Big boys finally come in Rounds 4-5

After ignoring their lines on the first two days, the Seahawks hit both with a vengeance on Day 3. In Rounds 4 and 5 they added two guys on each side of the ball.

So what are the odds any of these guys turn into more than emergency starters?

John Schneider had picked 40 players in Rounds 4-5 over his first 13 drafts in Seattle. Eight of them turned into full-time starters, and five have been top backups/part-time starters. So that gives these four new guys a historic 20% chance individually of becoming permanent starters –collectively, one of them is likely to become a regular starter.

Defensive line

Schneider has drafted eight defensive linemen in the fourth and fifth rounds. Quinton Jefferson is the only one who has turned into a full-time starter (he was better than three third-rounders in Seattle’s disappointing 2016 draft class). The next-best D-lineman was Cassius Marsh, a 2014 fourth-rounder who became a special-teams mainstay before being traded to the Patriots for a couple of draft picks.

So odds are not great that fourth-rounder Cameron Young (Mississippi State) or fifth-rounder Mike Morris (Michigan) will be anything more than decent backups. For now, the Hawks just need bodies, so pencil them both onto the roster as rotational guys to help against the run alongside Dre Jones and Jarran Reed. Young appears to be the de facto nose tackle, unless Al Woods and/or Poona Ford comes back.

Offensive line

As for the offensive line, the Hawks are bereft of interior players beyond 2023. Enter LSU guard Anthony Bradford (Damien Lewis’ former teammate) and Michigan center Olu Oluwatimi (Morris’ teammate).

Schneider had drafted just eight true interior linemen over his first 13 years: Lewis, Phil Haynes, Ethan Pocic, Joey Hunt, Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski, Ryan Seymour, John Moffitt. Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi, Rees Odhiambo and Jamarco Jones were college tackles who played all over the line with Seattle. J.R. Sweezy was a sixth-round defender who famously converted to guard. Jared Smith was a similar convert who did not work.

Of those 14 draft picks, just four – Sweezy, Britt, Ifedi, Lewis — turned into regular starters for Seattle. Pocic started 40 games over five seasons in a checkered stint, and Glowinski went on to success in Indy (with better coaching and a better scheme) after Seattle gave up on him.

Bradford figures to battle fellow former fourth-rounder Haynes (an oft-injured part-time player) at right guard. Oluwatimi is just the third pure center drafted by Schneider, joining Hunt (sixth round) and Pocic (second). The Hawks surely are hoping he can live up to all of his 2022 college accolades — All-American, All-Big Ten, Rimington Award (best center in college), Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) – and end up a better player than those two. Ideally, he would learn behind Evan Brown in 2023 and be good enough to start in 2024.

Here’s a look at the four linemen, with analysis from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein:

OG Anthony Bradford

Size: 6-4, 332
School: LSU
Pick: 4 (108)
Stats: He allowed just three pressures on more than 400 pass plays at RG last season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. … He was the fourth most athletic guard at the Combine, per NextGen Stats. He is also really strong, with 34 reps in the bench.

Brugler: “A two-year starter at LSU, Bradford played primarily at right guard in offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock’s zone-based scheme. … Bradford is a heavy player, but he isn’t a slug and explodes off the snap with the core strength and girth to control defenders in the run game. However, he is fundamentally a work in progress and needs to play with better balance and lower-body bend to adjust to moving targets in his pass sets (spends too much time on the ground). Overall, Bradford offers tackle experience, but he is at his best in confined quarters, where he can trust his wide frame and move bodies with sheer force. Although he might not be ready from the get-go, he offers intriguing NFL potential that can be cultivated.”

Zierlein: “Massive, scheme-specific guard prospect with plus power but obvious athletic limitations. Bradford has functional quickness as a pulling guard and can work from one block to the next with adequate timing. He can be effective as a single blocker but really shines on double-teams, where he can help clear the pathway. His lack of lateral quickness and reactive athleticism can put him in a bind against one-gapping defensive tackles and sub-package rushers with short-area twitch. Bradford has the potential to become an eventual starter for gap and power teams.”

Bradford said: “I feel like I’m an aggressive player, but I’m an aggressive smart player. Sometimes I can kind of look passive, but I’m coming aggressive. And I really take pride in my feet and my technique, so I feel like I’m an aggressive player with good technique.”

DL Cameron Young

Size: 6-3, 304
School: Mississippi State
Pick: 4 (123)

Brugler: “A two-year starter at Mississippi State, Young lined up as the nose guard in former defensive coordinator (now head coach) Zach Arnett’s 3-3-5 base scheme. After an ACL injury disrupted his development as an underclassman, he showed promising growth the past two years as a starter, averaging 41.4 defensive snaps per game. With his long arms and body strength, Young forces the issue at the snap while also displaying the instincts to feel blocking pressures and find the football. However, his tall pads are a detriment and will make it easier for NFL blockers to control him. Young is a heavy, upright mover, which will limit his ability to make plays on the football, but his forceful punch and balance through contact are NFL traits. He has two-gapping traits to provide immediate depth as a nose or play head up over the tackle.”

Zierlein: “Naturally powerful prospect who is able to take on capable challengers and come out in good shape despite playing with an elevated pad level. Young plays with early hands and a heavy punch to gain positioning quickly against single blocks. He has the core power and contact balance to force double-teams to work. Also, he does a nice job of fighting against wash-down blocks and maintaining gap integrity against zone. He has the size, length and strength to become a proficient run defender but offers very little as a pass rusher. While Young will be seen as a natural nose tackle, he could see snaps as a 5-technique as well.”

Young said: “I think the Seahawks were the favorite. They’ve been talking to me heavy throughout this whole process, so I knew it was a place I wanted to go.” The Seahawks told him they view him as a nose tackle and 3-tech/big end.

DL Mike Morris

Size: 6-5, 295
School: Michigan
Pick: 5 (151)
Stats & accolades: Second-team All-American in 2022 after 11 TFL, 7.5 sacks

Brugler: “As a pass rusher, Morris accelerates quickly with his first two steps and jars blockers off balance with his hands, although his high pads tend to work against him. In the run game, he has the frame, length and active hands to hold the point and anchor. … Morris doesn’t currently rush with savvy and needs to broaden his assortment of moves, but he is a nimble-footed power rusher with the scheme-diverse traits to be a sound run defender.”

Zierlein: “He needs to crank up his intensity on a more regular basis, but his ability to take on blockers and create advantages flashes in every game. His run defense will trend ahead of the pass rush until he becomes more skilled with his hands and at creating angles of entry. Morris could have the versatility to play in odd or even fronts, but it might take a couple of years for him to hit his stride.”

Morris said: “They’re not wasting this pick on just anybody. I’m going to give everything I have. All I’ve got. And they’re getting a monster.” … After weighing 275 at the Combine, Morris said he is up to 295, which is about what he played at for Michigan in 2022 and is what the Seahawks want him at.

C Olu Oluwatimi

Size: 6-2, 309
School: Michigan
Pick: 5 (154)
Stats & Accolades: He allowed two pressures and no sacks last year, according to ESPN Stats & Information. … Consensus All-American; All-Big Ten; Rimington Award; Outland Trophy; Joe Moore Award.

Brugler: “A one-year starter at Michigan, Oluwatimi was an ideal fit at center in head coach Jim Harbaugh’s power-spread offense. After an All-American junior season at Virginia, he took his talents to Ann Arbor for the 2022 season and stocked his shelves with the Rimington Award (nation’s top center), Outland Trophy (nation’s top interior lineman) and the Joe Moore Award (nation’s top offensive line). Oluwatimi shows a natural understanding of blocking angles and works hard to stay in between ball and defender. However, he doesn’t create consistent spacing in the run game and lacks ideal range and sustain skills as a pass blocker. Overall, Oluwatimi doesn’t have the position versatility, explosiveness or point-of-attack power that most NFL teams desire, but he is a cerebral, assignment-sound blocker with A-plus character.”

Zierlein: “Four-year starter and highly decorated player who was part of a unit that won the Joe Moore Award in consecutive years. Oluwatimi benefited from tight splits and a scheme designed to take advantage of double-teams up front. He will bend a little at the waist but displays good technique on double-teams and generates decent drive on base blocks. He lacks the lateral quickness needed for range as a run blocker and must learn to better recognize and respond to twists in pass protection. Oluwatimi has future starting potential but could struggle in a scheme that forces him to play in space.”


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