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Seahawks 2022 NFL Draft Primer: Offensive Linemen

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Tennessee Titans v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

A somewhat common refrain among the 12s is that the Seahawks don’t “invest” in the offensive line - at least not to the level that we think they should.

Will that change this year? And, if so, at what cost?

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As we know, Seattle does not have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That doesn’t mean they can’t get an impactful offensive lineman though. There are several intriguing options that should be available when Seattle goes on the clock on Day Two, including Daniel Faalele (PFN scouting report).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Guaranteed Rate Bowl - West Virginia v Minnesota Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Faalele is a massive obstacle (6-8, 387) with a wingspan that measures 86.25 inches. Those are verified measurements from the Senior Bowl. As would be expected for a man that size, Faalele is also very strong - PFF graded him at 9 out of 10 in their 2022 NFL Draft Guide.

As a teenager, the Australian rugby player attended a satellite camp that was run by a man that some of us love to hate (Jim Harbaugh). That led to an invitation for him to attend the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida. Faalele sat out the 2016 season, watching and learning the game, then took to an American football field - for the first time - in 2017.

Even before playing in his first game, Faalele was turning heads and receiving scholarship offers from big-name schools, including Alabama and Georgia - aka, both of the participants in this year’s CFP National Championship game - plus Auburn, Miami, Florida State, LSU, and Michigan.

By the end of his first season of high school football, Faalele was ranked as the 19th-best offensive tackle in the nation and had 20 scholarship offers.

Faalele chose Minnesota.

And, in a couple of months, this gigantic man from half a world away will hear his name called in the NFL Draft. It’s a helluva story - and he’s a helluva man. I, for one, would love to see him in a Seattle uniform next season.


The second version of PFF’s 2022 NFL Draft Guide features 18 offensive linemen. Many of those 18 linemen will be Day One or very-early-Day-Two selections and will thus, presumably, be outside Seattle’s grasp.

That said, crazy things happen on Draft Day (Google “Laremy Tunsil gas mask” for an example) and there’s still almost 2 full months until the first name comes off the board. Thus, just like the previous installments in this series (QB, RB, WR, TE), this one will look at ALL of the players in the current version of PFF’s Draft Guide.

Those players, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
  • Kellen Diesch (Arizona State)
  • Ikem Ekwonu (North Carolina State)
  • Daniel Faalele (Minnesota)
  • Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
  • Marquis Hayes (Oklahoma)
  • Zion Johnson (Boston College)
  • Darian Kinnard (Kentucky)
  • Jaxson Kirkland (Washington)
  • Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
  • Abraham Lucas (Washington State)
  • Max Mitchell (Louisiana)
  • Evan Neal (Alabama)
  • Dylan Parham (Memphis)
  • Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
  • Nicholas Petit-Frere (Ohio State)
  • Bernard Raimann (Central Michigan)
  • Jamaree Salyer (Georgia)

Down, Set, HIKE!


Charles Cross (LT)

Position Ranking: 2 | Overall Ranking: 6 | Projection: Top-10 | Comp: Laremy Tunsil

2021 Stat Line: 2 sacks, 0 hits, 14 hurries (on 719 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Cross has prototypical traits to be a blindside pass protector. His feet, length and core strength are all top notch. He’s been in pass protection a ton over the past two seasons.” ... “There will likely be a learning curve early on but get this guy on the football field.”

FTR’s take: Unless the Seahawks trade Russell Wilson (which they won’t), Charles Cross and a host of other tackles are way out of reach. However, if something were to happen and Seattle was in a position where they could draft Cross ... yeah, he’s worth a high R1.


Kellen Diesch (LT)

Position Ranking: 9 | Overall Ranking: 70 | Projection: Third Round | Comp: Jack Driscoll

2021 Stat Line: 2 sacks, 0 hits, 6 hurries (on 413 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Diesch can consistently gain the upper hand on defenders due to his nimble feet and quick first step. He’s never going to be a people mover but can still be effective.”

Bottom line: “If a team can get his play strength to even a serviceable NFL level, Diesch can be a starting left tackle in the NFL.”

FTR’s take: Diesch is a bit undersized (6-7, 300) but he “plays with a tremendous base as a run-blocker” and his “hands are ultra quick to reset and regain leverage”. (quotes from PFF’s “PROS” list). Under “Position Traits”, PFF gave Diesch a 9/10 for Feet/Balance, an 8/10 for Flexibility, and a 7/10 for Explosiveness. The flipside to that is that they gave him a 2/10 for Frame and a 1/10 for Strength ... which sort of explains their projecting him as an R3 selection.

Bottom line: Diesch is a realistic option for Seattle in this year’s draft, but he won’t make 12s forget about Duane Brown anytime soon.


Ikem Ekwonu (LT)

Position Ranking: 3 | Overall Ranking: 13 | Projection: First Round | Comp: Kelechi Osemele

2021 Stat Line: 3 sacks, 0 hits, 10 hurries (on 500 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“(Ekwonu) wins with prodigious power throughout his frame. When he uncoils his hips into contact, defenders move backward. It’s just physics due to the amount of force he’s capable of generating.”

FTR’s take: Ekwonu is another tackle that is way out of reach (unless something crazy-stupid happens between now and the end of April). Personally, I would rank him ahead of Charles Cross and sort of a 1B to Evan Neal’s 1A, but I’m not a professional analyst and it sort of feels like splitting hairs anyway; all 3 players will almost certainly be off the board within the first 10 picks.

Interestingly, PFF thinks that some teams may see Ekwonu as a Guard. While it’s not uncommon for college tackles to move “inside” in the pros, it would be a bit unusual for a team to use an early pick on a player like Ekwonu with that intention.

Bottom line: For a team that likes to run the ball, like Seattle does, Ekwonu would be a coach’s dream come true.


Daniel Faalele (RT)

Position Ranking: 6 | Overall Ranking: 39 | Projection: Second Round | Comp: Hasn’t Existed

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 2 hits, 5 hurries (on 301 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“One of the largest players in college football history at 6-foot-9, 380 pounds.” ... “(Faalele) wins with immovability at the moment. With good enough mirror ability, Faalele presents a massive road block who defenders have to go around.” ... “(He’s) only been playing football for five years and has improved considerably every year.”

FTR’s take: If someone had told me a year ago that I’d have a draft crush on a lineman that weighs almost 400 pounds, I’d have told them they were crazy. Now, I would just nod my head, smile like a lovesick teenager, and say, “Yep.”

Credit to the following film breakdown for helping fuel my love affair (and for teaching me how to pronounce Daniel’s last name):

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Also, if you missed it, scroll back up and look at the Comp for Faalele; it’s hilarious!


Kenyon Green (LG)

Position Ranking: 2 | Overall Ranking: 24 | Projection: First Round | Comp: Isaiah Wynn

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 2 hits, 7 hurries (on 404 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Green is the most explosive interior lineman in the class. His pop on contact is special, and he can absorb a hit as well. His performance and versatility as a true junior is why he’s so coveted.“ ... “Flexibility and strength in his lower half is top notch.” ... “Extremely versatile. Played every position except center in 2021.”

FTR’s take: Versatility is great, but the vast majority of Green’s snaps over the last 3 seasons were at the Guard positions (1,098 at LG; 853 at RG). During that same 3-year span, he played 142 snaps at RT (2021), 81 snaps at LT (2021), and 1 snap at Center (2020). Guard is clearly where he’s going to play in the NFL. With that in mind, I don’t know that Green would be considered an “upgrade” over either of the Seahawks’ starting guards.


Marquis Hayes (LG)

Position Ranking: 6 | Overall Ranking: 88 | Projection: Third Round | Comp: Larry Warford

2021 Stat Line: 3 sacks, 1 hit, 9 hurries (on 459 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Hayes wins with elite hand usage. He has great length for a guard and is able to keep flailing defensive tackles at bay one-on-one.”

FTR’s take: Hayes doesn’t strike me as a Seahawk-y player (unless we’re being sardonic and focusing on his 9 penalties in 2021) ... and Seattle doesn’t need to draft a Guard on Day Two of this year’s draft. Hard pass.


Zion Johnson (LG)

Position Ranking: 9 | Overall Ranking: 42 | Projection: Second Round | Comp: Laken Tomlinson

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 2 hits, 3 hurries (on 364 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Johnson is a Day 1 starting guard.” ... “He wins with all-around consistency. Johnson recorded one of the lowest downgrade rates among offensive linemen in college football this season. He doesn’t allow himself to be put in bad positions.”

FTR’s take: Yes, one player ago I said, “Seattle doesn’t need to draft a Guard on Day Two of this year’s draft.” I am now amending that statement to add, “... unless it’s Zion Johnson.” The Seahawks still don’t need a Guard, but ...

I could see a scenario where the Seahawks draft Johnson to play LG, move Damien Lewis back to RG, and release (or trade) Gabe Jackson. Seattle would incur $6M in dead money on their 2022 salary cap in that scenario, but would “save” $3M in 2022 and $9.5M in 2023 while also making their line stronger and younger.


Darian Kinnard (RT)

Position Ranking: 7 | Overall Ranking: 55 | Projection: Fourth Round | Comp: Deonte Brown

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 2 hits, 4 hurries (on 414 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Kinnard wins by being the baddest man on the block. He was bigger and stronger than every player he had to block on a college field. That won’t always be the case in the NFL, but he’s still going to be a people mover.”

FTR’s take: Kinnard is a strong guy - PFF gave him 9/10 on their Strength scale. But strength isn’t enough in the NFL and pairing 9/10 strength with 2/10 Feet/Balance doesn’t sound like a winning combination to me. Especially not when PFF says that “his pass sets need a complete overhaul” and emphatically states that “Kinnard is a guard” (in the NFL) and “may need some seasoning as a backup.”


Jaxson Kirkland (LT)

Position Ranking: 11 | Overall Ranking: 75 | Projection: Fifth Round | Comp: Storm Norton

2021 Stat Line: 3 sacks, 3 hits, 8 hurries (on 404 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Quick off the line and can get out on the move.” ... “Balanced and under control in space. Rarely out of control.” ... “Has cross-trained, playing two seasons at right guard and two seasons at left tackle.”

FTR’s take: I want to like Kirkland (since he’s a Husky), but I don’t see him replacing Duane Brown ... or even Brandon Shell - not with PFF scores of 3/10 for Strength, Frame, and Flexibility. Whoever drafts him is going to do so with the intention of making him a Guard and (insert broken record here).


Tyler Linderbaum (C)

Position Ranking: 1 | Overall Ranking: 9 | Projection: Top-10 | Comp: Bigger Jason Kelce

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 2 hits, 4 hurries (on 457 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take (from their Draft Guide):

Where He Wins: How much time you got? Linderbaum wins with freaky athleticism for a center. Guys that move like him usually dominate at 3-technique and not offensive line. His hands, balance, play strength and processing are also top notch.”

PFF’s take (from their Mock Draft Simulator) - bolding, mine, for emphasis:

The best center prospect we’ve seen in the PFF College era. He was already the highest-graded center in the country in 2020, but he took his game to new heights in 2021, earning a 95.4 overall grade.”

FTR’s take: For the entirety of the 2022 season, whenever someone talks about the “cost” of the Jamal Adams trade, I shall be thinking of Tyler Linderbaum. Dude is Max Unger 2.0, with the possibility of being even better. SIGH!


Abraham Lucas (RT)

Position Ranking: 12 | Overall Ranking: 108 | Projection: Fourth Round | Comp: Bobbie Massie

2021 Stat Line: 0 sacks, 1 hit, 8 hurries (on 477 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Lucas has the physical traits of a starting tackle in the NFL, but he won’t start right away.”

FTR’s take: Huskies don’t like Cougars so ... Nope!


FTR’s take on Abraham Lucas, Take 2: College rivalries aside, I actually like Abraham Lucas as a future Right Tackle for our shared-home-state Seahawks. He’s a big guy (6-7, 319) who moves fairly well and he has a TON of pass-blocking experience (2,195 collegiate snaps on passing plays). The concern I have is two-fold: (1) Washington State’s offense doesn’t ask a lot of their O-linemen so it’s hard to tell how good Lucas actually is or will be; and (2) I agree with PFF’s assessment that he won’t start right away.


Max Mitchell (RT)

Position Ranking: 8 | Overall Ranking: 66 | Projection: Second Round | Comp: Forrest Lamp

2021 Stat Line: 3 sacks, 1 hit, 9 hurries (on 430 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Mitchell’s hand placement, footwork and patient play style are a joy to watch. Even though it’s a big competition level change, he could start early.”

FTR’s take: I don’t think I’d spend a second-round pick on Mitchell, especially not a high-R2, but if he slid into the third round ... and if Seattle hadn’t already selected Daniel Faalele in Round 2 ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

For the 2021 season, PFF graded Mitchell as follows

  • Run Block Grade: 82.5
  • Pass Block Grade: 95.0
  • Zone Grade: 94.0
  • Gap Grade: 89.0
  • True Pass Set Grade: 71.9

Bottom line: There are certainly worse things the Seahawks could do with a Day 2 pick.


Evan Neal (LT)

Position Ranking: 1 | Overall Ranking: 5 | Projection: Top-10 | Comp: Jordan Mailata

2021 Stat Line: 2 sacks, 6 hits, 11 hurries (on 650 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Pure, unadulterated physicality. He can do things when he gets his hands on defenders that are unfathomable for a true junior. The term “freak” gets overused, but he qualifies.”

“What Neal has, can’t be coached. He’s a special physical talent who is only scratching the surface.”

FTR’s take: I will be SHOCKED if Evan Neal isn’t one of the first 6 players off the board. The guy is 6-7, 350, and moves like he’s 50 pounds lighter. PFF gave him a 9/10 for Strength and matching 10/10s for Explosiveness and Frame.

Dude. Is. A. BEAST!


Dylan Parham (RG)

Position Ranking: 4 | Overall Ranking: 67 | Projection: Third Round | Comp: Weston Richburg

2021 Stat Line: 0 sacks, 2 hits, 8 hurries (on 545 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Parham just gets on defenders so quickly. He’s not a brute who can overpower defenders, but you see him win the first strike and leverage battles consistently.”

FTR’s take: Parham has 800+ snaps at 3 different during his collegiate career: 856 at LG in 2019, 849 at RT in 2020, and 881 at RG in 2021. So, naturally, PFF (and others) project him as a CENTER in the NFL. No, I’m not kidding. And, yes, that makes him infinitely more interesting as a potential fit for the Seahawks.


Trevor Penning (LT)

Position Ranking: 5 | Overall Ranking: 31 | Projection: First Round | Comp: Anthony Castonzo

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 6 hits, 6 hurries (on 436 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Tape at Northern Iowa looks like someone’s dad subbed into a pop warner game.” ... “Gap scheme teams, come get your man. You want this guy firing into defenders and setting the tone as much as possible. You could flip him to the right side, but he’s a tackle.”

FTR’s take: Run Block Grade: 87.0; Pass-Block Grade: 97.6; Zone Grade: 99.9; Gap Grade: 93.9; True Pass Set Grade: 85.4; Strength: 10/10; Frame: 9/10. Please and thank you - sign me up!

Penning will not slide out of the first round, but if I’m wrong then I hope John and Pete are smart enough to trade up and get him because he could anchor one side of our O-line (either side of our O-line) for the rest of Russell Wilson’s career.


Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT/RT)

Position Ranking: 10 | Overall Ranking: 74 | Projection: Third Round | Comp: Bobby Evans

2021 Stat Line: 2 sacks, 2 hits, 22 hurries (on 453 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“He wins by ticking a ton of boxes physically. His frame, length and play strength are all top notch. He can get on defenders quickly and with some juice. Those are all very good starting points.” ... “He could start at guard early on and grow into a tackle role as his technique improves.”

FTR’s take: Although he played predominantly at Left Tackle in 2021, Petit-Frere has an almost equal number of snaps at both LT and RT the last 3 years (748 at LT vs. 772 at RT) and he’s taken snaps at RT each season, including 67 snaps at RT in 2021. Personally, I think he ends up on the right side in the NFL.


Bernhard Raimann (LT)

Position Ranking: 4 | Overall Ranking: 19 | Projection: Top-10 | Comp: Lane Johnson

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 3 hits, 6 hurries (on 475 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Raimann still moves around the football field like a tight end, but those hands that used to catch passes now catch defensive linemen. His hand placement in the run game is already outstanding.”

FTR’s take: As PFF’s take implies, Raimann is new to the Tackle position; he was a Tight End 3 years ago and now he’s a potential Top-10 pick. IF their projection about him being a Top-10 pick is wrong and he somehow slips within reach of the Seahawks ... happy, HAPPY days! Will that happen? Probably not. But, given the level of competition Raimann faced and his short (33-inch) arms, he could ... maybe ... slip into the 2nd round.

I wonder if a team could tell the officiating crew that EVERY play is a Tackle-Eligible play?


Jamaree Salyer (LT)

Position Ranking: 11 | Overall Ranking: 131 | Projection: Fifth Round | Comp: Larry Borom

2021 Stat Line: 1 sack, 1 hit, 2 hurries (on 295 pass-block snaps)

PFF’s take:

“Salyer is a power player who plays an attacking brand of football. He’s a poster boy for Georgia’s physical offense.”

But ...

“He’s an interior lineman in the NFL despite spending most of his time at tackle. Playing at guard will help alleviate some of his issues locating in space at tackle.”

FTR’s take: Over the past 3 seasons, Salyer has taken snaps at every offensive line position: 1,098 at LT, 102 at LG, 12 at Center, 116 at RG, and 163 at RT. If PFF’s projection is correct and Salyer is available in the 5th round, I could see Seattle taking a flier on him.



Bonus Coverage

We have some expanded coverage today, with PFF grades and standard stats for the past three seasons. Plus highlights, of course.

Size and (approximate) age:

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Rankings and projections:

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PFF Grades, 2019-2021:

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Standard Stats:

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PFF subjectiveness:


Highlights

My apologies in advance as some of these clips are subpar; it’s difficult to find quality “highlights’ of offensive linemen though.

Charles Cross

Kellen Diesch

Ikem Ekwonu

Daniel Faalele

Kenyon Green

Marquis Hayes

Zion Johnson

Darian Kinnard

Jaxson Kirkland

Tyler Linderbaum

Abraham Lucas

Bonus video for Abraham Lucas, from May 2019:

Max Mitchell

Evan Neal

Bonus video for Evan Neal - film study:

Dylan Parham

Trevor Penning

Nicholas Petit-Frere

Bernard Raimann

Jamaree Salyer