Written by: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
On Sunday, Justin Britt went down with an ACL tear and is done for the year. The injury is not just devastating to the continuity of the offensive line but the offense as a whole.
With ACL injuries usually taking 12-14 months to rehab and get back in football shape, it would make sense for the Seahawks to reassess the future of the center position. And with Britt near $8 million cap hit this year and $11 million next year, it definitely feels like a possibility.
With this sad reality that Britt might be cut, it’s a good idea to look into who might be the best fit to suit up at center for the foreseeable future:
Joey Hunt - Current Roster
Though Joey Hunt doesn’t fit the mold of a Mike Solari center, he knows the system better than anyone and has a great rapport with Russ. He definitely will be given the job for the remainder of the year as Pocic is on IR (but still eligible to return) and no moves were made before the trade deadline. This is Hunt’s job to lose as a majority of the other options are all based on how he performs.
Ethan Pocic - Current Roster
Pocic is eligible to return before the end of the year and will likely fight for the starting center spot with Joey Hunt. Both Pete Carroll and Mike Solari have been fans of Pocic and given him opportunities to play at guard and center before his injury that has limited him to two games thus far this year. Coming out of LSU, Pete Carroll raved about his ability to play all along the line and we will have to see what he can do with the new opening.
Nick Harris - Washington
Here's another opportunity for a Husky to make the move to the Seahawks. Nick Harris has great leadership abilities and it's visible when watching his Washington film. Harris brings athletism to the position that is above average and shows great quickness and footwork. This quickness comes with his size as he is under 290 pounds, but as you can guess, it does lead to a lack of some strength. To make up for it, he plays pretty aggressively, leaving him vulnerable to quicker and more agile targets. Harris is likely going to The Senior Bowl and will start rising up draft boards not long after Mobile. Look for Harris to go on day 2, which is right in the range for the Seahawks if they choose to address their center position during the draft.
Tyler Biadasz - Wisconsin
Biadasz is one of the most experienced play centers in all of college football and is admittedly the heart of the Wisconsin offensive line who has been the best unit in college football for the last two years. He is extremely dependable and has great leadership abilities (something you’ll see out of a lot of the ‘20 center draft class). But Biadasz and his pedigree far away greater than all the other centers in the draft class. He has a nice combination of light feet and is a road grader with powerful hands. Of course, his wide-body and powerful frame can be a downfall for him as he needs to work on bending from his knees. He would fit great into the Seahawks offensive line and would have the size Mike Solari likes to work with. Biadasz is going to be the 1st center taken off the board in April and chances are he might not make it to the Seahawks depending if they continue to perform well and finish in the 26-32 range.
Zach Shackelford - Texas -
I’m not sold on Zach yet but he still has time to impress. A lot of people have him as one of the better centers in the draft class but he has issues such as a pretty glaring inability to pull and move laterally as well as a tendency to stop his feet and stand up, definitely can run into issues pretty quickly if he tries to do that in the NFL. Though he does have some quickness off the snap, he does have issues pulling but his strength is not in question. Zach uses his get off to overpower interior lineman and drive them back. He has the ability to reach the second level as well and make plays on LBs. He does a good job in pass protection and showed an ability to pick up blitzes that I didn't see from any other center.
Darryl Williams - Mississippi State -
A player very much like Justin Britt’s skill type, in which he is a fighter and is extremely competitive. Williams film shows how he doesn’t have the mass to be a “people mover” but has the competitive edge you NEED from your center and has leadership ability to step in right away and make an impact. He does have the strength to perform well at the next level but he had some technical issues. He often doesn’t attack with his hands but when he does, he looks good and in control.
JC Tretter - Cleveland Browns -29 years old
JC is the starting center for the Browns offensive line that has been pretty disappointing so far this year but has only given up 1 sack so far this year and has a PFF grade of 68.4. To add to that, JC was ranked 4th in pass blocking last year by PFF for centers. Though the Browns aren’t in a position to allow JC to walk as a free agent, you do expect him to be given a nice contract wherever he lands.
Graham Glasgow - Detroit Lions - 27 years old
Glasgow has yet to surrender a sack for the Lions as their starting Center and has earned a PFF grade of 73.8. Graham can block well at the second level and moves pretty good for a 6’6” 310 lineman. If he makes to free agency, expect him to get a good look by a lot of teams. He can play guard and center and has no notable/serious injuries thus far in his career.
Justin Britt - Current Roster
I’m not sure the likely hood, but the Seahawks might not cut Britt. The Seahawks have had a bad history of being cheapskates with the offensive line and it only hurt Russ. In attempts to protect Russ, they might just bite the bullet and keep britt and prepare for his return as if its any other injury. Another option that is even more unlikely is the Seahawks and Britt restructuring his contract or finding a way to convince him to take a pay cut in order to help relieve the burden of his loss.
At the end of the day, what happened to Justin Britt is devastating and I wish nothing but the best to Justin and his family. I do truly want Justin to return as the Seahawks center at some point next year but things don’t always work out how we want. The Seahawks did the same to Richard Sherman and chances are the front office is going to have a tough decision to make with Britt’s case.