Friday, December 2, 2011
Okung latest NFC West tackle done for year
By Mike Sando
NFC West teams have used top-33 draft choices to select seven of their eight projected starting offensive tackles.
At least four of the seven will finish this season on injured reserve.
In fact, the Week 14 game between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams will feature four backup tackles in those teams' starting lineups.
Seattle's Russell Okung became the latest casualty after suffering a torn pectoral that will require a six-month rehabilitation, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Okung suffered the injury during the final minutes of a 31-14 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Seahawks think the NFL should discipline the Eagles' Trent Cole for injuring Okung with a violent takedown.
The Seahawks previously lost right tackle James Carpenter, their 2011 first-round pick, and rookie third-rounder John Moffitt to season-ending knee injuries. The Rams placed left tackle Rodger Saffold and right tackle Jason Smith on injured reserve. Saffold was the first player chosen in the second round of the 2010 draft. Smith was the second overall choice in 2009.
Other NFC West tackles drafted early by their teams: Arizona's Levi Brown, chosen fifth overall in 2007; San Francisco's Joe Staley, chosen 28th overall in 2007; and San Francisco's Anthony Davis, chosen 11th overall in 2010.
Losing Okung, Carpenter and Moffitt sets back the Seahawks' plans to develop those players this season. All three will presumably return in time for the 2012 season, but none will have the experience or continuity Seattle sought to build this season.