The Seattle Seahawks hired head coach Pete Carroll prior to the 2010 season. Four years later, he delivered the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. Quite the turnover for a team considered to be on the ropes. Yet, even with the flurry of roster moves generated by Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider following their arrival in Seattle, they always appear uniquely in-sync.
It is this commonality amongst the coaching staff which makes the Seahawks’ right tackle situation so intriguing. Since the beginning of the Carroll-Schneider era in Seattle, the offensive line has been a unit in transition.
In their first draft together, Seattle’s dynamic duo selected Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung. The following year, they selected James Carpenter from the University of Alabama with the idea he would be Seattle’s bookend tackle on the right side.
Unfortunately, a series of injuries derailed Carpenter’s opportunity at right tackle, creating an opening which was eventually filled by Breno Giacomini. While Giacomini was serviceable at times over the past few seasons, he was far too often a liability in pass protection and Seattle wisely chose not to re-sign him this offseason.
Instead, the Seahawks turned once again to college football’s mighty SEC in an attempt to fill the void on the right side. Justin Britt was selected from the University of Missouri with Seattle’s second-round draft pick, and he is expected to step in at right tackle from Day 1.
Though it may seem logical to give Carpenter another shot on the right side, he appeared to have found a home at left guard during Seattle’s epic Super Bowl run last year. Finally healthy, Carpenter was rock-solid at his new position. It would be understandable if the Seahawks were reluctant to move him again given the results.
That means Britt will likely have every opportunity to fill out the starting offensive line. Playing under an offensive guru like Tom Cable should have its benefits as well. Of course, being drafted by the defending Super Bowl champs could have its downfalls too.
While it usually takes rookies a bit of time to acclimate to the NFL, Britt may not be given the same courtesy. He will be immediately pushed to keep up with an offensive unit that was clearly running on all cylinders when last seen; and though Britt has all of the physical tools necessary, he has a way to go before he is anointed the starter on the right side.
The fact is that many league pundits pegged Britt as a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick. Yet, he was selected in the second round, giving many fans and analysts the impression that he was somehow unworthy. While it could be possible that Seattle reached for a position of need, it doesn’t match up with Carroll and Schneider’s MO of drafting players with unique qualities.
The truth is that Seattle probably saw a bit of that uniqueness in Britt. For instance, he brings the same nastiness and intensity that Giacomini plays with, but he seems more controlled in his movements. He also has a solid 325-pound frame that doesn’t appear to carry extra weight. Additionally, he has good length (6-foot-6) with a great punch off the snap — all things that coach Cable looks for in his linemen.
It remains to be seen if Britt can step in from Day 1 and make a positive impact on Seattle’s offense. He certainly has a long road ahead of him as Seattle inches toward training camp, but it looks as if the stars are aligning for the former University of Missouri lineman. Now, all that remains is the work.