SEATTLE – If you’re struggling to come up with an intelligent evaluation of Germain Ifedi, you’re not alone.
Even by next-day-draft-grading standards, the evaluations of the Seattle Seahawks’ first-round pick are all over the map, with the national media handing Ifedi everything from a heady “A” grade to the dubious status of the worst pick of the first round.
(Before we get to the analysis check this out - Ifedi's celebration upon learning where he was headed will put a smile on your face.)
Let's start with the good. NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter graded the Seahawks an A for picking the giant offensive lineman from Mississippi - and for trading the 26th pick to the Broncos for the 31st pick and a third-rounder.
Trading down to grab an extra third-round pick in this very deep draft deserves a big grade. Then, the Seahawks got an equally big player in Ifedi, who can dominate at guard or tackle with some technique coaching.
Russell Wilson is a happy man. The Seahawks offensive line was a mess last year and just lost left tackle Russell Okung in free agency. Now Seattle has a blindside protector with the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl if offensive line coach Tom Cable can coach him up.
Judging based solely on his film, he's probably not a first-rounder. But Ifedi (6-foot-6, 324 pounds with 36-inch arms) has rare physical attributes and tested out well. The Seahawks believe in drafting prospects like Ifedi and letting offensive line coach Tom Cable work with them. Ifedi has experience playing right guard and right tackle. He could compete for a starting spot right away but is more of an upside pick with an eye toward the future.
He has experience at guard and tackle, but needs to be coached up. Fortunately, the Seahawks have arguably the best offensive line teacher in the NFL. Ifedi is the perfect piece of clay for Cable to shape. The value may not be there with Ifedi, but the potential is.
The Seahawks have had all sorts of issues with their offensive line over the last few seasons, so it's at least good that they're addressing it in the first round for the first time since they took Russell Okung in 2010. However, Ifedi is a bit of a tweener at this point: very strong in his run sets but a work in progress as a pass protector. Perhaps the idea is to move him inside or see how he'll work at right tackle, but this doesn't do much for the worst position group in the NFL.
Ifedi was sometimes accused of being a bad fit for the Aggies’ system, and was not necessarily aggressive enough despite his physical advantages, but the Seahawks are the type of team who will help him settle on what position he plays and get him the coaching he needs.
To say we differed from the Seahawks’ assessment of Ifedi, their selection at No. 31 overall, is an understatement. Ifedi had a sixth-round grade on our big board and was our 12th overall tackle in the class. He simply did not grade well at all, finishing with a negative pass-blocking grade a season ago. Sure, he is strong, and has a fantastic frame for the position, but his technique is nowhere near an NFL level yet. It will take him a few years to even get to an NFL starter’s level, and then at that point the Seahawks will have to break out the checkbook for his second contract.