I often wonder what is going on inside of Seahawks’ GM John Schneider’s head. Year after year, he has built teams that are successful and defensively focused, but a continuing problem he has never seemed to address is the Offensive Line. In every year but his first season as the GM (2010), Seahawk QB’s have ranked in the Top 6 of Sacks every year, and for the most part averaging around the Number 3 slot. Obviously, every year but one of those has had Russell Wilson under center, and we all know about his ability to evade defenders and make something out of nothing happen but imagine what Wilson could do with a real Offensive Line! If Wilson had a solid front, I don’t think there would be any doubt in my mind he would be the best Quarterback in the League, whereas now, I only see him as a top 5 guy.
I want to focus mainly on the lack of moves that were made from 2019 to now on Seattle’s OLine. Only one Seahawk OL started all 18 games last year, and that was Germaine Ifedi the Right Tackle. Great so sounds like they would have at least one-piece slot in for the 2020 season, well not quite. Ifedi left in free agency to Chicago, and honestly, I don’t mind this at all, because Ifedi is average at best with a 2019 PFF grade of 56.2. Yes, he was second in the league in snaps played for an Offensive Tackle, however he was tied for 5th most in the league with 13 penalties and he had 8 sacks given up. Obviously, John Schneider can find a lot better than that.
Going into 2020 they have two old Veterans that due to injuries they are nowhere near the caliber of players they were before coming to the Seahawks. Let us start with the 34-year-old Left Tackle Duane Brown. I hope he can have another solid season as the anchor on the Seahawks OL as he is a two-time Pro Bowl Alternate and was a 2018 Second Team All Pro. He is by no means the best blindside blocker in the league, but there is a lot worst than him. Brown also missed the end of the season due to surgery on his knee, which at 34 is pretty well a career finisher for an Offensive Lineman. I give Brown 2 years at most before he retires, so its time for Schneider to start looking for a replacement. The second old guy on the Offensive Line is Mike Iupati who was also an Alternate selection to the Pro Bowl last season, but at 33 years old and having major injury issues during his time in Arizona, I think its also time to get younger at the Guard position as well. The Seahawks do Ethan Pocic, who I expect to start over Iupati in 2020. The former second round pick has been worst than average in his career according to PFF numbers, and after coming off 2019 season where he was on injured reserve for majority of the year with back issues, it might be time to head in a different direction from him as well.
At center, the Seahawks brought in back up Steeler BJ Finney, who I have no opinion on because I have never seen him play. PFF gave him an average 56.9 rating from the 2019 season, so I am just going to assume he is another average Offensive Lineman that Seattle has on their roster. He will start over two other centers that they have on their roster as they were both on the practice roster for majority of the season.
At the other Guard position, they have last years 4th round pick Phil Haynes who will most likely be the starter in 2020. He did not see any time during the regular season last year as he was recovering from an injury, but he did get a start in their playoff game, but that was only due to other injuries across the line. He played both Guard and Tackle in college so there is some nice versatility to work with there. Who knows maybe he will turn out to be a solid contributor to the Seahawks. Behind him the Seahawks brought in Chance Warmack this off season. Warmack was a former Top 10 pick in the NFL draft out of Alabama, but after stints with Tennessee and Philadelphia, he is widely considered a bust. Maybe Seattle is the place he needs to be to revive his career.
There are two bright lights that the Seahawks may have heading into 2020, but to be honest I am not really solid on either of them. Let’s start with the veteran Cedric Ogbuehi who they brought in to take over at Right Tackle. He is a former first round pick, who has had an average career at best, and one that has been plagued with injuries. He barley played in 2018, and in 2019 he only played 155 snaps. At 28, I don’t see him as a long-term option, but he may be good enough in 2020 to earn a second contract. The other glimmer of hope is rookie draft pick Damien Lewis, who was taken in the 3rd round this past April. PFF gave him an 82.3 run blocker grade in college last season, so I could see him becoming a solid player in Seattle’s run heavy scheme.
Overall, I believe John Schneider should really begin to invest in Offensive Lineman. He is lucky that he has managed to get this far without a major Russell Wilson injury. He needs to bring in some solid blockers that aren’t complete band-aids themselves, and that will help for an easier transition for when Wilson ages more and gets less mobile.