Former Missouri left tackle Justin Britt was prepared for the long haul during the NFL Draft this weekend.
He knew there was a chance he’d have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called. Instead, Britt, a graduate of Lebanon (Mo.) High School, didn’t even have to wait until the third round.
“I was told second round to free agency,” Britt told reporters in Seattle. “I was going into today and tomorrow just waiting. I was playing some shuffleboard at my friend’s house and my phone started ringing and the room went dead silent. We’re all excited for the opportunity that I have. I’m excited to work with (offensive line) coach (Tom) Cable and the staff and build some new friendships on the team.”
The reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks made Britt the final selection of the second round Friday, snapping him up No. 64 overall and only four spots after Tigers teammate Kony Ealy went to Carolina.
Britt has the size — 6 feet 6, 325 pounds — and athleticism teams covet on the offensive line. He is the highest-drafted Missouri offensive lineman since John Clay was chosen No. 15 overall by the Raiders in 1987.
During his senior year, the Tigers finished 16th in the nation in rushing offense (237.9) and total offense (490.7) thanks, at least in part, to Britt’s dominant blocking on the edge.
“I went into the season last season wanting the guys I went against to remember me,” Britt said. “It was my last year so I wanted to leave a mark in their mind and have them remember me. If nasty is the word you want to use then I’m nasty.”
He needs to improve his ability to sustain blocks and might move inside to guard for the Seahawks, who already have former Oklahoma State star Russell Okung at left tackle.
Britt has a history of injuries, but he also has shown an incredible ability to heal. He suffered a broken foot in July 2012, but recovered in time to start the first nine games that season before a season-ending torn ACL.
Of course, Britt recovered from that injury in time to start all 14 games last season for Missouri, which went 12-2 and won the SEC East division and the Cotton Bowl.Left tackle Justin Britt
Pick: Round two (No. 64 overall)
NFL team: Seattle
2013 stats: Missouri averaged 237.9 yards rushing per game, which ranked No. 16 in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Britt helped pave the way for 3,330 yards, a 5.66-yards per carry average and 35 for the Tigers, who went 12-2 and won the SEC East division as well as the Cotton Bowl. Missouri also ranked No. 16 overall in total offense, averaging 490.7 yards, with Britt protecting James Franklin and Maty Mauk’s blindside.
Red flags: Britt suffered a torn ACL at the end of his junior season, but he recovered in time to start all 14 games left tackle for Missouri in 2013. He also dealt with a broken foot in 2012, but again healed in time to start the first nine games before the knee injury. Scouts worry about ability to finish and sustain blocks and move bodies in the run game.
Fun fact: Britt went 45-0 and won the Missouri Class 4 state heavyweight wrestling championship as a senior at Lebanon (Mo.) High School. He was a three-year letterman in football, wrestling and track and field as a prep standout. Britt is engaged to Alicia Bratten and has a 1-year-old daughter, Navy Noelle.
Where he fits in: Britt has a great base and the length teams desire in a left tackle. He’s also athletic and strong enough to cut off the outside pass rush and reach the second level when asked to block downfield. He’s also got mean streak and is a smart player, who recognizes the blitz well. The Seahawks have Russell Okung at left tackle, but Britt could fit in as a left guard and might be an upgrade over incumbent starter James Carpenter.