When the Seahawks traded former third-round pick John Moffitt to the Cleveland Browns for defensive end Brian Sanford on Monday, the transaction spoke volumes about the team's confidence in their offensive line.
The trade basically settled matters along the offensive line, where J.R. Sweezy now has a lock on the position of starting right guard. Moffitt was expected to compete as a starter for that position, despite playing most of his two-year career at left guard, filling in for James Carpenter. However, coaches have been impressed by Sweezy’s development in his second year, making Moffitt expendable. Paul McQuistan and Carpenter have been listed as No. 1 and 2 left guards this preseason. The vote of confidence in Sweezy is also good news to rookie O-linemen Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey, who move up the depth chart, along with second year guard Rishaw Johnson.
Just as the trade showed confidence in the team’s depth along the offensive line, it also revealed their concerns at defensive end. Although Sanford has played in just six games in his first three seasons, he’s off to a good start in the preseason, recording a sack and three tackles in two games. While Seattle’s depth chart for Friday’s game against the Packers listed Sanford as a left defensive tackle, he was listed as a defensive end for the Browns. His versatility among the two positions is important for the Seahawks, as they wait for Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons to return from injury, and will need a situational replacement for Bruce Irvin, who opens the season serving a four-game suspension for PED’s.