Seahawks’ new starting C Ethan Pocic looks most improved from last season
There were plenty of reasons for the Seahawks to be happy about their Week 1 win, whether it was Russell Wilson’s historic performance, Jamal Adams’ electric team debut or a number of big plays from offseason additions to the team.
Something that may be slipping under the radar, though, is how third-year offensive lineman Ethan Pocic played in his first game after winning Seattle’s starting center job. In fact, former Seahawks quarterback and current NFL on FOX color commentator Brock Huard said Pocic was the most improved player from last year’s Seattle team in the 2020 opener.
“I’m not going to say he was a world beater or perfect or anything,” Huard said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant, “but his athleticism to get to the second level, his athleticism to slide in protections, and frankly just his size… I don’t think there’s any question Ethan Pocic from where he’s really been for three years compared to the position of leadership he’s in now as a centerpiece of that offensive line, I thought he played pretty well.”
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Pocic took over the starting job from the 6-2, 299-pound Joey Hunt, who started eight games following a season-ending injury to Justin Britt in 2019. Both Hunt and Britt were released by the Seahawks in the offseason.
Pocic, a second-round pick out of LSU by Seattle in 2017, started 15 games and appeared in 26 total over his first two pro seasons, but he played just four and started only one in 2019. He was a bit of a surprise as the pick out of training camp at center, but it looks like he may finally be putting it all together.
“Ethan Pocic (was) a guy that was banged up for a bunch of years here, got some work done… and got his body right this offseason and was a good player (in Week 1),” Huard said. “Behind the scenes (the Seahawks) were encouraged over the six weeks (of training camp) how well he was moving, how much more confident he was playing center.”
Huard added that former NFL offensive lineman Mark Schlereth, his NFL on FOX colleague who called the Seahawks-Falcons game on Sunday, also told him Pocic was the Seattle player he was most pleasantly surprised by in Week 1.
Seahawks offensive line check-in
After Huard’s comments praising Pocic’s 2020 debut, Paul Gallant asked if people could allay their concerns about the Seahawks’ offensive line. Huard was quick to dispel that notion.
“Russell (Wilson) still got hit 10 times, and a few times hard,” he said. “They still had some troubles picking up some stunts. That’s not an upper-echelon Atlanta defensive line. Tak McKinley’s an explosive guy but that’s not what you’re going to face in your own division with Arizona and the Rams and the 49ers.
“I think there’s still going to be some growing pains. … The tight ends will help that group but I think that’s still an area that’s going to have to accelerate its growth over the course of this season.”
You can hear Huard’s full comments in the Blue 42 segment at the beginning of this podcast from Tuesday’s Danny and Gallant.