It’s Friday, meaning the end of the week is finally here, and for fans of the Seattle Seahawks it also means that the team is finally set to make a selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The team was obviously without a pick in the first round of the draft after having acquired safety Jamal Adams from the New York Jets last summer, and it could certainly be a unique draft for the Hawks, as they hold just three total picks.
The reason, of course, that the team holds just three picks is because they have effectively opted out of the draft given the uncertainty of making selections in the COVID era, as new Carolina Panthers GM Trent Kirchner shared earlier in the week.
So, given that they expected less total information and less confidence in their ability to scout and make decisions on players, the fact they hold just three choices makes sense. In addition, having just three picks in a draft that is not deep is also noteworthy, and with a very small number of players having signed with agents relative to years past, not wanting to add a lot of players who might not be NFL caliber players makes sense.
Given that only 657 players signed with agents this year compared to the estimated average of 1,800 (2019 & 2020), the talent will be barren in those late rounds. Late round picks this year will be the equivalent of undrafted rookies in previous years carrying much risk. Trade em— DMC (@Runitalian) April 23, 2021
All of that could make the pick Seattle holds at 56 far more valuable on a relative basis compared to second round selections in years past. So, that leads to the obvious question of what the team might do with the selection, and many fans have been adamant in their support for the team to use that pick on a center to solidify the middle of the offensive line. Between Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis the guard spots are known quantities, and with Duane Brown and Brandon Shell tackle is not an issue for 2021 barring injury. That leaves center, where Ethan Pocic is set to return as a starter for a second season at the position, but his underwhelming performance at times has some wanting for someone different.
To get an idea of what percentage of fans want the Hawks to take a center with their second round pick, I turned to Twitter to get a ballpark idea of how much of the fanbase wanted to go down this route.
Will the Seahawks use their 2nd round pick on a C?— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) April 24, 2021
That obviously shows that the majority of fans would seem to be against the idea of using the team’s second round pick on competition for Pocic, but the fact that almost a third of respondents were for such a move is interesting. There are 22 starting spots on offense and defense, so for a single position to see support for the selection of a player in the second round of the draft indicates that there could well be a good portion of the fanbase that hope this is exactly what the team does.
However, this is where things begin to get interesting. There’s no doubt that John Schneider has no problem using Day 1 and Day 2 picks on offensive linemen. The laundry list of linemen added to the roster before pick 56 over the past decade plus is not short, and both Pocic (2.58) and Justin Britt (2.64) were selected late in the second round of their respective drafts.
On the flip side, though, is Mike Solari and his history when it comes to adding offensive linemen in the draft. Since the adoption of the 2011 CBA the teams for which Solari has been offensive line coach have drafted a grand total of zero offensive linemen in the first or second round. That, of course, does not mean that Seattle absolutely will not take an offensive lineman at 56 on Friday evening, but it certainly could be viewed as evidence against the idea.
In fact, the highest a team for which Solari has been the offensive line coach has drafted an offensive lineman was in 2020 when the Seahawks drafted Lewis in the third round with pick 69. In addition, in 2014 the San Francisco 49ers took center Marcus Martin early in the third round with the 70th overall selection.
Putting that together with the fact that Seahawks are set to choose at 56, and it’s certainly a small enough gap that it wouldn’t shock the world to see a center added in the second round Friday evening. That, of course, leads to the question of which center they could add, and whether the list would include Landon Dickerson, who is coming off December surgery to repair a torn ACL. That leads to the question of how fans would react to Pete Carroll and John Schneider using a second consecutive second round pick on a player coming off significant leg injury that required surgery with a long recovery time.