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What the Seahawks have looked for in offensive linemen

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday during Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll’s press conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Carroll was asked about whether the change in offensive line coaches will result in changes to what the Hawks look for in offensive linemen. Carroll responded that there would only be subtle changes to what the team looks for and the attributes that make prospects attractive.

That might upset some fans who have ranted for years about the physical traits that Tom Cable looked for in his offensive linemen, in particular the TEF metric which many fans have grown to despise. Obviously TEF is not a predictor of success in the NFL, but it does seem a reasonable place to start when evaluating linemen, as many of the best offensive linemen in recent NFL history have recorded high TEF scores, including Alan Faneca, Joe Thomas, Steve Hutchinson, David DeCastro, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith among countless others.

Further evidence of the potential value of TEF is that of the five first team All Pro offensive linemen in 2017, four of them completed the three events necessary to compute a TEF score, and three of those four had TEF scores above 3.0. So, while far from perfect, TEF does appear to have some utility in helping to identify offensive linemen.

In any case, here is the athletic profile of every offensive lineman on which the Seahawks have spent draft capital since Carroll and John Schneider arrived in 2010.

Combine/Pro Day results for offensive linemen drafted by the Seahawks since 2010

Player Draft Position 40 time Bench Press Vertical Broad Shuttle 3-cone
Player Draft Position 40 time Bench Press Vertical Broad Shuttle 3-cone
Russell Okung 1.6 5.18 38 32.5 105 4.8 7.79
James Carpenter 1.25 5.22 23 28.5 106 4.75 7.56
Germain Ifedi 1.31 5.27 24 32.5 109 4.75 N/A
Ethan Pocic 2.58 5.12 26 27 107 4.81 7.89
Justin Britt 2.64 5.19 23 27.5 100 4.69 8.14
John Moffit 3.75 5.51 23 30.5 102 4.53 7.79
Rees Odhiambo 3.97 5.35 23 27 93 4.64 8.02
Terry Poole 4.130 5.09 25 31 101 4.66 7.9
Mark Glowinski 4.134 5.2 31 29.5 111 4.58 7.56
Garrett Scott 6.199 5.05 25 33.5 115 4.4 7.09
Justin Senior 6.210 5.55 21 23 98 5.06 8.19
Kristjan Sokoli 6.214 4.86 31 38 119 4.36 7.25
Joey Hunt 6.215 5.27 34 N/A N/A N/A N/A
J.R. Sweezy 7.225 5.01 21 36 113 4.41 7.4
Jared Smith 7.241 5.08 28 32.5 103 4.39 7.2
Michael Bowie 7.242 5.28 19 25.5 95 4.84 8.06
Ryan Seymour 7.220 5.09 30 29 110 4.59 7.53

This brings me to my next point, which is going to be short and sweet, and helps demonstrate why I personally don’t bother with mock drafts until after the combine. While the combine is largely a show in how well players can act and answer questions with scripted answers, it can be a great tool in excluding players based on their athleticism, or rather, the lack of it.

For example, in recent mock drafts by CBS football analysts, Oklahoma offensive lineman Orlando Brown was predicted to be taken in the top half of the first round by all three analysts. That was before Brown showed up at the combine an posted atrocious workout numbers. First, he did poorly in the bench press.

Brown’s 14 reps on the bench puts him in a tie for the fourth fewest reps on the bench press by any offensive lineman at the combine since 2000 according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. The players who have put up that few reps as offensive line prospects during that time are Daniel Loper (14), Marcel Jones (13), Khaled Holmes (13) and Demetress Bell (9). If you don’t recognize any of those names, it’s not surprising because none of them did much of anything in the NFL.

For comparison purposes, J.D. McKissic did 17 reps at his Pro Day, after weighing in at 187 pounds, or barely over half of the 346 pounds at which Orlando Brown weighed in at the combine. Other notable Seahawks running backs who bested Brown in this category includes Thomas Rawls (15), Chris Carson (23) and Tre Madden (24) (Eddie Lacy and C.J. Prosise did not perform the bench at either the combine or at their respective Pro Days). In short, if Brown had been a running back for the 2017 Seahawks, he would have had the fewest reps on the bench of any running back that actually participated in the event.

Not finished with his display of anti-athleticism, Brown then followed up Thursday’s poor performance on the bench with a ridiculously slow time in the 40 on Friday.

Turning again to Pro-Football-Reference.com, of the 431 offensive tackles that have run the 40 at the combine since 2000, Brown’s 5.86 is the second slowest 40 yard dash on record. That puts him in the bottom half of the bottom one percent in that category,

So, in the period of two days Brown has likely knocked himself out of being a first round pick and potentially cost himself millions of dollars. Yes, Brown has years of tape that scouts will continue to watch and analyze, but now that his physical abilities are coming into better focus, it’s likely that he will slip signifcantly in the draft compared to what had been expected even earlier this week.

In short, all the mock drafts and much of the analysis about the potential fits to fill team needs are out the window. Obviously it won’t stop news outlets from putting out mocks before the combine in future years, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind when reading them.