The Seahawks' biggest need this offseason was to find help at offensive tackle. They addressed it early and late in the draft, but the news Friday that sixth-round pick Garrett Scott has a rare heart condition and will not be able to play nullified one of their picks.
They might have found another diamond in the rough, though, just as they did with Alvin Bailey last year.
Britt, Seattle's surprise second-round pick out of Missouri, will battle Michael Bowie for the starting gig at right tackle, and Gilliam, an undrafted free agent who converted from tight end at Penn State, will push for a roster spot. He worked at left tackle in the minicamp.
Carroll said Britt "picked everything up. He's very well prepared technique-wise. He has real good footwork, his base is real good, his balance is real good for a big man. He moved well off of the line of scrimmage.
"He won’t have any trouble learning," the coach said. "It's going to take some time, of course, but he won’t have any trouble picking stuff up. He’s a real serious, mature kid and I think he would jump right into the competition exactly like we had planned. I think he would be right there with Michael Bowie and they will be battling it out.”
Britt said he just has to adjust to playing on the other side again.
“Well, the footwork is going to change a little bit," he said. "It’s a little different having your left foot up than your right foot. After I get going and start doing it more, it should be a smooth transition because I have a history with it and football is easy. I just have to put in the work, study and learn it.”
Britt is used to playing up-tempo, having played in a no-huddle offense at Missouri.
"I didn’t huddle back in college so I’m trying to get used to that, but the tempo is pretty fast here," he said. "You would expect it going from a no-huddle offense in college to a huddle offense in the NFL it’ll be slower, but really it’s not that much slower. The plays get in fast, you break the huddle and get to the line and you’re going. It’s definitely a fast-paced team, and I feel like I’m in great shape for it.”
Gilliam -- 6 feet 6 and 306 pounds -- is in great shape, too. He played tight end at Penn State until last season, when he moved to right tackle and was a part-time starter. He left for the NFL a year early -- at age 23 and already with two degrees -- and found himself undrafted, largely because he hasn't had time to learn his position.
He knew the risks, but he also knows he has untapped potential.
“My athleticism definitely bodes well for the position, and I think teams will take a shot to kind of develop me into the player they want me to be," he told Pennlive.com in early April. "Obviously another year as an offensive tackle and in school would’ve been a lot better, but I was willing to take the risk.”
After the minicamp, Carroll called him "an extraordinary athlete."
"He has really good mobility," the coach said. "He has the left tackle type of quickness. He's over 300 pounds -- a big, solid, well-balanced kid, and he did very well. He looked very good at the spot, so that’s a real plus for us.
"We need help there," Carroll said. "We need the competition there. Justin Britt kind of stuck at the right side, Garry stuck in on the left side, and both of the guys looked really fitting at their spots.”
As for Scott, general manager John Schneider said in a prepared statement: "After undergoing an extensive physical with our medical staff last week, Garrett's examination revealed a rare heart condition that will prevent him from any on-field participation in the near future. We think highly of Garrett as a person and as a football player. The team is committed to supporting Garrett in the months to come and will continue to help him determine his next steps."
The team signed him Thursday anyway, so he is expected to receive about $102,000 as a signing bonus. If he goes unclaimed, he will end up on injured reserve and receive at least a split of his $420,000 rookie salary.
The Hawks have more than $10 million under the salary cap and obviously are OK using around $300,000 of it on Scott while they help him through his medical situation.
The Hawks reportedly replaced Scott on the roster with tackle A.J. Harmon, a Georgia transfer who finished his career as an NAIA All-American at Cumberland University in Tennessee.