Why Mike Solari and Seahawks could avoid an offensive line at the start of the draft


With the NFL draft less than two weeks away from pushing fans’ hopes and dreams into the overdrive later this month, many Seattle Seahawks fans hope the team will use some of its capital from Day 1 and Day 2 project on the offensive line. Many fans are tired of Russell Wilson being pressured, and yet under Tom Cable and Mike Solari, pass protection for the team has left many fans eager for improvement. However, with padded practice time in training camp cut in half under the new CBA, it seems likely that the Hawks could avoid recruiting offensive linemen until Day 3.

Fans and the media were quick to show how cuts to practice time at ABC 2011 have resulted in a drop in online attacking play across the league, and with new cuts in place in the ‘ABC 2020 newly adopted, a continuation of this trend should not be a surprise. The idea that attacking linemen can take time to develop is not new, and it fits with how Seattle has been fixing holes in their attacking line in the past two seasons.

Specifically, in the past two seasons, the Hawks have served three different starting roles on the offensive line through free agency. In 2017, the team ended the season with Luke Joeckel and Ethan Pocic from the guard stations, and in 2018, these two positions were filled by free agents D.J. Fluker and J.R.S Sweezy. After the season, Sweezy signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent, and Seattle proceeded to fill the gap by signing Mike Iupati. In short, over the two seasons, Solari has been with the Seahawks, they have not played any starting role during the repechage or with younger and developing players, opting instead to fill these positions through a free agency.

This analysis, of course, is only based on two seasons of data, so this is a small sample. So, expanding the sample size to see how much the draft teams that have employed Solari as an offensive line coach have spent on the job in recent years brings these results back.

Offensive linemen drafted by teams with the offensive line coached by Mike Solari since the adoption of the 2011 ABC

Year Rnd To choose Player Pos CarAV GS
Year Rnd To choose Player Pos CarAV GS
2019 4 124 Phil Haynes g 0 0
2018 5 168 Jamarco Jones T 3 3
2017 6 200 Adam Bisnowaty T 0 1
2014 3 70 Marcus Martin VS ten 24
2014 3 100 Brandon thomas OL 0 0
2013 seven 246 Carter Bykowski OL 0 0
2012 6 199 Jason Slowey OL 0 0
2012 4 117 Joe Looney g 15 30
2011 seven 239 Michael Person g 23 48
2011 5 163 Daniel Kilgore g 24 56

Thus, in the past nine seasons, no Solari-coached team has drafted an offensive lineman above 3.70. The four different teams for which he was either an offensive line coach or an offensive line assistant coach combined to use only two Day 2 picks on offensive liners during that period, none of which represented much .

With that in mind and looking at the players on the list, it is then possible to cycle through each of the positions. Starting in the middle of the line in the center, the competition is currently taking place between the following four players:

Now, some fans have thrown out the idea of ​​adding Lloyd Cushenberry or Tyler Biadasz at the start of the draft, but by the end of the day the Hawks already have four centers on the list that have some level of starting experience in the NFL. Given that the team only needs to place a center on the field, it seems unlikely that the Seahawks will be uncomfortable enough with the four guys that they have in the position that they would feel compelled to spend a choice of Day 1 or Day 2 on a young center. Add to that the team also has Kyle Fuller, who has been Baylor’s starting center for three of his four seasons, deserving recognition as an Honorable Mention All Big 12 in second year, the second All Big 12 team as junior and the first All Big 12 team as a senior. Basically, the center is covered and is probably a position on which they are unlikely to spend anything other than a choice of day 3.

Moving on to the guard posts, Iupati remains unsigned, and although the team may bring him back, they appear to have enough names in the place that they will not have. Fluker has started on guard in each of the past two seasons, and although they may have saved a few million dollars against the ceiling with his release, they appear to have already performed their cap-related alignment moves when ‘they released Ed Dickson and Tedric Thompson. Assuming Fluker, who started for Solari in each of the past three seasons, should be on the right again, leaving the rest of the contestants on the left. Those currently competing are:

There is no doubt that Roos is probably at the bottom of this list and would have the hardest time being on the list. However, Simmons and Haynes have both seen time to play for the Hawks in the past two years when they were healthy, and Warmack began his career by starting 46 of the 48 potential games for the Tennessee Titans before injuries don’t derail. Add to that Knox, who the team seemed to really love until he suffered a major leg injury in the 2019 preseason and the competition was tough.

Additionally, while Fuller was playing center at university, during his time with the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears since joining the NFL, Fuller played both guard and tackle, as well as completing a sixth role as an offensive lineman in the George Fant style in jumbo packs at times. Although Fuller didn’t show much to get excited when he had a chance to show what he could do on the field, he has experience at all positions on the line and has reached the size that Solari likes to keep. All this before even considering the 2019 fan, Darling Jones, to whom many are ready to give a starting place even before the training camp competition. In short, the guard is not a position where the starters are installed, but there is enough competition for the 2020 starter to be already on the list.

This brings things to be resolved, where at most the team will keep a maximum of four players. These four places include a right and left starter, a swing and a sixth offensive lineman to fill the jumbo role TE Fant has mainly filled each of the last two seasons. Unless injured, Duane Brown is the undisputed starter in left tackle, and given that the contract given to Brandon Shell is the biggest contract that Pete Carroll and John Schneider have given to a free agent offensive lineman, it would seem safe to wear Shell right tackle.

This leaves room for the swing tackle and the role of TE jumbo. Starting from the jumbo TE role, Cedric Ogbuehi played 59 of his 155 offensive snaps in this role for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019, and his athleticism likely gives him a head start in the battle for that role. Even Ogbuehi’s contract is extremely similar to the second-round tender that Fant played in 2019. Specifically, the second-round tender this season is $ 3.259 million, while Ogbuehi’s contract does not exceed $ 3.3 million if he achieves all of his performance and incentives to play. Of course, this could easily be a coincidence, but it is certainly an interesting coincidence.

Putting it all together, it brings things to the role of swing swing. Some fans are still hoping that Jamarco Jones will get a shot at this role, and that certainly remains a possibility despite his performance against Chandler Jones in week 16. However, Seattle already has a tackle on the list which has not only served as a backup, but started for Solari. Chad Wheeler is a name that most Seahawks fans probably don’t recognize, but in 2017 Wheeler was the Giants’ left tackle under Solari. As an undrafted rookie free agent, he recorded 261 offensive snaps while starting five games between right and left tackling and contributing to special teams in six other games. This means that Wheeler has fulfilled the role of swing striker for Solari in the past, and that was before Wheeler won fourteen more start-up experience in 2018 after Solari left.

In short, there is no desperate need to attack, nor at any of the other offensive line points. Add this lack of immediate necessity to the fact that the teams for which Solari has coached in recent seasons have avoided using a lot of capital at the start of the draft on offensive linemen, and it seems likely that the Seahawks can transmit offensive linemen at the start of the repechage. It certainly doesn’t rule out that the team will use a selection or two on development line workers later in the project. However, without a glaring immediate need and the further reduction of padded practices in the new CBA, the use of one of three choices the team has in the first and second rounds in the position seems unlikely.


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