.
There likely wouldn’t be a trade up either. This is a poor draft for tackles and the Seahawks have never traded up in the first round in seven drafts with Carroll and Schneider. They have traded down or out of the first round entirely in each of the last five drafts. If Garrett Bolles of Utah were to find himself available after 17 or 18 picks have gone by, then maybe that is a way to buck the trend, but given the dearth of good options at offensive line this year, I expect the best of them to get drafted earlier than expected, not later.
I think at this point Seattle’s biggest need is competition at right tackle. Carroll stressed that they’re still going to bring in new guys to push the current starters, but he said that they would be “pushed” not replaced. That means more dudes like Sowell, Webb, and Jahri Evans. Hopefully another “Webb” does not happen and they don’t give more than a million guaranteed to a player who has almost never been successful with the hopes of transforming him, but we will see.
A trade for Joe Thomas or Joe Staley though? Probably not.