The first game of J.R. Sweezy’s career is never too far from his thoughts, and not for sentimental reasons.

Sweezy, an offensive lineman drafted in the seventh round last year, played defensive tackle at North Carolina State. But the Seahawks saw Sweezy as a better fit along the offensive line and made the conversion.

By the first game last season, against the Arizona Cardinals, Sweezy had played guard for only four months. And it showed.

On one play, quarterback Russell Wilson immediately had a defender in his face after play-action. Wilson was sacked, and Seahawks offensive tackle Breno Giacomini started yelling at Sweezy, who turned the wrong way and let the defensive lineman come through nearly untouched.

“I saw a lot of things I didn’t know were going to happen,” Sweezy said, “and I was kind of out of my element, as in not knowing what to do exactly. I feel like I’ve made great lengths to never let that happen again, because that still lives in the back of my mind. But it was good for me. I needed that to happen.

“I just wasn’t on the same page as everyone else. I just wasn’t far enough along to understand it all, especially when it was going that fast.”

Sweezy has now played and studied as an offensive lineman for a year, and he insists the game has slowed for him. The Seahawks are hoping for a similar transformation with Jared Smith, a defensive tackle from New Hampshire whom Seattle took in the seventh round. Smith has played guard and center so far.

The conversion is one that veteran offensive-line coach Tom Cable has had players make before, but it is difficult and taxing nonetheless. Cable said the first step in the process is the most basic but also the most essential: Will the guy even make the switch?

Cable said he has had players say, “No, I don’t think so, I’m going to take my chances on defense.”

Added Cable: “Really, it’s how they answer the first question. That’s where we start.”

From there, the Seahawks bring in the possible convert for a workout. The goal is simple.

“Can they adapt rather quickly in a workout by listening and giving it back to you the way you want it?” Cable said. “If they can do that simple concept, then they’ve got a chance.”