One of Tom Cable’s early messages to his three new offensive line draft picks instilled an awareness of the realities facing raw NFL linemen.
Basically, you’re going to take a beating.
“Accept your failures early because there’s going to be a bunch of them,” the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line coach said. “... That’s how you grow and learn.”
The growing and learning has been constant for Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski and Kristjan Sokoli during the first two days of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp.
The progress of a pair of fourth-round picks and a sixth-rounder seems an arcane focus at this point, but given losses to the offensive front their ability to get up to speed before September could be a factor in how well the offense performs.
The first assessment is purely physical — how they look. All three are at least 6-foot-4, 300 pounds but leaner and more nimble than some of the recent line additions.
Given Cable’s penchant for moving players position to position, we shouldn’t make judgments on where these guys will end up. But the interesting thing during most of the practice Saturday was their use together in team sessions — Sokoli at center, Poole at left guard, Glowinski at right guard.
“He threw us in there by each other and we’re jelling together,” Poole said. “And it feels like we’ve been playing together for a while, to be honest with you.”
Poole occasionally plays a little high for a guard, which should be expected for somebody moving inside from tackle. And Sokoli had troubles with his snaps Saturday, not unexpected for a recently converted defensive tackle.
Glowinski looked smoothest, particularly when called upon to get out and run on screen passes.
Sokoli could be the most intriguing of the trio, given some rare physical traits. For a man 6-5, 302 pounds, with cantaloupe calves, Sokoli runs a 4.84 40 and registered a 38-inch vertical leap.
For context, former All-Pro center Max Unger had combine numbers of 5.35 in the 40 and 24.5 inches in the vertical.
The Seahawks are going to need help on the offensive line this year and in the near future. To succeed in the NFL, offensive linemen need solid technique, physical resilience, and a tough attitude.
Cable can teach the technique. The ability to withstand the physical demands is proven only after weeks and weeks of contact. But attitude is something you show up with.
If you don’t have it, you won’t last.
Can you make any assessments about those qualities in a noncontact minicamp? Sure. At least a few times, each of the three took an extra shot or two at defensive linemen, clearly trying to finish their blocks with force.
How much these guys contend for playing time this season will be determined come training camp and in the preseason, when they start seeing live action.
It also depends on some of the other holdovers and backups. Will tackle Garry Gilliam come back with a few more pounds? Will swing guard-tackle Alvin Bailey come back with a few less pounds? Both will enter camp with more experience.
Right now, the rookies are raw, raw, raw.
“It’s a learning experience, adjusting and learning, learning technique, learning new ways to step,” Glowinski said. “It’s coming along day by day. I knew it was going to be a challenge and that’s what it is.”