Seattle decided to go offensive line-heavy in the final round of the 2013 NFL draft. With this selection, it appears that John Schneider and company are planning on converting a small-school defensive tackle to the offensive line.
Why not? If a specific player has the build and athleticism to play defensive line, there is no reason to believe he can't play on offense.
Jared Smith recorded four sacks for New Hampshire last season and led the team in tackles for loss. This seems to indicate that he has that athletic ability to project at either tackle or guard in the National Football League. This is also what the Seahawks saw on tape when they made him a seventh-round pick today (35th in the seventh round and 241st overall).
Paul Allen @PaulGAllen
Hawks pick at # 241 Jared Smith New Hampshire OL (converted DL). At # 242 take Michael Bowie OL NE Oklahoma @Seahawks4/27/2013, 11:06:23 PM
In what has been a continuing theme throughout the day, Seattle is looking to build as much competition as possible in training camp.
In an interview with Oliver Thomas of NE Patriots Draft, Smith had the following to say about his skill set:
I think my strong suit is my versatility on the defensive line as a defensive end, nose tackle and three-technique. I see myself playing anywhere on the defensive line for any team. I am willing to play any position and my versatility is what I believe will gives me an edge among others in my position for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Do you need me to continue with my versatility theme throughout all these articles today? While it would be foolish to anticipate that Smith will play both offense and defense in the NFL, there is no reason to believe he won't get a shot at a multitude of positions.
Remember back in 2011 when the San Francisco 49ers selected former Central Florida defensive end Bruce Miller to play fullback? That seems to have worked out pretty well for Seattle's division rival down south.
For what it is worth, Smith performed well at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis (via NE Patriots Draft).
He impressed as a member of The Nation team, notching two sacks. He also performed well at the combine, benching 28 reps of 225 pounds, running a 5.08 second 40-yard dash and even a posting 7.2 second three-cone drill.
Good teams have an opportunity to hit with picks like this late in the draft simply because they can afford to take the chances necessary to risk missing out completely on late-round picks.
There is no way to project whether Smith will make the roster, but his presence in training camp will light some fire under current depth players along Seattle's offensive line. That's for sure.