The Seahawks are still a long way from figuring out their starting five linemen for 2017, but Pete Carroll at least has defined the positions where the key players will be competing.
Luke Joeckel and Rees Odhiambo are working both left spots, George Fant is at left tackle, Mark Glowinski has moved over to right guard to battle Oday Aboushi, Germain Ifedi has moved from right guard to right tackle, and rookie Ethan Pocic is starting out on the right side in an apparent reserve role.
“We have all kinds of flexibility,” Carroll told 710 ESPN, “but we’re zeroing in in that fashion.”
Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in 2013 who signed from Jacksonville, is the apparent lynchpin.
As he comes back from an ACL injury, he is working at left guard and tackle. “He’s going to be an improvement at both places for us,” Carroll said. “This guy’s got all the talent in the world.
“Right now Luke is kind of a focal point to make sure he can get his looks. In Phase 3 (i.e., minicamps), he won’t be able to go at the same tempo; he’ll get limited work.” Joeckel is expected to be limited when training camp begins as well.
With Joeckel an expected lock for one of the spots on the left side, it seemingly comes down to who is better: Fant or Odhiambo. John Schneider has said Joeckel played better as a guard in Jacksonville, so Fant and Odhiambo could be battling for the left tackle spot.
While that is not very encouraging right now, considering how raw both players were in 2016, it might be the best thing going forward — since Joeckel is not signed beyond this year.
It does not speak well of Odhiambo, a third-rounder in 2016, that he could not unseat the undrafted Fant last year. But he looked fine in the few snaps he played for an injured Fant against the Eagles in November, so perhaps he is ready to claim the starting job.
It sounds like Pocic, a second-round rookie, is not competing for a starting job at this point — with 2016 first-rounder Ifedi the expected starter at right tackle and the veterans Glowinski and Aboushi battling at right guard.
“Glow is playing on the right side right now, his natural position from college,” Carroll said. “Aboushi has been very flexible. We’ll see him at right guard to start with and see how that fits together with Glow. So that comp is on.”
It would be no shock if Pocic quickly proved to be better than both Glowinski and Aboushi at right guard. But, even if he ends up as a reserve this year, he should be starting by 2018.
Here’s a look at the Seahawks’ O-line flexibility: