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Utah G Sataoa Laumea ready to prove doubters wrong with Seattle

Utah offensive lineman Sataoa Laumea (78) in the first half during an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Tucson, Ariz.

Sataoa Laumea is headed to Seattle, and with his NFL opportunity comes a return to his old position.

The former Utah offensive lineman was selected with the third pick of the sixth round (179th overall) by a Seattle Seahawks organization that is entering a new era under head coach Mike Macdonald.

Laumea’s interview at the Senior Bowl stood out to him, and when the Seattle area code showed up on his phone while he was surrounded by friends and family in Fontana, California, on Saturday, it was a “great feeling,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity. I know a lot about their program. I met them, great people from interviews and stuff. I know they just picked up a really great O-line coach (Scott Huff), so it means a lot to me. It’s an opportunity to prove everyone who didn’t draft me wrong and you guys right,” Laumea said.

The Seahawks are looking to play Laumea at guard, where he played in his first three seasons at Utah before moving to tackle for the final two based on team need.

Pre-draft, Laumea expressed excitement at returning to guard, and the sentiment was the same post-draft.

“I feel like I’m a stout, physical offensive lineman. I feel like I’m pretty powerful. I was a guard for three years before I moved out to tackle my last two and I loved (guard) more because of the contact and physicality,” Laumea said.

Seattle needed depth at interior offensive line, and Laumea will provide that while competing for a possible starting job.

Competition is no foreign concept to the 6-foot-4, 319 Laumea, who grew up with nine siblings.

“Very competitive. Getting food was competitive. They were eating cereal, finishing the box before I even grabbed my bowl and spoon,” Laumea said, “so it was very competitive.”

After a redshirt year at Utah, Laumea started 44 consecutive games and was named All-Pac-12 in all four of his seasons as a starter. He was consistently one of the best players on Utah’s offensive line, showing improvement each season while displaying his versatility by being able to excel at both guard and tackle.

His quickness and agility for his size, along with his strength and technique, has him set up to make the transition to the NFL smoothly.

“I really was impressed by the way that each and every year he continued to get better. I think he definitely developed the ability to be a student of the game as he matured through the program,” Utah offensive line coach Jim Harding said.

At Utah’s pro day, Laumea praised the program for making him into an NFL lineman.

“Utah made me, man. I feel like a lot of my strengths are because I came here. I love the culture, I love their brand of football and I feel like that helped develop me, too,” he said.

“If you watch Utah football, they play a very physical brand of football and we play as one, so I feel like whatever team picks me up, I’ll bond with my O-line and I’ll play for one another and I’ll get after it, play pretty physical, too.”

How did analysts react?

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler likes Laumea’s run-blocking game but said he could improve in pass blocking.

“Laumea is at his best leveraging gaps in the run game, although movement-pattern flaws as a pass blocker mean he will require NFL coaching before he sees the field at the next level. He has the versatile experience to play tackle in a pinch but has a guard skill set with down-the-road starting potential,” Brugler wrote.

ESPN Seahawks beat writer Brady Henderson said that Laumea is likely to be competing for the backup job this fall.

“After taking Christian Haynes in the third round, general manager John Schneider said the Seahawks may not be done drafting interior O-linemen. They weren’t. Laumea began his college career as a right guard before moving to right tackle for his final two seasons out of necessity. He’s built like a guard, considers himself an interior player and said the Seahawks do as well. Haynes projects as Seattle’s starting right guard, with veteran Laken Tomlinson on the left side. So Laumea is likely competing for a roster spot as a backup option along with Anthony Bradford, Tremayne Anchrum Jr. and McClendon Curtis.”

Pro Football Focus gave the pick an “average” rating.

“Seattle continues to add depth to its OL with Laumea. He has played 1,726 snaps at right tackle over the last two seasons and did not allow a single sack in 2023, but he projects to move back to guard, where he played 903 snaps in 2021.”