Seahawks will be watching offensive tackles at combine

Anyone who knows the Seahawks wear blue uniforms can tell you the team needs to improve its offensive line.

Specifically, the Seahawks need to improve at offensive tackle.

That’s where they started an undrafted rookie college basketball player on the left side (George Fant) and a former undrafted college tight end on the right (Garry Gilliam) this past season. While coach Pete Carroll said he values continuity and sees promise in Fant and Gilliam, standing pat and not importing challengers at tackle wouldn’t do much for getting Seattle past its divisional-round wall of road losses the past two postseasons.

It wouldn’t make quarterback Russell Wilson sleep anymore soundly, either.

Thing is, there is a big “but” at this week’s annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

“This is a really bad offensive-tackle class,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.

And not just in the draft.

The free-agent market for left tackles is weak. So weak, there is a likelihood Seattle takes a long look at bringing back Russell Okung. The veteran left tackle became a free agent Friday. Denver decided not to exercise the option on what ultimately was a one-year contract Okung self-negotiated last March.

Two days after this past season ended with January’s playoff loss at Atlanta, Carroll outlined what the Seahawks will be looking at during the combine, which runs Wednesday through Sunday. That was after three-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas broke his tibia, then starting cornerback DeShawn Shead tore his left ACL in the playoff loss to the Falcons.

“We’ve got to get Earl back, get the corner thing squared away. “We will certainly be looking at that in the draft. That will be one of the areas,” Carroll said.

“We need some youth at the linebacker spot now. Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright) played thousands of plays this year between the two of them and were extremely successful (both made the Pro Bowl). But we need to address that. We didn’t get anybody that really made a difference in the last couple of years to really fight to take those guys’ jobs. “That’s what we need to draft towards. So we will be looking there.”

Then Carroll finished with the obvious.

“The offensive line will continue to be an area of focus,” the coach said. “It will be.”

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