Analysis: Job one for the Seahawks as they move on from Tom Cable? Draft better on the offensive line

An inability to draft productive offensive linemen may have been Tom Cable’s ultimate undoing with the Seahawks.

Of all the factors that contributed to the firing of Tom Cable as Seattle’s offensive line coach this week, the biggest may have been an inability of the team to properly identify and develop draft picks.

Any NFL draft is a hugely collaborative effort — the Seahawks list 10 full-time personnel directly responsible for college scouting, not including general manager John Schneider. But while teams will rarely if ever draft a player a position coach doesn’t want, Cable was thought to have more sway than most position coaches in telling the team who he did want.

Cable, in fact, was the only position coach the team would make available for interviews during the draft, seemingly symbolic of his influence in the team’s offensive line picks.

And while the draft’s importance is obvious, it became even more so for the Seahawks’ offensive line during the years following the Super Bowl win over Denver when largely for salary cap reasons, every starter from the 2013 season was gone by the time the 2016 season began.

Shakeup in Seattle

Allowed to go via free agency were tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini and guards James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy, while the team traded center Max Unger to the Saints in 2015 for tight end Jimmy Graham (all five started at least 14 games for another NFL team this season).

Schneider and Carroll often explained that each departure was its own decision with the team simply having to prioritize how it spent its money and needing to re-up core players such as quarterback Russell Wilson and much of the defense (the trade of Unger for Graham, meanwhile, was regarded by the team as a rare chance to get a potential game-changing player at the expense of a center who had played just six games in 2014 and whose future the team considered uncertain due to his injury issues. Alas, after missing 13 games his last two years with the Seahawks, Unger has missed just one in three years with the Saints).

Implicit in the Seahawks’ salary-cap management strategy, though, was a belief that the team could rebuild the offensive line through the draft.

It’s worth remembering that the 2013 offensive line — while the highest-paid in the NFL — was largely homegrown.

Unger was a second-round pick in 2009, Okung a first-rounder in 2010, Carpenter a first-rounder in 2011 and…

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