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Tyler Linderbaum posts elite athleticism at acceptable weight
Should Seahawks consider him in the top-40?
Anyone hoping to see center Tyler Linderbaum potentially boosted into being picked by the Seattle Seahawks may have gotten their wish at Iowa’s pro day. Concerns about Linderbaum being undersized were not necessarily put to rest on Monday, as he’ll be one of the league’s smallest centers at 6’2, 302 lbs, but his athletic testing was even better than expected after he skipped workouts at the combine.
Linderbaum posted “elite” measurements at the center position for vertical, broad jump (99th percentile), three-cone (99th), short shuttle, 10-yard split, and the 40-yard dash at 4.98.
Slightly comforting is that Linderbaum posted these numbers at 302 lbs, rather than cutting weight down to 290, similar to Derek Stingley posting decent measurements at LSU’s pro day but at a lean 188 lbs.
With so much focus on 40-yard dash times and the difference between being a top-10 pick and being a late-first round pick coming out to many millions of dollars, I believe it’s becoming all too common for draft prospects to become hyper-focused on doing whatever it takes to “win” the 40. But that’s like stripping your car of all the seats so that you can improve your 0-to-60 MPH time, then expecting to take that same vehicle on a family road trip.
What’s the point of the speed if you don’t even have an ash tray?
But Linderbaum didn’t cut weight. In fact, his 302 lbs is an "Okay” size for a center, even if his height and his reps on the bench came in below average. Scouts have been raving about what Linderbaum can do on the field and for those fans who would prefer to know how good of a wrestler a football player is, it’s made the rounds that he proved he can defeat Tristan Wirfs as a high schooler.
Should the Seahawks make Linderbaum one of their first three picks?
My answer to that the other day was “Thanks, but no thanks” to anyone who plays interior offensive line. This in no way disparages players like Linderbaum as excellent draft prospects with glorious futures in the NFL. It’s merely an evaluation of Seattle’s roster with the weighted value of each respective position; the Seahawks needs at tackle, edge rusher, cornerback are too significant, while adding greater depth at wide receiver or tight end could even take precedent over a center or a run-stopping defensive tackle or a WILL linebacker.
I won’t endorse drafting a quarterback either, but hell, that would make more sense than the Seahawks one of their most valuable picks of recent memory on getting an Ethan Pocic/Austin Blythe upgrade at center. And besides, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have made it abundantly clear over the last 12 years that they do not value the position as much as other teams do:
Traded Max Unger in his prime
Highest-drafted true center is Pocic, and even then they tried him at right tackle first
Highest-drafted TRUE TRUE center was Joey Hunt in the sixth round
Had zero issue with starting Drew Nowak and Patrick Lewis in 2015
Maybe the 2021 addition of Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator really has changed things, but the Blythe signing would indicate that the changes won’t be too drastic.