Sports

When in need, Seahawks land three offensive line prospects

For a while, the video feed from the Seahawks’ draft room showed a candle burning behind GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.

It was likely there to provide a pleasant scent because, well, a draft room can get a little close through three days of sweating out picks.

I like to think it was one of those prayer candles, lit by line coach Tom Cable, beseeching the front office honchos for picks to be allotted to the offensive line.

More likely, it was lit by quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been under pressure more than any passer the past few seasons.

It took awhile, and 25 line prospects were off the board before they got around to it, but the Hawks finally collected a couple blockers in the fourth round Saturday, at picks 130 (Terry Poole, San Diego State) and 134 (Mark Glowinski, West Virginia). Cable collected another prospect in the seventh round, with converted defensive tackle Kristjan Sokoli of Buffalo.

At the very least, it creates a deeper pool of manpower for now and in the future.

It’s about time. In the last three drafts, Seattle took five offensive linemen, but only one, Justin Britt (second round last year), above the sixth round.

The trade of center Max Unger and the free-agency departure of left guard James Carpenter left the Seahawks even more vulnerable at what had been one of their most suspect units.

The tentative depth chart at this point would have the Hawks starting two undrafted players and a seventh-rounder on the interior of their offensive line. And starting left tackle, Russell Okung, is in the final year of his contract.

That’s a lot of question marks up there. Light the candle for Wilson, boys.

The Hawks wrapped up the draft on Saturday with a cornerback (Tye Smith, Towson), another pass rusher (Obum Gwacham, Oregon State), Sokoli, and safety Ryan Murphy (Oregon State).

It brought an end to one of the franchise’s most controversial drafts, as they expended a second-round pick on Michigan’s Frank Clark, whose off-field legal issues caused some teams to consider him undraftable.

Without debate, though, was the need to draft offensive linemen at some point. And these three seem to fit the requirements for Cable: Versatile enough to play multiple positions, and tough, tough, tough.

“We have a little mix and matching to do; this is going to give us even more flexibility,” Cable said. “I think they’re … really tough kids.”

A left tackle in college, Poole stands a chance of coming in and challenging Alvin Bailey at left guard. In his interview with the media Saturday, Poole several times mentioned his enjoyment of continuing to block defenders even after he’s knocked them to the ground.

As former Seahawk tackle Breno Giacomini proved, it’s a technique that sometimes draws yellow flags, but exemplifies a Cable-approved toughness.

“I think about any film you turn on, he’s ripping somebody pretty good,” Cable said of Poole.

In years past, some of Cable’s linemen were labeled “nasty,” but he prefers the term “gritty.”

“I don’t think we would take an offensive lineman that didn’t have that trait,” Cable said. “These guys have an orneriness and a grittiness to them.”

The three new linemen also are at least 6-41/2 and north of 300 pounds. Their first demand is learning how to zone block in front of punishing back Marshawn Lynch.

“We look to beat up on you and see if you’ll give in at some point,” Cable said of the scheme.

Those two fourth-round linemen, particularly, will get a chance to do that.

At one point, Cable called Poole and Glowinski “finishers.”

But if they’re good enough, they’ll be starters.

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