Scott Eklund, Recruiting Editor, Dawgman.com
OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State -- I have to believe the Seahawks will take either the best tackle prospect available or Eric Berry in this spot and if Okung is still on the board, they will get their card up to the podium very quickly. Okung has great feet and more upside than both Bryan Bulaga or Trent Williams. He has a ways to go as a run-blocker, but he’s shown he has the willingness to learn and with his physical tools – size, speed, and athleticism – there’s no reason to think he can’t take over for Walter Jones at left tackle and stay there for the next decade.
Brian McIntyre, Editor-in-Chief, NorthwestFootball.net
OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma -- Addressing the left tackle position has arguably been the Seahawks’ biggest draft need for the last four NFL Drafts. Walter Jones was already 32 years old when the Seahawks lost in Super Bowl XL, and the belief that left tackles can play at an elite level into their mid-to-late thirties is a myth. Seahawks general manager John Schneider does what his predecessor could not bring himself to do, and selects Williams to be the team’s left tackle for the next decade. (Just don’t expect Williams to be the next Walter Jones, okay? Players as talented and consistent as Jones are rare.)
Doug Farrar, Publisher, NorthwestFootball.net
OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma -- For the second straight season, the Seahawks will be dependent on the whims of the Kansas City Chiefs with their first overall pick. Last season, KC’s switch to a 3-4 defense took them out of the Aaron Curry Sweepstakes, and the Seahawks benefited (really – they did. You’ll see this season). In 2010, if the first four picks go in the Bradford/Suh/McCoy/Okung order that most expect, the Chiefs will have Eric Berry and Trent Williams as the best on their board. I’ll assume the Berry selection, given their greater need at that position, leaving Williams for the Seahawks at the sixth pick.
What Williams is now is a fundamental project. He played right tackle for the best offensive line in recent college football history in 2008, saw his four fellow linemen leave the program before the 2009 season, and took the brunt of analytical abuse as he transitioned to the left side. His inability to block an overload blitz was blamed for Sam Bradford’s shoulder injury in the 2009 season opener against BYU, but nobody on the left side picked that thing up. For some evaluators, one blown play can resonate beyond its logical value as an indicator of future success. What you have to do is watch Williams later in the year, as he started to get the hang of the position.
Comparing him to Okung seems reasonable. Right now, Okung is the more polished pass-blocker, which makes sense – he’s spent far more time on the blind side. Williams doesn’t yet have that nice kick slide, nor does he fan out with ideal technique to wall off an edge rusher – instead, he’s developed an effective inside shuffle to keep his man at bay. Williams seems slightly quicker off the snap and in short spaces, and he’s much more powerful when drive-blocking. He has very strong, albeit raw, skills for a zone-blocking guy – he already has the knack of those little tackle pulls Alex Gibbs likes, and his footwork shows a lot of potential.
One of the primary assets Alex Gibbs beings to a team is the ability to draft or sign the player with the higher athletic upside with the confidence that the player will be sufficiently “coached up” to his potential. Williams is a perfect example of this. While I believe that Okung is the better left tackle now, I also believe that Williams has the ability to be the better player over time. Stuck as Williams will be with one of the greatest position coaches in NFL history, I have little doubt that the Seahawks will reap the benefits.