Corbin Smith

Seahawks Draft Central- Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG UCLA

Created on Apr. 11, 2014 10:11 PM EST



STRENGTHS: Su'a-Filo is an athletic interior lineman who plays the game with great awareness and doesn't make many mental mistakes. He excels as a run blocker thanks to above-average athleticism that allows for him to get downfield and block linebackers in the open field. He has a versatile skill set that would allow him to thrive in a drive-blocking scheme as well as a zone scheme, so he should have no problem finding suitors in this draft. He's worked to improve his game as a pass protector and has the tools to become very solid in that area. He's also mature beyond his years, as he started as a freshman for the Bruins way back in 2009 and then spent two years away for a mission trip.

WEAKNESSES: Su'a-Filo has come a long way as a pass blocker, but it's still his biggest weakness entering the draft. It's clearly evident on film that he's more comfortable mauling an opposing defender on a run play than he is attempting to block on-coming pass rushers. In order to reach his ceiling, the team that drafts him will have to work hard on refining his fundamentals in pass pro. Footwork appears to be the biggest issue moving forward, and poor footwork will get exposed quickly at the professional level. He's been especially prone to struggle against athletic blitzing linebackers and defensive ends coming off the edge inside. That aspect will need to be shored up for him to be an effective starter in the National Football League.

WHERE HE FITS: The Seahawks have done a great job drafting since John Schneider and Pete Carroll came on board in 2010, but they have missed a few high picks. Barring a major turnaround, former Alabama standout James Carpenter will go down as the biggest bust drafted by Seattle during the Carroll regime. Drafted as a tackle and moved to guard, Carpenter has never played like a first round talent and injuries have only magnified his flaws. He's a strong run blocker, but he's vulnerable in pass protection and hasn't played well consistently enough to warrant keeping a starting spot on the offensive line. There's still a slim chance Carpenter ends up fixing things, but Seattle has to be looking for his replacement. Su'a-Filo is an experienced, mature talent who could start right away and would be easy for the coaching staff to develop. Plus, he's an intelligent player who won't commit a ton of penalties, which would be a welcome sight for Seattle fans. This guy could be a solid option at pick 32 if the Seahawks are looking to upgrade the interior line early.
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