Seahawks 2010s All-Decade Team: Offensive Line

Rob Rang

The 2010s undeniably were the best decade in Seahawks franchise history.

With coach Pete Carroll at the helm, Seattle made the postseason eight out of the past 10 seasons, won four NFC West titles, and captured the franchise’s first Super Bowl trophy. Aside from New England, no other franchise was more consistent in this decade, as Carroll led his team to seven 10-plus win seasons and 100 regular season victories.

To put these numbers in perspective, the Seahawks had five 10-plus win seasons, 10 playoff appearances, and six division titles combined from 1976 to 2009.

To celebrate the best 10-year span in franchise history, our writing staff assembled a 2010s Seahawks All-Decade 53-Man Roster. Which offensive linemen made the final cut?

Offensive Tackles

Duane Brown

Seahawks Tenure: 2017-Present

Analysis: Brown captured the imagination of scouts at the 2008 NFL Combine by outshining more heralded prospects – like subsequent No. 1 overall pick Jake Long – in workouts. But he still was not considered a slam dunk first round pick by some scouts. Then-Texans general manager Rick Smith recognized Brown’s fit in coach Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme, however, and made him the No. 26 overall pick. After nine full seasons starring at left tackle for Houston, a bitter dispute with the franchise ultimately culminated with Brown being shipped to Seattle midway through the 2017 season. Still playing quite well in his 12th NFL season, he's brought stability to the Seahawks protecting Russell Wilson's blind side, appearing in one Pro Bowl and garnering Second-Team All-Pro honors in 2018.

Russell Okung

Seahawks Tenure: 2010-2015

Analysis: Tabbed as the first draft choice for general manager John Schneider and Carroll back in 2010, Okung became an immediate starter and was supposed to be the first true franchise left tackle since Walter Jones retired. Struggling to stay healthy, the former Oklahoma State star never quite lived up to his potential in Seattle, missing 24 total regular season games in six seasons. But when healthy, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Okung was arguably the Seahawks' best offensive lineman and made the Pro Bowl in 2012 for an upstart 11-5, playoff-bound squad. He also started in 12 playoff games, including both of Seattle's Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014. After departing as a free agent in 2015, he eventually made a second Pro Bowl with the Chargers in 2016.

Breno Giacomini

Seahawks Tenure: 2011-2013

Analysis: A key part of the roster turnover that Schneider and Carroll brought to Seattle, Giacomini was signed off of Green Bay’s practice squad after the one-time Louisville tight end had spent two years bulking up to grow into an NFL right tackle. He simply kept getting bigger, topping out at a massive 6-7, 320 pounds with a condor-like wingspan. Schneider was among the scouts in Green Bay who drafted Giacomini in the fifth round of the 2008 draft and he didn’t forget about him when joining Seattle as general manager two years later. While perhaps not as aesthetically-pleasing a blocker as some of the others who suited up for the Seahawks during this era, Giacomini grew into a key three-year starter for the Seahawks and a bit of a street-brawler. He provided more than his share of the physicality and aggression that characterized Seattle’s offensive line during its run to the Super Bowl XLVIII title.

Germain Ifedi

Seahawks Tenure: 2016-Present

Analysis: Expectations are always high for first round picks and with three of the five players selected ahead of Ifedi in the 2016 NFL Draft already being voted Pro Bowlers or All-Pro over their first four seasons, some have been unfairly critical of the burly right tackle. Bigger and nastier than Ronnie Stanley (6-foot-6, 312 pounds), Laremy Tunsil (6-foot-5, 310 pounds), and Jack Conklin (6-foot-6, 308 pounds), the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Ifedi was a double-down by Schneider and Carroll on their philosophy of controlling the line of scrimmage with massive bruisers rather than dancing behind it with smaller, more agile blockers of prior schemes. Ifedi has struggled – at times, mightily – with inopportune false starts and holds but critics should recognize the difficult position the right tackle is placed with a mobile, right-handed quarterback like Russell Wilson. Playing his best football and still just 25 years old, Ifedi has a bright future and will command significant interest on the open market if Seattle opts to let the pending free agent explore it.

Offensive Guards

D.J. Fluker

Seahawks Tenure: 2018-Present

Analysis: Kind-hearted and fun-loving off the field, the massive 340-pound Fluker plays with a mean streak on the field. After struggling to run the football during the 2017 season, Schneider and Carroll made improving the offensive line a top priority with run blocking as the primary focus. Bringing a "spirit" to the Seahawks offensive line as Carroll has coined it, Fluker immediately enforced his will on opponents after entering the starting lineup in Week 3 of the 2018 season. He's had a few minor injuries during two seasons with the team that have cost him eight games total, but his impact on Seattle's rushing attack the past two years has been undeniable. The Seahawks led the NFL with 2,560 rushing yards in 2018, rattling off over 100 rushing yards in Fluker's first seven starts. This year, while not quite as dominant on the ground, Seattle finished fourth in the league with 2,220 rushing yards aided by Fluker's mauling presence in the middle.

J.R. Sweezy

Seahawks Tenure: 2012-2015, 2018

Analysis: While most of Tom Cable's attempts to convert defensive linemen into offensive linemen failed in epic fashion, Sweezy was the one exception to the rule. Drafted in the seventh round out of North Carolina State in the heralded 2012 NFL Draft, the uber-athletic guard found his way into the starting lineup by the end of his rookie season, quickly transitioning from defense to offense. Over the next three years, Sweezy's lateral quickness allowed him to thrive in Cable's zone-heavy scheme and he started all but two regular season games for Seattle. After starting in two Super Bowls, he earned a lucrative contract from Tampa Bay in free agency, but eventually resurrected his career back in Seattle alongside Fluker on the 2018 playoff team.

James Carpenter

Seahawks Tenure: 2011-2014

Analysis: Like Okung, Carpenter was a highly-touted first round pick who battled multiple injuries during his tenure with the Seahawks, preventing him from reaching his ceiling as a player. A torn ACL suffered during his rookie season set him back tremendously, as he only played in seven games upon his return in 2012 and came back to camp overweight. But despite the rocky start and concerns about his work ethic, the powerful 6-foot-5, 321-pound Carpenter returned to full health in time for Seattle's back-to-back Super Bowl runs and performed well, starting 23 regular season games at left guard and helping open up running lanes for Lynch. After playing every snap in the playoffs for the Seahawks in 2014, he left as a free agent and signed a multi-year deal with the Jets.

Paul McQuistan

Seahawks Tenure: 2011-2013

Analysis: Often a forgotten man on Seattle's offensive line as the team became a legitimate contender during Carroll's first few seasons at the helm, McQuistan offered immense versatility to Cable's front line, starting games at left tackle and both guard positions during three seasons with the franchise. Possessing excellent size (6-foot-6, 315 pounds), there wasn't anything flashy about his game up front, but he was a reliable veteran who proved himself to be a plus-run blocker and serviceable in pass protection. He lost his starting job to Carpenter during the 2013 season, but he still rotated into the lineup and played 60 snaps in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers and Super Bowl XLIX victory against the Broncos.

Centers

Max Unger

Seahawks Tenure: 2009-2014

Analysis: Smart and surprisingly agile given his almost lanky 6-5, 305 pound frame, Unger was identified as an ideal schematic fit in Seattle’s zone-blocking scheme prior to the 2009 draft and then-Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell aggressively traded third and fourth round picks to nab the four-year starter out of Oregon with the No. 49 overall pick. The Seahawks were immediately rewarded with Unger starting all 16 games as a rookie, beginning at right guard before switching over to center. Injuries plagued Unger’s time in Seattle, but when healthy, his length, mobility, and refined technique made him one of the league’s top centers. Unger was named an All-Pro at center in 2012 and started there during Seattle's Super Bowl victory over Denver. In a rare player-for-player swap in the NFL, Unger and a 2015 first round pick were sent to the Saints when the Seahawks acquired tight end Jimmy Graham.

Justin Britt

Seahawks Tenure: 2014-Present

Analysis: The Seahawks were fortunate to employ some incredibly athletic, technically-refined and massive offensive linemen throughout the decade. But few – if any – proved more trustworthy than Britt, a jack-of-all-trades with encouraging starts early in his career at right tackle and left guard before emerging as one of the NFL’s better young centers in recent seasons. At 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, Britt provides extraordinary size at center. His bulk can make Britt a bulldozer in the running game, but the time he spent blocking on the perimeter in Seattle and previously for the Missouri Tigers shows in his lateral agility as well. While admirably replaced in the second half of the 2019 season by the much smaller Joey Hunt, Britt’s value to the Seahawks extends past his play on the field, as he is one of the team’s most respected players and a team leader.

Comments

GM Report

FEATURED
COMMUNITY