3 Veterans Facing Most Pressure Heading into Seahawks OTA Sessions

The next phase of offseason workouts will soon be under way. Which veterans are facing the most heat in Seattle?

With the draft in the rearview mirror and free agency finally starting to slow down, the Seahawks will transition into the third phase of their offseason program with organized team activities starting on May 20.

While the current CBA still prohibits live contact during these 10 practices as well as mandatory minicamp scheduled from June 11 to June 13, Seattle’s coaching staff will be allowed to evaluate players through individual and positional drill work as well as 7-on-7, 9-on-9, and 11-on-11 sessions.

As the Seahawks gear up for OTAs, which veterans have the most to prove over the next month heading towards training camp?

Ethan Pocic

Trying to rebound from a disastrous second season in Seattle, maintaining a spot on the team’s 53-man roster won’t be an easy task for Pocic given the moves the front office has made to further reinforce depth in the trenches.

Despite his ability to play both guard spots as well as center, the former LSU standout will have fierce competition battling for a reserve spot at each position. The Seahawks used a fourth-round pick on massive guard Phil Haynes during last month’s draft and with the return of Jordan Simmons, his only hope may be to beat out Joey Hunt to win the backup center job behind Justin Britt.

If Pocic comes to offseason activities bigger and stronger, he’ll have a fighting chance to hang onto a roster spot. But being a former second-round pick won’t guarantee him anything, especially with former line coach Tom Cable no longer being on the staff.

Nazair Jones

Much like Pocic, Jones disappeared in 2018 after putting together a promising rookie season, appearing in only nine games and recording just seven tackles.

Film Breakdown: Naz Jones finally busts out of a slump with an impressive performance during Seattle's 30-27 win over Carolina.

In an effort to improve his odds of seeing the field in the future, Seattle started working Jones as a five-tech defensive end midway through the season. But after drafting physical defender L.J. Collier in the first round, he’ll now likely have to beat out Quinton Jefferson or Rasheem Green to earn a spot in a suddenly crowded positional group.

Moving into a new season, Jones’s best chance to bounce back may actually be at his original position competing against Jamie Meder, Al Woods, and rookie Demarcus Christmas for a reserve role in the interior behind Jarran Reed and Poona Ford. Considering how quickly he fell out of favor last year, he’s in a tenuous situation going into year three.

Barkevious Mingo

In his first season as a Seahawk, Mingo represented himself well, recording a career-high 48 tackles as a starter at SAM linebacker and emerging as one of the team’s best special teams players.

But Mingo yielded just one sack and two quarterback hits on 517 defensive snaps and he eventually lost playing time in pass rushing situations to Jacob Martin during the second half of the season. After using two draft picks on linebackers, retaining both K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks in free agency, and bringing back Shaquem Griffin and Austin Calitro, he may be relegated to little more than an expensive special teams stalwart.

Seattle could still use some help depth-wise chasing down opposing quarterbacks and there’s still a chance Mingo could contribute in that capacity. But he hasn’t exactly been a reliable rusher since entering the league in 2013 and releasing him would open up more than $4 million in cap space, creating a strong probability he eventually becomes a cap casualty.