Just for kicks, I decided to take a look at the various units on the Seahawks team and attempt to project how good, or bad, they may be in the upcoming season. I ranked the units based on their top-end potential as well as their low-end potential, and also how much confidence there was in predicting their performance. Here are the units that I ranked (in no particular order):
#10 – The Offensive Line
Potential Stars in 2010: Max Unger (if you squint really hard)
Unger is a very unlikely star, and my first instinct was to list “none.” However, there is at least some potential that Unger could rise. He was a high pick with zone blocking experience who may blossom in his 2nd year under the tutelage of Alex Gibbs. I wouldn’t bet on it though. Okung doesn’t show up here because there is no chance for a rookie left tackle to become a star in his rookie season unless his name is Walter Jones.
Potential Disasters: Russell Okung, Chris Spencer, Ben Hamilton, Chester Pitts
Including Okung may be controversial, but there are significantly greater numbers of rookie disasters at the tackle position than stable starters (especially when they holdout for no good reason!!). I’m giving Okung a very long leash, though, and am really just hoping for signs that he will be the long-term answer. Spencer has been a disaster in almost every year he’s played. Hamilton and Pitts are unlikely to be a disaster with their veteran savvy and knowledge of the scheme, but they are older and Pitts is banged up so it’s possible they could be major liabilities.
Easiest Players To Project: Max Unger, Sean Locklear
The ceiling and the floor are pretty close together for these two. Obviously, as noted above, Unger has more potential at this point since we’ve seen Locklear for years, but Locklear’s floor is also easier to predict for the same reason. Unger played a full season last year, so if he was going to be a disaster, we would have likely seen more signs of it already.
It’s never a great sign when your offensive line ranks as your least talented unit, but that’s precisely where the Seahawks find themselves. There is not a lot of potential for strong play based on the individuals, so the hope must come from the possibility that Alex Gibbs can make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The system must make this unit viable. The good news is that is reason to think this unit is on the upswing with the drafting of Unger and Okung in the last two drafts and Gibbs on board to guide it’s development. Finding our center, who will lead the line, is our next top priority.