During the Seahawks' Town Hall that aired last night, Tom Cable described what he was looking for in offensive linemen: explosiveness, athleticism, and good brains. A few moments later he expanded that thought process -- we are looking for good movers, runners, jumpers, guys that have grit, perseverance, and passion, he said.
Cable is outlining what he is looking for in an offensive lineman in terms of athleticism and mindset, and previous offensive line experience is simply not required!
When you think about James Carpenter and John Moffitt -- at least from my perspective -- I never thought they had killer athleticism or a killer mindset. This is not a knock on either of them, and they were good college linemen, but I am not sure I would describe either of those players in the manner Cable outlined this week so clearly on Softy and the Town Hall.
"There are some measureables," Cable told Softy, "there are some things that we want them to have."
"Kristjan [Sokoli] checked out on all that. The really cool thing about this group: All of them are broad jumpers of 9-feet or more, they all vertical over 31-inches, they all can lift 27-plus, and they all can change direction the right way."
Softy pressed him, "You mention 31, nine, and 27-plus, is that kind of the barometer for you? Do you have a set of numbers that you say, okay, if i were to create an offensive lineman from clay, these are the numbers in the broad jump, the vertical leap, the bench press that I'm looking for. Are those the numbers that you're looking for — the ones you just quoted?"
"Yeah," replied Cable.
"You'd like to see — I think the slowest one ran 5.2, Kristjan was the fastest at 4.83 in the 40, he also had the best short shuttle time, 4.36, so you want all those things. You want guys that can change direction, that can run, they can jump, they've got explosiveness, and weight room numbers, you know, it gives you some background at least — have they put in the work? Do they have a foundation where they can come into this league and hold their own?"
This really points to the Seahawks methodology for using athleticism analytics as a core piece of their evaluation process. It's something that Zach Whitman and Jared Stanger have talked about a lot here with regards to the SPARQ rating, and this -- how athleticism metrics & positional prototypes play into evaluation and roster building -- is something Zach wrote on recently.
Quoting a piece by Sheil Kapadia on Ed Marynowitz, the Eagles' VP of player personnel, Whitman pointed out that much of what Marynowitz said closely resembled what we've come to recognize as the philosophy that Seattle's built under Pete Carroll and John Schneider. Per Marynowitz,
This is a size/speed league. [Nick Saban and his staff at Alabama] believed the SEC was a size/speed league. There's enough statistical data that will support that in terms of players that are playing at a high level. There's a certain prototype.
One of Zach's basic premises for studying the SPARQ rating is that "a large portion of the best players in the league are also great athletes... The idea holds up under more rigorous scrutiny. There are not many elite non-QBs who test poorly."
Marynowitz, who worked for Saban at Alabama before coming to Philadelphia in 2011, detailed their philosophy.
So there's a certain prototype at each position. We try to build the same thing here, whether it's at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, corner, safety. There's a prototype, and there's a model that fits what we do.
I've written before about the Seahawks and prototypes, an application that I refer to as "roster mirroring." If the backups on a team fit into the same athletic class and build as the starters, then the scheme used to maximize the strengths of the starters should also serve the players waiting on the bench. Next Man Up works much better when the incoming player resembles the starter they're replacing.
With that concept in mind, let's take a look at the Seahawks' offensive line position over the last few years.
THE OLD CREW (PRE 2012 ACQUIRE)
The former offensive line crew did have some solid jumps, but not on the level of the crop harvested since 2012. Russell Okung 8-9 broad is solid, as was James Carpenter at 8-10. Max Unger and John Moffitt had pretty poor athletic numbers as a whole -- not just in the jumps.
Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan were a bit taller than the 6-4, 6-5 that Cable prefers, but they had solid athleticism -- their forty times and jumps were better than Okung, Carpenter, Unger and Moffitt (both had broad jumps of 9 and above).
LOWER END FREE AGENTS
Three lower end acquisitions had middle of the road athletic numbers, the best of the three being Lemuel Jeanpierre, the other two being Drew Nowak and Patrick Lewis. Nowak actually had a sub-8 broad jump and Lewis was 8 flat -- but Seattle still likes these two players. It should be noted that Seattle did not spend any sort of draft capital to acquire them, however.
2012 to NOW
On the chart are fourteen offensive lineman acquired since 2012, only one had a broad jump lower than 9 feet (Michael Bowie). Seattle will take a less athletic player if they have some "tackle" attributes. Terry Poole tested well, but not quite as well as Mark Glowinski (Poole was a tackle in college while Glow was a guard). Bowie was a poor tester, but again -- would play tackle. All the 10-yard splits for the fourteen players are also sub 1.80 (impressive), except for Poole and Bowie.
If you look at the forty times for the group, they are extremely fast -- the worst times are Michael Bowie and Jesse Davis with a 5.28 (and those are not bad times at all).
Alvin Bailey is a bit of an outlier in that he is not 6-4 (12 of the 14 players since 2012 are either 6-4 or 6-5 and none are taller). Bailey is 6031, but ran a 4.96 forty with an impressive 1.72 ten yard split. It was hard for me to find Bailey's jump numbers, but Zach has said -- if you test well in the forty and 10 yard -- his jump numbers were likely very good.
On the vertical jump, the entire group of fourteen all jump at least 29 inches except for Bowie, with eight of the players jumping 30 or more. Cable bragged that the entire crew of Poole, Glow, Soko and Jesse Davis (the fab 4) all jumped 31 or more. We have Jesse Davis at 30.5, but close enough. Cable also bragged to Softy that the agility numbers for Sokoli were 4.36, so he is obviously looking at these SPARQ elements as well (players like Garrett Scott and J.R. Sweezy had very good agility numbers). The only 3-cone agility number worse than 8 seconds was Bowie in the entire 2012-2015 set.