One of the main topics amongst the Browns faithful seems to be why Cleveland hasn’t signed another center yet. When Nick Harris got injured in the first preseason game, there was an immediate feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness. Cleveland has already cut J.C. Tretter in the offseason and now their heir apparent is out for the season? Though it does seem like a scary situation, I’m going to provide a few reasons as to why the Browns aren’t worried, and why you shouldn’t be either.
Ethan Pocic is better than people think.
Pocic started 40 games for the Seattle Seahawks and has shown one of the most sought-after attributes of an NFL center, which is consistency. He’s been at least a league-average player for most of his career and that’s a great baseline to have at the position, especially in this situation. In 2021, he finished as the 11th best run-blocking center in the league. This obviously bodes well for what the Browns like to do offensively. The actual talent gap between Nick Harris and Ethan Pocic as an NFL center is very small, and I think that everyone is going to warm up to Pocic really quickly.
Cleveland has quality depth already behind Pocic.
Hjalte Froholdt is currently practicing as the second team center, and he’s performing extremely well there. He was the player who took over at center when Pocic was taken out of the game against the Jaguars. Froholdt is a natural guard but has been a versatile player throughout his career, having taken snaps at center both in college and professionally from time to time.
Though he’s an undrafted rookie, Brock Hoffman has a lot of potential at all three interior spots on the offensive line. He’s been outperforming 7th-round draft pick Dawson Deaton consistently throughout the offseason and it showed during the first preseason game. Hoffman played 28 snaps compared to Deaton’s 3.
Blake Hance has even played center for Cleveland during his time with the team so he could also play there in a “pinch” if needed.
Coach Callahan is one of the best offensive line coaches in the history of the NFL. Kevin Stefanski and the rest of this offensive staff have the utmost confidence and trust in him to make sure that the current group of centers (Pocic, Froholdt, and Hoffman) are as primed and ready for the season as they possibly can be.