Monday, July 20, 2009

Preseason Preview -- Mansfield Wrotto

by: Chris Sullivan

When Mansfield Wrotto was drafted a couple years ago, few Seahawk fans knew a whole lot about him. Two years later and that's pretty much still true. Though Wrotto did get a few starts last year (and successful ones at that), he still is thought of primarily as depth on the line with few making the argument that he is going to be starting any time soon. While that may be true, he is a lot closer than many are giving him credit for, which is why he is our first Player To Watch this preseason.

Wrotto comes from Georgia Tech where he spent his first three years starting as a defensive tackle, then moved back to his high school position on the offensive line. Wrotto has an excellent nasty streak, is very aggressive, and has good anticipation of what the defender is about to do. While he played Tackle primarily in his one year at college, he was a guard in high school and knows that position best. He has been thought of exclusively as a guard by the Seahawks. While he's not the most athletic lineman, his feet are sufficient and his strength is good. Wrotto's talent lies primarily in his leverage and anticipation.

In his four starts (seven games total), Wrotto did not give up a sack. He had one false start penalty and three holding penalties. If he can work on his discipline and technique a bit this year, he should quickly move himself into the second depth position at right guard, though that largely depends on how Seattle views Ray Willis.

A number of people have commented about how Wrotto is probably our best suited lineman for the zone blocking system. Whether he's the top of the list or not, it does seem like a good fit. Technique, discipline and good feet are the keys to a lineman's success in the ZBS, and Wrotto has those three things in spades. Knowing intimately how a defensive tackle thinks and attacks should serve him well in forcing the tackles to the part of the field that he wants them. Expect the Seahawks to implement a lot of counter runs and, if in the mix, you can expect Wrotto to be leading the charge and directing the DTs away from the play.

Will Wrotto be a starter? Probably not this year. He will, however, make the cut, and with Spencer and Sims both being UFAs at year-end (barring labor dispute issues), Wrotto is the future of the guard position in Seattle. Might as well start watching now.