Pete Carroll not impressed with quality of offensive linemen in this draft

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday March 14, 2017


There have been 100 free agent signings in less than a week of NFL free agency, with a premium on offensive lineman. For Pete Carroll, the reason is simple: There is a shortage of starter-quality linemen available.

The Seahawks signed Luke Joeckel coming off a knee injury. Elsewhere, Riley Reiff signed with the Vikings, Kevin Zeitler signed with the Browns, and Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang signed with the Lions. The Seahawks made a hard push for Lang, in part because Carroll says there aren’t quality linemen available in the draft, either.

“There aren’t many starting players that haven’t already (signed),” Carroll said on ESPN Radio Seattle. They swept through the first run of it. You saw Reiff and Wagner and Zeitler and Lang, that was it. Very few guys.

Very few guys in this draft, also, in that regard. This was an important time to nail a player if you could get one, and that’s what everybody’s trying. There’s not a lot of players in the offensive line area.”

NFL Network’s four mock drafts only includes three tackles and one guard getting picked in the first round, none in the top 10. Last year's draft had seven offensive linemen selected, including three in the top 13.

A year ago, Carroll criticized the development of offensive linemen in college, saying many spread offenses don’t teach the proper fundamentals. The Seahawks have moved several defensive lineman to offense.

“It is different. There is a problem,” Carroll said last April. “I looked at a couple guys, and I couldn’t find a running play where a guy came off the ball and had to knock a guy off the football. There wasn’t even a play in the game. It’s hard to evaluate what a guy’s gonna be like. We learn to, but it’s not the same as it’s been.”

However, the Seahawks ended up drafting three offensive linemen in the 2016 draft, including Germain Ifedi from Texas A&M in the first round. But Carroll doesn’t see many starter-quality players available this year.

Running behind that line, the Seahawks’ big signing on Tuesday was running back Eddie Lacy. A big back, some wondered if the plan is for Lacy to fill the Marshawn Lynch role as a power back.

Carroll confirmed as much, and said that when you have a guy like that, it’s a big deal.

“You go all the way back to the USC days, when we had Lendale White and Reggie (Bush) together,” Carroll said. “There was a real sense you could use different style players and build a mentality. Not everybody can be big and tough and strong. Some guys are a different style. But when you’ve got one, man, it’s really special.

“We went all those years with Marshawn, and everybody knew what we stood for and the style of play. I’m hoping to continue to add with Eddie and the way Thomas (Rawls) brings it. That’s a great 1-2 punch that sends a message about playing tough and physical. That’s who we are. That’s who we want to continue to be, so that’s why we made this move.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.