Analysis: Seahawks Show Great Foresight Trading Up For Florida T Stone Forsythe

Seattle has a pair of starting tackles under contract in Duane Brown and Brandon Shell, but both players are scheduled to be free agents next March. Forsythe provides the organization with a hedge who could become a long-term starter on the left or right side.
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Putting a bow on the smallest draft class in franchise history, the Seahawks shipped picks 217 and 250 to the Bears to move up nine spots and select Florida tackle Stone Forsyth with the 208th overall selection.

Seattle will enter the 2021 season with Duane Brown and Brandon Shell cemented in the starting lineup at both tackle spots. But beyond next season, the team has major question marks at both positions, as both players are set to become free agents next March and Brown will turn 36 years old in August.

By investing a sixth round pick in Forsythe, a prospect many draft pundits viewed as a day two selection heading into draft weekend, the Seahawks landed themselves a high-upside developmental prospect with starter potential on either side.

Standing 6-foot-8 and weighing 307 pounds, Forsythe somehow towers over other tackle prospects and possesses long 34 3/8-inch arms and an 83 1/4-inch wing span. He uses this length with outstanding effectiveness in pass protection to keep pass rushers at bay and he's ridiculously light on his feet mirroring defenders for a player of his massive size.

Last season, Forsythe slid over to left tackle for the Gators and allowed just two sacks on 513 pass protection snaps, per Pro Football Focus. In two seasons as a starter, he allowed 21 hurries, five sacks, and 10 quarterback hits, proving to be one of the best in the SEC at keeping his signal caller clean.

But while Forsythe's length allows him to get hands on defenders quickly, his height can actually create major problems for him, particularly in the run game. Even when he's playing low by his standards, defenders often can still get underneath him and he will have to get stronger to compensate because he isn't going to get shorter overnight. Winning the fight for leverage will always be an issue for him.

The good news on that front? His athletic fluidity and lateral quickness cater well to a zone-centric run blocking scheme where he can get out in space. Under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, his strengths should be best accentuated and he will have time to develop as a blocker on gap-oriented plays under the tutelage of line coach Mike Solari.

For now, Forysthe will be expected to compete for snaps at both tackle positions behind Brown and Shell. Depending on how he progresses in his rookie season, he could step into the starting lineup in 2022 as a potential long-term blindside protector for Russell Wilson, offering excellent value for this late in the draft.