SB Nation’s NFL sites are doing “Theme Weeks” all season long and this week’s question was: “If you had to move any of your offensive linemen to a skill position, who would you move and why?” So that is the basis for this piece and here is my answer.
With Duane Brown taking over at left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks in the game Sunday against Washington, Seattle once again has a one-time tight end playing at LT. As almost all fans know, when Bradley Sowell injured his knee against the Arizona Cardinals in the Sunday night 6-6 tie, the team turned to college basketball player-turned-college-TE-turned-NFL-LT George Fant based largely on Fant’s athleticism.
Brown and Fant are far from the first college tight ends to have played LT for the Hawks, as Garry Gilliam and Walter Jones both began their college careers playing at TE, and the athleticism gap between Brown and Fant and their fellow linemen is immense. Either of them could likely play TE at a high level if called upon, however, with Fant on IR for the year following knee surgery, that leaves just Brown currently on the line.
Brown is so athletic and possesses such impressive speed that according to a Seattle Times article the day after he was acquired from Houston, Brown was so athletic that Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer continued to play Brown on special teams even after he bulked up to play tackle. Thus, if for some reason the Seahawks ever need one of their monsters up front to step outside of their normal role and play TE or to get in the fray on a Hail Mary jump ball in the end zone, Brown would be a good place to start. On top of measuring in a 6-4, Brown recorded a 32.5” vertical jump at his Pro Day, which is better than several skill position players taken along with him in the 2008 draft, including Jamaal Charles (30.5”), Jordy Nelson (31”) and Ray Rice (31.5”).
Thus, while I don’t anticipate the Seahawks using Duane Brown anywhere other than the LT spot for which they acquired him, should they need his athleticism for a play or two at TE it might create some interesting mismatches.