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Thursday, April 28, 2011
Seahawks have their bookend tackles

By Mike Sando

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks borrowed from the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers in selecting Alabama tackle James Carpenter with their first-round pick Thursday night.

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Carpenter
The selection gives Seattle bookends on the offensive line with left tackle Russell Okung, the sixth player chosen in 2010, already in place. Carpenter presumably steps in at right tackle, although he played the left side in college.

Okung and Carpenter give Seattle tackles to build around. The Rams took a similar route with Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold in recent drafts. The 49ers have Joe Staley and Anthony Davis.

There's nothing glitzy about selecting an offensive tackle 25th overall, but Seattle's line struggled badly enough last season to justify the selection.

The Seahawks had other needs and other options. They could have selected defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, running back Mark Ingram, tackle Gabe Carimi or cornerback Jimmy Smith. They could have taken a quarterback such as Andy Dalton or Colin Kaepernick.

Instead, Seattle played it safe, targeting a position likely to produce a long-term starter even if Carpenter never becomes an elite player.