Okung, Thomas provide instant impact in Seattle

Posted April 22, 2010 @ 9:35 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

In one fell swoop in the first round, the Seahawks appear to have to have helped themselves significantly on both sides of the ball.

Starting on offense with the sixth overall pick, they filled a major need with the selection of Oklahoma State's Russell Okung, PFW's top-rated offensive tackle.

With nine-time Pro Bowler Walter Jones expected to retire any day now, Okung looks like an excellent fit as the team's new starting left tackle.

Okung should provide badly needed stability after the team burned through four left tackles last year in an attempt to replace Jones, who has missed the last 20 games with knee issues.

Okung has played left tackle for Oklahoma State the past three years and, by all accounts, has great character and intelligence and an absolutely outstanding work ethic. After setting the standard at the Combine among tackles with 38 reps in the 225-pound bench-press, there is no denying his strength.

There are some experts who believe he could have problems with quicker rushers, which was never a problem for Jones, who had the footwork of a ballerina when he was healthy.

But the Walter Jones era in Seattle really ended last year, and it's time to move on with a pick that most certainly should delight veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, who took quite a pounding last season.

Eight picks later, the Seahawks instantly fortified their defense with the selection of Texas FS Earl Thomas, a no-brainer, one would think, as the starting free safety in Week One.

Entering the draft, the Seahawks had only two safeties on the entire roster, Jordan Babineaux and Jamar Adams, who was signed from the team's practice squad early last November.

If there's a concern about Thomas it could be his maturity — he won't turn 21 until May 27 — and his intelligence (Wonderlic score of 13 at the Combine).

But his excellent speed and ball skills will come in handy right away on a team in dire need of defensive playmakers.

So far so good for the Seahawks.


For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.