Russell Okung signs, now what?

Guest article written by Joseph Eames

Well, Seattle got its man. The only thing left to do is figure out if he’s any good (the price tag says “yes”).

Okung is stepping into some pretty big shoes, as he attempts to replace living legend, Walter Jones, at left tackle. A difficult task to be sure, Okung was a highly heralded prospect out of Oklahoma State, and should be able to come in and start effectively from day one.

Lets take a look at the Seahawks new $58 million dollar man.

Okung is a natural-born pass protector. Sporting a linear build, he uses long arms to effectively engage and lock on to incoming defenders. Generally scouted to be of adequate awareness, he picks up blitzes and stunts with relative ease. A hard worker who drives through each play to the whistle, Okung plays with a mean streak, mauling and manhandling opposing defensive ends and incoming linebackers. Okung uses his above average footwork to set up quickly, coming to the inside, or setting up wide to head off speed rushers at the perimeter. While anchoring OSU’s dominating offensive line, Okung was “credited” with having given up just one sack in 2009.

While Okung is an elite talent as a pass blocker, he is also regarded to be an above average run blocker. More of a finesse blocker than a mauler, Okung utilizes many of the same traits and skills listed above while clearing the path for the ball carrier. On the line of scrimmage, Okung holds his own. Using the same physical tools mentioned previously, Okung shows great initial pop, and uses his massive upper body to control defenders at the point of contact. Okung also shows that he is more of a finesse blocker in the sense that he will use footwork and a knowledge of angles to steer his man inside or outside, instead of brute force. These solid angles also allow Okung to consistently hit the second level on time, giving the ball carrier plenty of assistance further up the field. One knock on Okung, however, is that his technique can slip from time to time, allowing his pads to get too high, too early. This allows the defender to sometimes knock him off-balance and break into the backfield. Okung can also show a tendency to lean forward when aggressively blocking, and will lose his balance against quicker ends.

It goes without saying that Okung is no Walter Jones.

Yet.

Big Walt is a lock for Canton, and Okung is the greenest rookie on the roster. It would be absurd for me to claim that Okung is going to come anywhere close to touching Jones’s career, but it is worth mentioning that they both started as a #6 pick, and with Alex Gibbs taking the reins of his new career, Okung has everything he could possibly need to succeed. Get that man on the field.

 

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