Start at the 3:24 mark of this interview I did with CBSSports.com and NFLDraftScout draft guru Rob Rang of Tacoma to hear what offensive linemen the Seahawks may be interested in selecting beginning May 1.
Remember, for now Seattle does not have a selection on April 30, the draft's featured first day which has only the first round. The Seahawks sent their 31st-overall pick to New Orleans last month for tight end Jimmy Graham.
They also sent two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger to the Saints to get Graham and an extra pick in the fourth round on May 2. That is why the Seahawks need a new starting center and new left guard to replace departed free agent James Carpenter, who signed last month with the New York Jets.
When I asked Rang at the scouting combine back in mid-February for some offensive linemen in this draft that Seattle might like, the team still had Unger and its first-round pick. But his comments still apply in terms of the type of player Seattle is likely to see at two of its neediest positions entering the 2015 season.
Rang focused on how much Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and offensive-line coach Tom Cable like versatility and physicality in their blockers.
He and NFLDraftScout.com see Oregon center Hroniss Grasu as potentially being available at the bottom of the second round, when Seattle has its first selection. They note Grasu's athleticism and him being a "plug-and-play option in a zone-blocking scheme."
Problem for Seattle is, even though centers don't often go in the first round Grasu is rated as one of the top ones in this draft. Plus, when I asked Carroll last week if a rookie center could start this fall directing the Seahawks' offense the coach said ""It's a lot to ask a guy... It's a lot to ask a young guy, yes."
That's why the Seahawks are still trying to sign one of the free-agent centers they've hosted recently, Stefen Wisniewski from Oakland and Chris Myers from Houston among them.
As for guard, Rang noted when they took Carpenter in the first round with the 25th overall pick in 2011 he had started 27 games at Alabama not at guard but at left tackle.
That's the position where Donovan Smith made 31 starts at Penn State entering this draft.
NFLDraftScout.com's synopsis of the 6-foot-6, 341-pound Smith, who is leaving college with a criminology degree and a year of athletic eligibility remaining: "Looks the part of a big-time NFL tackle. He has broad shoulders, long arms and evenly distributed weight to be a mainstay outside. He's also light on his feet and effective in pass protection and run blocking. ...Brings a lot to the table with size, foot quickness and highly competitive nature...Needs to improve in several areas--arm and hand technique to better shield himself to combat initial pass rush moves is the most glaring..."
Here's another trait that shows Smith's versatility: He noted when I talked to him at the combine in Indianapolis that he played for three different offensive schemes during four tumultuous years of regime turnover at Penn State.
NFLDraftScout.com has Smith rated as the No. 11 left tackle coming out. That means he could also be available at selection No. 63, the place Seattle currently has its initial pick in this draft, in the second round on May 1.
Here's one more reason Smith may be piquing the Seahawks' interest; he's got an advocate already on the team. Smith was not only a teammate but a roommate for three years at Penn State with Garry Gilliam, Seattle's surprise as an undrafted rookie tackle last season. The former Penn State tight end caught a touchdown pass on a fake field goal in January's NFC championship.
Smith visited with Gilliam in February during Smith's training in San Diego in preparation for the combine. Gilliam's advice to Smith on entering the NFL?
"It's a lot. It's not easy," Smith said Gilliam told him. "Everything's going to be thrown at you. You need to be able to adapt, pick things up quickly, and go out there and perform. A lot has to do with confidence. You have to be confident in yourself and compete."
Rang mentioned another versatile tackle by name the Seahawks may be interested in: Colorado State's Ty Sambrailo. NFLDraftScout.com rates the 6-6, 309-pound starter for three years at both left tackle and guard at CSU as the seventh-best tackle in this draft. Among other things, Sambrailo was a youth freestyle skiing champion. So, yeah, he has deeper athletic roots than the average offensive 309-pound offensive lineman.
Plus, Rang noted, Sambrailo "has a little of that brawler mentality that Tom Cable is obviously a fan of."