The myth of Seattle's OL neglect

You an argue with the effectiveness with which Seattle tried to build an offensive line, but that doesn't mean they haven't tried.

There was an easy joke to make after Seattle chose left tackle Charles Cross with the ninth pick of the draft.

The Seahawks finally drafted a left tackle for Russell Wilson. The only issue is they chose him with the draft pick they literally received for Wilson.

Just one problem with the joke: It isn’t exactly true. The Seahawks did draft a left tackle for Wilson. They just drafted him 2 years before Wilson arrived, choosing Russell Okung with what remains the highest draft pick Seattle has had in the 12 years since John Schneider and Pete Carroll took over.

The Seahawks also used draft picks to acquire a left tackle for Wilson in 2017 when they traded for left tackle Duane Brown.

Over the years, the quality of the offensive line has been a frequent source of criticism, and while I think the inadequacy of the line has been exaggerated because so many people simply recite the sack numbers, there is absolutely merit to the criticism.

The problem has not been the number of draft picks used, however. And it certainly hasn’t been the quality of the draft picks that have been used.

In the 12 years that Schneider has run Seattle’s draft, the Seahawks have chosen nine players in the first round. Four of those nine picks have been used to select offensive tackles, including the only two top-10 selections the Seahawks have used in that time.

If you’re going to criticize Seattle for its approach to the offensive line, the issue has been the Seahawks’ reluctance to pay market price for rank-and-file veterans whether it’s to re-sign players they have drafted or to add free agents. The result has been a overall lack of continuity up front not because they let great players get away, but because Brown and to a lesser extent Justin Britt were the only guys Seattle has liked enough to retain with a multi-year financial commitment.

In many ways, the Seahawks’ selection of Cross was a reenactment of what happened back in 2010 when Seattle had a top-10 pick and a veteran left tackle whose future was uncertain. Back then it was Walter Jones, who had Tweeted out during the Super Bowl he was going to call it a career. The Seahawks said in the months leading up to the draft that while retirement was a possibility, a final decision had not been reached.

Seattle held the sixth overall pick in the draft, and afterward said it had narrowed in on Trent Williams or Okung and would have taken whichever guy was still available at that spot.

Well this year, it’s Duane Brown whose future is uncertain and there were three offensive tackles drafted in the top 10. After the Panthers drafted Ikem Ekwonu No. 6 overall, the Giants chose Evan Neal of Alabama at No. 7. Two picks later the Seahawks had their tackle, showing that while Seattle doesn’t often pick in the top 10 under Schneider and Carroll, when they do, they prefer to draft offensive tackles.

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