Seahawks Building on Strength: Justin Britt and Garrett Scott
The Seahawks won a Super Bowl last season by fielding an elite defense and plowing through defenses with a devastating ground attack. The Seahawks drafted with this philosophy in mind, selecting six players with their nine picks who play at or around the line of scrimmage. I want to take a look at their two picks on the offensive line: Justin Britt and Garrett Scott.
ROUND 2, PICK 64
JUSTIN BRITT, OT, MISSOURI
Justin Britt is a comically large human being; at a hulking 6’6″ and 325 lbs, he is almost always the largest person on the field. I’m going to skip the easy games and take a look at how he matched up against #1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, which you can see in entirety here at Draft Breakdown. (Big thanks to Draft Breakdown for their work with video cutups during this entire process. Without them, none of this could be possible, and I won’t have won the first Super Bowl for the Detroit Lions as general manager in 2028. Don’t worry, fans, it’ll be worth the wait.) Britt is of course playing left tackle.
One thing you’ll notice if you watch the entire game is that Justin Britt does not even attempt to engage Clowney on many plays. Believe it or not, this is a common theme to how offenses altered their game plan around him. (But that’s another issue entirely.) I intend to keep this brief, so we’re only going to look at a handful of plays. The first such play occurs late in the first quarter; this is the first time Britt is asked to block Clowney on a pass that is not an immediate throw. From what I can tell from the broadcast camera, Clowney fakes a move inside and goes for an outside rush. Britt stays low with a nice base, calmly slides outside, and with a little help from the running back is able to neutralize the pass rush.
The first ‘issue’ arises two plays later. This time Clowney goes straight for the outside rush and uses a quick arm over move across Britt’s chest to explode past Britt, and if not for the running back’s double team, Clowney could’ve ended Maty Mauk. Britt can be shaky in pass protection at times, and this play is an example of what I mean. It isn’t only against the Clowneys of the world; Britt needs to improve on this in general. It shouldn’t keep him off the field, though, and Russell Wilson has a Ph.D in improvisation.
Let’s be real now: Britt was not selected for how he will come in and immediately improve Seattle’s pass protection. If that happens, well, brilliant. Seattle wants to open lanes for Marshawn Lynch in the ground game as long as his tires still have tread. On this play I’ll give you a glimpse of Justin Britt’s ability as a run blocker. He doesn’t block any of the defensive linemen by design; instead he charges to the second level looking for defenders to toss aside. The runner does an incredible job to elude some players in the backfield and Britt clears away TWO players in one block at the second level. And this, I believe, is what Seattle is looking for from him.
You might be thinking, “Oh, so from what we’ve seen so far, he can’t block defensive linemen?” Au contraire, my friend. If you kept playing the tape, on the very next play Justin Britt drive blocks the #1 overall pick completely out of the play, just bulldozing him a good 7 yards upfield and allowing plenty of room to run for a first down. Marshawn Lynch can cut these plays inside and take them to the house.
I’m stopping here because it is not my intention to break down every snap. I merely want to give you a picture of why Seattle made this selection. If you want to see more, watch the entire game, and if you still need more after that, then go right here.
ROUND 6, PICK 199
GARRETT SCOTT, OT, MARSHALL
Garrett Scott’s game against Maryland was the first I saw of him, and I thought he could be a 3rd or 4th round pick based on athleticism alone. He ‘flashes’ hard at tackle, and I’ll show you what I mean by that. I’ve selected a few plays to watch; you can watch the entire game if you want to see more.
- I like how he doesn’t get concerned about the outside rusher stunting in and engages the defensive tackle,
- This is where he showed off elite quickness with his feet, which speaks for itself, and
- Here he sprints off to the left and just drives his man backwards.
I focused on early plays because he gets injured not long into the game. He stays in, but plays noticeably worse than before.
Here are the concerns I have with Scott, and trust me, I could list a lot of these:
- His quickness only flashes itself; it doesn’t doesn’t always show up. If you pay close attention to this play (Scott is at right tackle), Scott has only taken one step outside by the time James Gayle is on his third step (!!!) rushing the passer; Scott rallies a bit and doesn’t entirely blow the play, but this is something you’ll see in his tape from time to time.
- We see what is his biggest problem, in my view, here, and that’s how often he gets blown back by even meager bull rushes. (He’s back at left tackle; I apologize for the confusion. Wait a minute, it’s not my fault, it’s Marshall’s.)
I took a capture at :51 in the link above to illustrate the problem. His arms are not doing anything. He’s not ready to take on a player who is milliseconds away from thrusting his arms into his chest. Imagine yourself in this situation; try it at home if you can find someone willing to bull-rush you. A person is trying to run you over: What do you do? Physics and millennia of human evolution suggest you get lower, put up your hands, prepare to absorb the force, and push it into the ground. It’s pretty basic. If, instead, you stand straight up with your arms down, all the force will be transferred to your chest and it’ll knock you to the ground. That is (almost) exactly what happens here. Immediately after the engagement Scott correctly squats down to absorb the blow and extends his arms… except that it’s too late for him to get his arms up, and he’s thrown off balance. At this point the defensive player rips him away and has a free path to the passer. With Scott, this is not an isolated incident; this happens again and again and again in this game against Rice.
I would not expect Scott to start immediately. As you can see, he’s a bit rough around the edges. The Seahawks drafted him to develop him, as they’ve done before with these late offensive line picks. I wouldn’t discount it from happening again. There’s a lot to like in Garrett Scott and he was just a 6th round pick; getting anything at all from him would be a smashing success.
As for the rest of the Seahawks draft, I love the Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood picks as well. Wilson does need someone to throw to while Percy Harvin is standing on the sideline, and those two players were both excellent college receivers. I suggest checking them out yourself; you’re going to like what you see. (I guarantee it.)