It may be a weird thing to say that a Super bowl champion team badly needs help with anything, but facts are facts and the fact is that the Seattle Seahawks offensive line sucks. There. I said it.
Throughout the 2013 season a lot of excuses were made for this group. Yes, there were a number of injuries. Breno Giacomini missed seven games, Russell Okung missed eight, Max Unger missed three and wasn’t 100 percent until late in the season. Yes, guys were playing out of position. Yes, we somehow won the Super bowl so what are we really complaining about. But that’s just it.
With a poor offensive line the Seahawks went 13-3 in the toughest division in the NFL and won the Super bowl. Think what they could do with an average offensive line? Or heck, even a good one?
We couldn’t protect our quarterback, the run blocking was average at best, and we accumulated way too many holding and false start penalties that stalled drives.
The numbers don’t lie. Pro Football Focus ranked Seattle’s offensive line 26th in the league in 2013, including 25th in pass protection, 17th in run blocking, and 30th in penalties. Football Outsiders was kinder when it came to the run, but rated the Seahawks dead last in pass blocking.
J.R. Sweezy was as porous as a cheesecloth at times, Giacomini was a penalty machine, and don’t even get me started on Paul McQuistan. Michael Bowie may have been the only real bright spot and he should expect to start in 2014. If Unger is healthy he’s a Pro Bowl caliber center but he’s going to need help.
The future of the Seahawks long-term success depends on it. If Seattle is serious about protecting its superstar quarterback the pass protection has to get exponentially better, because right now Russell Wilson is at risk of injury almost every snap. Fortunately, Wilson is extremely quick and evasive. A slow-moving pocket passer would not survive a month with this line in front of him. During the regular season Wilson was sacked 33 times on just 393 pass attempts. Going into the Super bowl, the Seahawks gave up more sacks than any other team in the playoffs.
This has to change, so the Seahawks have to make improving the offensive line their number one priority this offseason. There are several talented tackles out there like Jake Matthews but he’s likely to be long gone before Seattle’s first pick. The litter of 2014 guards is not exactly mind-blowing, either.
To shore up the O line the Seahawks will likely have to sign a free agent. With that in mind, here are the top ten free agent offensive linemen in the NFL.