The draft remains more than a month away — May 8-10 after the NFL moved it back. But speculation about the draft is at fever pitch, where it will likely remain until that eighth date of May, just as the league likes it.
The Seahawks have usually been a pretty tough team to read — no one saw them taking Christine Michael with their first pick a year ago.
Last week sources told me they expect an offensive tackle heavy draft from the Seattle Seahawks next month. The hope is to select a versatile edge blocker as protection in case the team cannot resign Russell Okung when his contract is up in two years.
That’s not exactly a real out-there thought as the Seahawks have a need to add depth at tackle after losing Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan in free agency. And as we detailed over the weekend, Okung has two years left on his contract with cap hits of $11.2 million and $7.2 million, which has led to some conjecture about an extension or restructuring soon.
Regardless, of what Seattle does in the draft or with Okung, though, much of its 2014 fortunes at that position likely rest with the progress of Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey, each rookies in 2013 who emerged to play key roles down the stretch. Bowie started nine games, including one in the playoffs, while Bailey got used a lot late as an eligible tackle, especially in the Super Bowl.
While Seattle did take some hits on the OL, it returns four of the players who started the Super Bowl in Okung at LT, LG James Carpenter, C Max Unger and RG J.R. Sweezy. Throw in Bowie and Bailey, and the team returns what were basically six of its top eight linemen at the end of the season.
But the line had its ups and downs in 2013 — Russell Wilson was sacked 44 times, the same amount as the Seattle defense recorded — and with the turnover in personnel, it’s an obvious spot to target in the draft.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— The Seahawks will be honored at the Mariners’ season opener tonight, with Wilson among those expected to be on hand:
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 8, 2014
— ESPN up to No. 7 on its list of best Seahawks.
— Yahoo.com’s Eric Edholm says the Seahawks will take Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin but should take Missouri DE Kony Ealy.
— ProFootballTalk also has Seattle taking Ealy in its latest mock draft.
— SportingNews looks at draft risers and fallers.
— Lemuel Jeanpierre has been working out at home in the off-season.
— NFL.com says Arizona’s offensive line was the NFC West position group that improved the much during free agency.