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Seahawks training camp: a projected 53-man roster

The health of running back Thomas Rawls, right, is a big question as the Seattle Seahawks begin their training camp. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
The health of running back Thomas Rawls, right, is a big question as the Seattle Seahawks begin their training camp. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

With training camp set to begin Saturday, it’s a good time to review how the Seahawks’ 53-man roster might look if the season began today.

For the obvious reason that nothing has really happened since June, this looks remarkably similar to my roster projection published following the end of minicamp. But in the appropriate places it has been updated.

This is based solely on the 90-man roster as it stands now. There will undoubtedly be other moves that will impact how it looks but for now this is how I see it.

Quarterback

Keep: Russell Wilson, Trevone Boykin.

Cut: Jake Heaps.

Comment: In June, there was still a thought that Tarvaris Jackson could return to the roster. That won’t happen now following his arrest for pulling a gun on a woman reported to be his wife. Boykin is the clear backup at the moment. But there will undoubtedly be some other QBs who will become available as the preseason progresses (the Jets could release one of Geno Smith or Bryce Petty now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is back, for instance), which could provide options down the road. Heaps will hope to get some preseason action to maybe earn at least a practice squad callback.

Running back

Keep: Thomas Rawls, Alex Collins, C.J. Prosise, Christine Michael, Brandon Cottom.

Cut: Zac Brooks, Tre Madden, Tani Tupou.

Comment: A big intrigue as camp begins is the health of Rawls – it won’t be a surprise, and not necessarily a concern, if he starts camp on the PUP list. But I’ll go with the Seahawks’ optimism that Rawls will be ready for the start of the regular season. Collins could earn the backup spot and Prosise figures to carve out a niche as the third-down back. I’m giving Michael a slight nod as the fourth tailback ahead of Brooks, figuring the Seahawks may not want to have anything but rookies behind Rawls. Cottom is listed as a tight end but has been playing fullback and at 262 pounds offers an intriguing blend of size and receiving ability. Madden has also been impressive, though, and that figures to be a good battle to watch. And the Seahawks undoubtedly will keep Brooks around on the practice squad if he’s released.

Receivers

Keep: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Kasen Williams, Douglas McNeil.

Cut: Kevin Smith, Kenny Lawler, Deshon Foxx, Tyler Slavin, Antwan Goodley,

Comment: The first four spots there are locks (assuming Richardson is healthy, he’s making the team). Williams has had a nice offseason and seems to have an upper hand on the rest of the pack at the moment. For the final spot I’m sticking with something of a surprise in McNeil. But at 6-3 he would be the tallest receiver on the roster, and having spent time playing at cornerback would also likely be solid on special teams. The team likes the potential of Lawler, but he may need something of a redshirt year to built up some physically. How Lawler has progressed physically since the end of minicamp will be something to watch as training camp opens this weekend.

Tight ends

Keep: Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Nick Vannett.

Cut: Cooper Helfet, Brandon Williams, Ronnie Shields.

Comment: As with Rawls, I’ll assume the team’s optimism on Graham being ready for the start of the regular season comes true (though as with Rawls, it’s likely he begins camp on the PUP list). Vannett seems a lock at this point after showing more-polished receiving skills than the team anticipated. A player to watch is Williams, an Oregon grad whom Carroll offered some unsolicited praise after the end of minicamp.

Offensive line

Keep: Garry Gilliam, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi, J’Marcus Webb, Bradley Sowell, Rees Odhiambo, Joey Hunt, Patrick Lewis.

Cut: Terry Poole, Kona Schwenke, Lene Maiava, Kristjan Sokoli, Will Pericak, George Fant.

Comment: The first seven listed seem like locks at the moment. Coaches also seem to really like Hunt, and at this point might be worried they wouldn’t get him back on the practice squad even if they didn’t think he was ready yet. That would leave one more spot if the Seahawks keep their usual nine offensive linemen. Lewis is due to make $1.6 million this season and if the Seahawks are comfortable enough with Hunt as the backup center (and maybe goes without saying, also comfortable with Britt at center) releasing him could be a way to save a little money, especially if Sokoli shows he can handle guard and center. But Lewis at the moment is the only player on the team who has played an NFL game at center. You’d think the team might want to keep him around as a security blanket as well as someone who could back up at most spots along the line if he doesn’t win the starting job.

Defensive line

Keep: Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, Quinton Jefferson, Jarran Reed, Ahtyba Rubin, Jordan Hill, Sealver Siliga.

Cut: Ryan Robinson, David Perkins, Montese Overton, Justin Hamilton, DeAngelo Tyson, Tavaris Barnes, Brandin Bryant.

Comment: Reed, Rubin, Hill and Siliga appear pretty set as the four interior linemen with Bennett also able to move inside. It appears Jefferson may play more as a Bennett-style end – something to watch as camp begins. Avril and Clark would be the rush ends along with Cassius Marsh, who I have listed as a linebacker for this exercise. Whether Bennett really holds out if he doesn’t get a new deal is an obvious intrigue as camp begins but obviously won’t impact the long-term roster construction.

Linebackers

Keep: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mike Morgan, Brock Coyle, Cassius Marsh, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Eric Pinkins.

Cut: Pete Robertson, Steve Longa, Kyle Coleman.

Comment: As of now,Wagner (MLB), Wright (WLB) and Morgan (SLB) would be the three starters. Coyle and Pierre-Louis are in line to again be the backups at MLB and WLB, respectively, with Pierre-Louis also playing some SLB. Marsh is being used some at SLB and rush end and that versatility could keep him on the roster. Pinkins is also in the mix at SLB and came on as a special teams player last year, as well.

Defensive backs

Keep: Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Deshawn Shead, Tharold Simon, Kelcie McCray, Brandon Browner, Marcus Burley.

Cut: DeAndre Elliott, Tye Smith, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Trovon Reed, Tanner McEvoy, Tyvis Powell, George Farmer, Steven Terrell.

Comment: All of the listed cut players are recent undrafted rookie free-agent signees or street free-agent signees other than Smith, a fifth-round pick last season, and Terrell. Browner being used at safety gives the team four safeties with Shead able to play both corner and safety. Smith may have to beat out Simon to stay on the roster. But if healthy, Simon’s size and performance in some brief stints in 2014 will keep him on the roster. Burley makes it as a second nickel.

Special teams

Keep: Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Drew Ferris.

Cut: Nolan Frese.

Comment: There’s no competition for the kicking spots but there suddenly is at snapper. In the only roster move Seattle made since minicamp, the Seahawks signed Frese to compete with Ferris in what seems a completely wide-open competition. With no real evidence to go on, I’m keeping Ferris based simply on the fact he’s been around longer.

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