The Seattle Seahawks didn’t have a very good offensive line in the first place. In fact, it was arguably a liability before they traded their best lineman, center Max Unger, last offseason. Then, after the line struggled in 2015, they let their most accomplished lineman, Russell Okung, walk in free agency, along with starting right guard J.R. Sweezy and versatile backup Alvin Bailey.
Meanwhile, the only offensive lineman they’ve drafted prior to the fourth round since 2012 is 2014 second-round pick Justin Britt, who might have been the worst regular right tackle in football last season. On the open market, they’ve only added Bradley Sowell (who hasn’t started a game since 2013 and was horrendous that year in Arizona) and J’Marcus Webb (who is on his fourth team in five years after struggling last season with the Raiders).
Sowell, Webb, Britt, undrafted journeyman Patrick Lewis, 2015 fourth-rounders Mark Glowinski and Terry Poole, Garry Gilliam (who went undrafted in 2014 and struggled in 2015). That’s what the Seahawks are working with in front of Russell Wilson right now.
It’d be shocking if they didn’t use an early draft pick on an NFL-ready lineman, but even that might not be enough. In 2015, only two quarterbacks were sacked more than Russell Wilson, who has already been sacked 164 times in four NFL seasons (only six quarterbacks have been taken down that much after four years). I know he’s Houdini in the face of pressure, but at some point you’re running against the odds by putting your franchise quarterback in that much peril.
Head coach Pete Carroll insists his team remains “in good shape” along the offensive line, but I think they’re pushing it. They have to do a better job protecting Wilson, or they’re going to regret the way they’ve dealt with the line in recent offseasons. Because if this trend continues, they’re eventually going to lose Wilson.