Have Seahawks done enough to improve protection of Russell Wilson?

When discussing the Seattle Seahawks' moves along the offensive line, coach Pete Carroll made it clear that he has more confidence in the unit than many outsiders.

"I know we’ve gotten better," Carroll said last week.

The two players the Seahawks have added in free agency are Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi. Carroll hinted that the team could still make one more move in the weeks ahead.

Even with the players who are returning, there are some moving parts. Carroll said improving pass protection was the focus of the additions. Russell Wilson was sacked on 6.6 percent of his dropbacks last season, the fourth-highest rate among NFL quarterbacks. He was pressured on 35.6 percent of his dropbacks, which ranked worst in the NFL.

Much of the Seahawks' prospects for 2017 rest on keeping Wilson healthy and protecting him better.

Keeping that in mind, here's a position-by-position look at where things stand up front, along with comments from Carroll.

Left tackle

The plan is to start Joeckel at left tackle. That's where he played his first three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before moving to left guard.

"Luke is a guy who started at left tackle, was drafted at left tackle. I’m thinking of him as that, knowing he can play left guard," Carroll said. "He had a really good experience this year moving in, and he liked it and felt comfortable doing that. So my first thought is we head into it with he’s coming into it as a left tackle that can play left guard."

The Seahawks' other options at left tackle are George Fant and Rees Odhiambo. Fant, entering his third season, started 10 games at left tackle last season, but for the first time, Carroll indicated that having Fant sit could have a long-term benefit.

"If George had to sit for a while, what could be better for him than sitting behind a guy who was a [No. 2] pick in the draft and knows how to play the position?" Carroll said. "If that happens, it would only enhance his future, and we have high expectations for him down the road -- high expectations."

Left guard

Mark Glowinski started every game at left guard last season and is in position to remain there. But if the coaches end up liking Joeckel better at guard, he could slide over to the right side.

Odhiambo, a third-round pick last season, is more comfortable on the left side and will compete at guard as well.

"He’s going to get a great opportunity to be a starter," Carroll said about Odhiambo. "We drafted him to be a starting player, and we thought by the middle of the season through the second half of it, we could see that that potential was all there. The mentality was all there. It was just a matter of time."


This is the most stable position on the offensive line with Justin Britt coming off a tremendous season. The question here is whether Britt, who is entering the final year of his contract, will sign an extension this summer. It's a move that would seem to make sense for both sides if the financials align.

Joey Hunt is currently the backup center, but the Seahawks might prefer using his roster spot on someone who can play guard as well.

Right guard

Germain Ifedi, a 2016 first-round pick, started 13 games here as a rookie, but it sounds like he's going to get a closer look at right tackle. Glowinski could be an option to move over to right guard.

And Aboushi has a chance to win the job as well.

"He's really well equipped, smart, fits the style," Carroll said. "He's been in the same zone-running style. But particularly we rated him very highly in his pass protection, and we're really excited about that."

Right tackle

Garry Gilliam started 29 games at right tackle the past two seasons, and the team tendered him as a restricted free agent. But he'll have to hold off Ifedi for the starting job.

"We drafted [Ifedi] as a right tackle that could play right guard," Carroll said. "We’ve used that flexibility already. He’s excited about the chance to play outside if that’s what we want him to do. We’ll figure it all out when we start to put the pieces together."