Seahawks GM: You don't see as much individual work at colleges anymore

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday April 25, 2017


Few NFL coaches have criticized college player development more than Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable, especially at that position, but it’s a frustration throughout the organization.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider held his pre-draft press conference this week and was asked about college offenses and fundamentals and how that affects evaluation. The Seahawks have drafted defensive linemen in recent years for the purpose of converting them, because the projecting of a player is getting more difficult.

Things are just not quite as clear as they used to be, and that’s my personal belief,” Schneider said. “There’s not a forest of offensive lineman trees you can run out in the backyard and go.”

But he understands why. Bruce Arians recently said he’d run an up-tempo spread offense if he was college coach, because of less time with players and the athletic style. You have to win as a college coach, not develop NFL guys. Schneider gets it.

“Just based on what’s happened to college coaches,” Schneider said. “They only have so much time with the players, and it’s getting shorter for them. They have to be able to go out and score 50-60 points, and that’s what you see when you go to these schools. That’s what all of our scouts see. You don’t see quite as much individual time anymore. It’s more getting out there as a group.

“It’s not anybody’s fault. There are 4- and 5-star guys coming out of college that would rather be sacking quarterbacks than protecting them. That’s just the way it looks right now. The hope is the trend turns a little bit, and we see more of the old-school football, if you will.”

For the handful of top-level schools that still run a pro-style offense, where run-blocking is a necessity, that evaluation of offensive linemen is easier.

“You’re able to just project a player easier because you’re looking at exactly how they’re going to be playing in professional football,” Schneider said. “You watch Wisconsin guys, Michigan State, Michigan, it’s easier to evaluate those guys, and it’s less projection.”

Could it change down the road? The most important traits in other positions have changed throughout time.

“There’s always those ebbs and flows and different positions. It’s one of those spots where hopefully it does change,” Schneider said. “I can’t tell you if and when. When you watch college football, it looks more like basketball on grass.”

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.