With the 6th pick of the NFL draft.....
Bryan Bulaga OT Iowa.
730 pm MST
Bulaga's outstanding blocking in the Hawkeyes' 2010 Orange Bowl win, which helped keep Georgia Tech all-star defensive end Derrick Morgan idle, made it seem inevitable he would leave early for the NFL. His athleticism and strength are exactly what teams want on the quarterback's blind side.
He earned 2009 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in his second season starting at left tackle, following up a second-team all-conference effort at the position in 2008. The Parade high school All-American made an almost immediate impact, becoming the team's starter at left guard half-way through his true freshman year.
Bulaga's run blocking is exceptional, especially for a zone system similar to that he ran at Iowa, but he may struggle with speed rushers and lacks great recovery speed. His three-game absence during the season due to a thyroid problem will also worry scouts. Apparently it was a short-term issue, but his medical checks will be thorough. If the risk of a relapse is considered small, he'll hear his name called sometime in the middle-to-late first round.
Pass blocking: Takes a strong angle on kick slide, keeps knees bent, head up, and arm extended to keep defenders at bay. Very difficult to get off his blocks if he's mirroring. Has a strong punch. Tends to lunge against inside moves, lacks great recovery speed and can be beaten by secondary rush. Slow to recoil once extended. Hesitates when defenders let up. Gets bull rushed into the pocket by strong ends because he allows their hands into his chest, but typically anchors before reaching the quarterback. Must improve his arm-bar to keep rusher out of the pocket. Inconsistent quickness after the first step in his kick slide makes him susceptible to giving up the edge to quicker pass rushers.
Run blocking: Good positional blocker, well-coached on how to get correct angles. Capable in zone scheme, has a strong combination of agility and strength. Turns his man out of the hole and seals the edge. Attacks defenders in short yardage situations, strong enough to lock on and sustain, even against large ends. Gets low to drive near the goal line.
Pulling/trapping: Isn't asked to pull or trap a lot in Iowa's zone system, but has the quick feet needed to work behind the line and burst through the hole. Usually hits a target on the move and sustains.
Initial Quickness: Brings a very strong punch and pop to his opponent when run blocking, especially for a left tackle. Adequate quickness to pass set from two-point stance.
Downfield: Excellent mobility to get to the second level and beyond. Keeps feet moving and hands strong after initial contact, sustains well against linebackers and safeties. Mirrors quicker players in space. Adjusts to players coming from any angle. Gives effort downfield to block on runs and pass plays.
Intangibles: Considered a very competitive, smart and hard-working leader up front.
Wanted to trade out, wasn't going to happen. Bit the bullet. Seattle needs OL help in the worst way.