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Football Outsiders lists center as Seahawks’ biggest roster hole

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After a disappointing playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Seattle Seahawks offensive line came back into focus as a major area to address during free agency and in the NFL Draft. They traded for Las Vegas Raiders guard Gabe Jackson, drafted tackle Stone Forsythe in the sixth round, and re-signed center Ethan Pocic as well as other backup depth.

In other words, not a whole lot really done in terms of overhaul to the actual starting lineup. Football Outsiders recently released a (paywalled) ESPN+ article outlining the biggest roster holes on each team, and while outside cornerback may not exactly be an area of comfort for depth at the moment, they went with center.

From Vincent Verhei:

Between trades, free agency, and the draft, Seattle managed to find potential new starters at wide receiver (D’Wayne Eskridge), guard (Gabe Jackson), edge rusher (Kerry Hyder) and cornerback (too many to list here). The one spot the Seahawks failed to address was center. Yes, they re-signed Ethan Pocic, last year’s starter, but only after allowing him to test the free-agent waters. And they got him back for peanuts (effectively a one-year, $3 million contract) because nobody else felt he was worth even that weak commitment.

Before the draft, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear that Pocic would have to win a camp battle against Kyle Fuller to maintain his grip on the starting job. Fuller, a seventh-round draft pick by the Texans in 2017, has appeared in 20 NFL games (including three starts) for Houston, Washington and Seattle. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement for Pocic that Carroll has openly said that a player with as weak a résumé as Fuller’s might be the better option.

Seattle also signed Pier-Olivier Lestage out of Canada to join the mix of potential starting centers, although he’s certainly not the favorite at the moment.

Pocic struggled mightily against the Rams but to be fair to him it’s not like he was alone in that department. I don’t think anyone could have cited him as a liability during the height of the Let Russ Cook success. This was his first full season as Seattle’s starting center after playing at guard the previous three years. He was in and out of the lineup whether through preference of players ahead of him on the depth chart or injury, so 2020 was finally a season of stability for the former LSU standout.

Of course, last year’s center competition barely existed, as BJ Finney reportedly showed up to training camp out of shape and Pocic pretty much won by default. Finney was traded to the Bengals (having played zero offensive snaps in Seattle) and the team got Carlos Dunlap.

That the Seahawks did not go after Corey Linsley in free agency wasn’t surprising given their historical tendencies but it no doubt disappointed some fans who wanted to see Seattle finally make a big splash. Not even going after the second-tier of centers might have raised more eyebrows, and so far nothing suggests any more competition will be added.

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