In 2017 the Seattle Seahawks drafted Ethan Pocic in the second round, and the immediate returns on his play had fans excited. Many thought the Hawks had potentially found a long term starter on the offensive line, whether at center or guard, and believed that once Pocic bulked up and added some weight to his slender frame he had potential to develop into a leader for the zone blocking Seahawks.
However, as fans are well aware, things changed rapidly in the wake of the 2017 season, with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable both being relieved of their duties, and Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Solari taking over those roles. While Pocic emerged from those changes as a starter on the offensive line to open the 2018 season, that changed quickly once D.J. Fluker returned from injury. Add in another offseason which the team continued to adjust to roster to better fit the type of players Solari prefers, and all of a sudden Pocic seems to have moved far enough down the depth chart that barring injuries he may not see a lot of game action.
Specifically, Pocic is most certainly not the type and build of player Solari prefers at guard. While Pocic is listed at 6’6”, 320 pounds (BMI of 37.0), that is smaller than the majority of the other guards on the roster, including:
- Mike Iupati: 6’5”, 331 pounds (BMI of 39.3)
- D.J. Fluker: 6’5”, 342 pounds (BMI of 40.6)
- Phil Haynes: 6’4”, 322 pounds (BMI of 39.2)
- Jordan Simmons: 6’4”, 339 pounds (BMI of 41.3)
- Marcus Martin: 6’3”, 330 pounds (BMI of 41.2)
In short, while he’s added bulk since being drafted, the Hawks have added five other guards since Solari’s arrival, all of whom weigh more and have a significantly higher BMI than Pocic. Add in that three of the interior offensive linemen added in Iupati, Fluker and Martin had prior experience with Solari before arriving in Seattle, and it’s not hard to see that Solari has a type at guard, and that type is not Pocic.
That leaves center as the position at which Pocic might best be a fit in Solari’s system, but with Justin Britt seemingly entrenched as the starter, that leaves only the backup spot. Top off that with the fact that Martin has started at center for a Solari line previously, having started eight games at center for the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, and all of a sudden Pocic’s expendability quotient increases as he plays the same two positions as a player whose build Solari seems to prefer.
And that brings things to the question of who would be willing to trade to acquire the former second round pick? Taking a look around the league at various injury situations, and that answer becomes less than difficult.
Last year, Raiders acquired a 2019 seventh-round pick when trading safety Shalom Luani to Seahawks. They could be on opposite end of similar move at guard. Gabe Jackson (knee) and Denzelle Good (back) are injured. Richie Incognito is suspended for first two games.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 12, 2019
Before getting all upset about the Hawks trading away a one time second round pick entering their third season, keep in mind that in 2015 that is exactly what Seattle did with Christine Michael. After two underwhelming seasons from CMike, the emergence of undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls and the addition of Fred Jackson as a free agent, the Seahawks dealt Michael to the Cowboys for a seventh round draft pick.
Sending Pocic to the Oakland Raiders is logical not only on the Seahawks side, as his services don’t seem likely to be in high demand during the 2019 season, but also from the Raiders side. With Cable now coaching the offensive line in Oakland, Pocic would step into a system with which he is familiar and in which he started eleven games at guard in 2017. Add in the flexibility to play both guard spots, as he did for the Hawks as a rookie, and it would allow the Raiders some added maneuverability when Richie Incognito comes back from suspension and Gabe Jackson and Denzelle Good work their way back from injuries.
As for compensation, well, the going rate for third year backup offensive linemen is a late round draft pick. In 2017 the Cleveland Browns traded former first round pick Cam Erving for a fifth round pick, the Detroit Lions traded former first round pick Laken Tomlinson to the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams sent Greg Robinson to the Lions for a sixth round pick. That’s pretty much the market for what the Hawks could expect to receive in return for Pocic, though there is of course the possibility that the teams could put conditions on the trade that would move the pick up or down a round or two.
So, while Pocic isn’t a great fit for the current system the Seahawks are running, he does happen to be a fit and have experience in the system that a team looking for starting caliber guards is running. Thus, don’t be surprised if in the coming days or weeks, as Iupati returns from his foot sprain and Haynes potentially comes off of the PUP list, if all of a sudden the Ethan Pocic is traded away for yet even more 2020 draft capital.