As part of a transformational offseason in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks overhauled their offensive line, embarking on a youth movement at tackle by moving on from veterans Duane Brown and Brandon Shell and using a pair of early draft picks on Mississippi State's Charles Cross and Washington State's Abraham Lucas.
With training camp now only a few weeks away, Seattle lacks seasoning at the position, with only second-year lineman Jake Curhan offering more than five games of NFL experience. Away from Curhan, Cross and Lucas haven't even played in a preseason game yet, while former sixth-round pick Stone Forsythe has less than 15 regular snaps to his credit.
Still, even considering how youthful the group is, the Seahawks have plenty of reasons to be excited about the long-term potential of their tackles. Both Cross and Lucas were among the premier pass blockers in college football a year ago, while Curhan held up well starting nearly half a dozen games as a rookie and Forsythe continues to intrigue going into his second season.
Offensive line coach Andy Dickerson, who received a promotion after Seattle parted ways with Mike Solari in February, isn't naming any starters at this point. But he's clearly excited to see how things play out on the practice field starting later this month.
“We’ll see when training camp comes out, who's the most consistent, who's getting the job done," Dickerson said. "We're looking for guys who are smart, tough, and reliable, and we have all those guys in the building. It's just going to be when the competition comes and we get through the training camp and the preseason games, who's the person, who are those five that we think are going to make the best offensive line. Not just the right tackle, but who are those guys who've earned those jobs?”
In the midst of their annual six-week moratorium between organized team activities and training camp, how does the Seahawks tackle group look? Diving into the depth chart, here's an updated look at the projected starters, a sleeper to watch, a potential wild card to keep an eye on, and a player squarely on the roster bubble.
Projected Starters: Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas
Embracing his "always compete" philosophy, Pete Carroll isn't going to hand a starting job to any incoming rookie, even if it's a top-10 pick such as Cross. With that said, even considering his rawness as a run blocker coming out of an Air Raid offense at Mississippi State, it would be an absolute stunner if anyone else started at left tackle for the Seahawks in Week 1 against the Broncos. Drawing rave reviews throughout the offseason program, the athletic pass blocking stalwart should be cemented into the starting lineup on day one, ready to test his skills against the league's best pass rushers and grow through experience.
On the right side, it is far from a given Lucas, a third-round pick out of Washington State, will be ready to wrangle a day one starting job away from Jake Curhan. However, he holds a significant advantage in the athletic department and didn't allow a single sack in his senior season for the Cougars. If he proves himself ready as a pass protector during camp and exhibition games while also making strides in the run blocking department, after already seeing first-team reps in the offseason program, he would be the favorite to win a starting role on the right side, which would be an ideal outcome for the Seahawks in the present and future.
Sleeper: Jake Curhan
While Seattle would love to see Lucas emerge as a day one starter, the Everett native isn't going to be given a starting job by default and Curhan won't go down without swinging. Going undrafted out of California in large part due to a heart condition flagged during the pre-draft process, he impressed enough in the preseason to snag a spot on the 53-man roster and wound up starting each of the Seahawks' final five regular season games at right tackle, playing well in difficult circumstances. A physical run blocker who played a vital role in Rashaad Penny's resurgence late in the season, he should hold the advantage over Lucas in that department and if he shows marked improvement in pass protection, it may be difficult for the rookie to overtake him in camp.
Wild Card: Stone Forsythe
Since Seattle invested a pair of draft picks at the tackle position in the first three rounds in April, Forsythe quickly became a forgotten man just one year after the organization traded up in the sixth round to select him. But Carroll indicated coming out of mandatory minicamp that the ex-Florida star would be in the mix for the starting job at right tackle against Lucas and Curhan, who actually took most of his reps to close out the offseason program at right guard. Forsythe played well in 14 snaps against the 49ers last season and possesses quality athletic tools to go with his massive 6-foot-8 frame. Previously excelling against SEC competition, with a full offseason under his belt to get stronger and work on technique, he shouldn't be counted out in the competition.
On The Bubble: Greg Eiland
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State, Eiland spent the entire 2021 campaign on Seattle's practice squad while learning from veterans Duane Brown and Brandon Shell. Built more like a power forward in the NBA than an NFL tackle, the towering 6-foot-8 Eiland started more than 30 games in the SEC at Mississippi State, seeing action at both tackle spots as well as guard. While he lacks the athletic traits of Cross, Lucas, and Forsythe, he boasts incredible length and if he has sharpened up his technique - particularly footwork that has been problematic - he may be able to play his way into consideration for a swing tackle spot in August.
Seahawks Post-Offseason Depth Chart Reviews