By Corbin Smith
Selecting Morgan Moses would help at the tackle positions, but the Seahawks biggest need along the offensive line may actually be at the left guard position. Former first round pick James Carpenter has failed to live up to expectations and lost snaps last year to now-departed Paul McQuistan as well as Bowie and Bailey. This will certainly be a make-it or break-it year for Carpenter, and the Seahawks would be wise to consider selecting his replacement early in this year's draft.
UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo would bring experience and maturity to a Seattle line that needs more of both. The Seahawks were the league's most penalized team a year ago, and a big culprit for that was lack of discipline up front. 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. In Seattle's run-first offense, he would have a chance to shine right away while opening up holes for Marshawn Lynch and Christine Michael. 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 Mormon Church mission.
As much as Su'a-Filo dominates in the run game, he will need to show major growth in pass protection to develop into a top-tier guard at the next level. On film, he doesn't look near as comfortable in passing situations as he does mauling opponents on run plays, and that will need to change for him to be successful in the NFL. He has the physical tools to succeed, but Seattle would need to focus on refining his fundamentals in pass protection to help him reach his ceiling. At times, he struggles with footwork and can get beat off the ball by athletic defensive ends and rushing linebackers. In a division full of outstanding pass rushers like Aldon Smith and Robert Quinn, shoring up that area of his game will be a must.
Seattle will need to decide what direction it wants to go regarding Carpenter sooner rather than later. The potential is still there for him to become a solid starter, but it could be time to move on. If the organization deems that the case, then Su'a-Filo looks to be the right candidate to draft as his replacement. His run blocking ability would mask his deficiencies as a pass protector as he continues to develop into a better all-around player and he'd be a great fit in the locker room.