Round 3: Putting it All on the Line

When you’re rebuilding a unit that emphasizes cohesion — such as the offensive line — you have to start from the ground up.

That’s exactly what John Schneider and Pete Carroll have done tonight, on this second day of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Having already selected their top-rated run blocker in the first round with Alabama RT James Carpenter, the Seahawks got another upgrade on the offensive line with Wisconsin OG John Moffitt.

I’ll be honest — I hadn’t heard much, if anything, about either player up until yesterday and today. I didn’t feel that immediate sense of “hell yeah, we got our guy” like I did last year when the team snagged Russell Okung at #6 overall. I didn’t even think either pick was especially great at all, to be even more honest.

But then I began research, and got excited about Carpenter. and Matthew Heuett already told you why you should be excited as well. He’ll bookend Okung, which means a) the Seahawks will have a pair of young, athletic tackles who will hopefully be team staples for years to come; and b) we can finally strap Sean Locklear to a rocket and blast him to the moon. Or at least Cleveland.

Moffitt is an interesting pick, though. Schneider and Carroll ditched their second-round draft pick in exchange for Detroit’s third-rounder, which gets the pick given up to San Diego for Charlie Whitehurst back, essentially; plus a fourth-rounder, and moved up in the fifth and seventh rounds. Not too bad overall, I’d say.

But back to Moffitt. The Seahawks went through 11 different combinations of an offensive line last season, which resulted in rampant inconsistency and ineffective running plays. (I’m not blaming Jeremy Bates for all of that.) Moffitt brings good size and that same nasty streak, judging by the film I saw, to the interior part of the line, which Tom Cable is going to coach up until he’s blue in the face. In an ideal scenario, we’ve found our next Steve Hutch; at worst, we may have just gotten another decent fill-in to the o-line carousel. Obviously, nobody wants that, so I’m favoring the upside here.

I also like the fact that Schneider was ballsy enough to pass on his second-round pick and stockpile more late-round picks for almost nothing. Passing on Ryan Mallett isn’t a bad thing, of course, and this means we didn’t settle for anyone who was right in front of us at the time. (Minnesota, I’m looking at you. And I may be laughing a little.)

This is a draft with no shortage of QBs, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the guys reach for a Greg McElroy type later tomorrow. It’s hard to say though, because this draft has been anything but sexy for the Seahawks — we’re rebuilding a unit that’s pivotal to success, and sometimes those picks aren’t very exciting to read about on paper.

Then again, if you don’t know much about a lineman coming out of college, that means he’s been doing his job. And coming from successful programs like Alabama and Wisconsin, those guys have most likely been doing it well.