When Ethan Pocic took over as a starter at guard in 2017 while Luke Joeckel was recovering from knee surgery, many fans of the Seattle Seahawks quickly fell in love with his technically sound play, even if he was a little overmatched against NFL defenders. The thought was that it would simply be a matter of spending some time in the weight room and bulking up, and Pocic could step in as either a guard or center for the team for the foreseeable future.
Following a rookie campaign in which he played 638 offensive snaps for the Hawks, the hopes were high during the offseason prior to the 2018 season. However, Pocic then lost the competition to start at either guard spot to older, veteran retreads the team signed as free agents. On the right side it was D.J. Fluker who took over the starting role, after being considered by most observers to have been a bust with both the then-San Diego, but now Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants. On the left side it was J.R. Sweezy, signed in August with camp already well underway who took the starting role for the 2018 Seahawks. Pocic, on the other hand, played just 296 offensive snaps during the season, all while filling in for injured starters in front of him.
That brings things to 2019, where he once again opened the season as a starter on the offensive line as a result of a preseason injury that kept Mike Iupati from starting Week 1. However, since the matchup of the Cincinnati Bengals ended, Pocic has played just 22 snaps for the Seahawks. Much of that is obviously attributable to the fact that he spent eight games on injured reserve with a back injury that had already forced him to miss time earlier in the season.
However, he’s back from injured reserve now, and he’s not been listed on the injury report. That said, he played zero offensive snaps and just five special teams snaps in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers. That leads to the question about what exactly his future is with the team.
When the Seahawks went to their backups at guard against the Panthers, it was Jamarco Jones who spelled both Iupati and Fluker at times, not Pocic. That would appear to indicate Pocic is no higher than fourth on the depth chart at guard. Beyond that, with Joey Hunt continuing to start at center, Pocic is obviously no more than depth at that position as well.
Obviously there’s no rush to make any decisions, but if a player through three nearly full seasons is no more than depth, how secure is their role on the roster heading into year four? Hawks fans watched the team deal former third round pick Nick Vannett to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth round pick after three plus lackluster seasons and 972 offensive snaps. With Pocic appearing unlikely to see much playing time over the next two games, it appears he’ll end his third season in Seattle having played a very similar number of offensive snaps to Vannett, as he currently sits at 1,007 career offensive snaps.
Thus, the question becomes, what should the team do with Pocic in 2019? Do they bring him to camp for a competition for the starting center role? Do they trade him in the offseason for whatever draft pick compensation they can recoup for the one-time second round pick?
The writing on the wall seems pretty clear: Pocic has played just 369 offensive snaps since Mike Solari arrived as offensive line coach, and Pocic’s style of play and skill set are far better suited to a zone scheme that much of Solari’s man blocking.
Just to put things in perspective, former undrafted free agent George Fant played more snaps in 2018 (371) coming off a knee reconstruction than Ethan Pocic has played in the past two seasons combined. And Fant has already surpassed that snap count in 2019, as he sits at 385 snaps with two more games left to play.
In short, Pocic is nothing more than depth at this point, and he’s not even depth that is seeing the field on an offensive line that has seen four of the five opening day starters miss time with injury. He’s simply that buried on the depth chart at seemingly every position.
So, at what point does the team decide to go ahead and move on? And what kind of return compensation as part of an offseason trade would it take to move on?
What should the Seahawks do with Ethan Pocic?
This poll is closed
Bring back for competition as the starting center
Trade him for whatever they can get
Trade him, but only if it’s a 5th round pick or higher
Just cut him since he’s not playing