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Seattle Seahawks

Five Seahawks could be impacted by team’s new draftees

Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan (9) jumps over Minnesota Vikings linebacker Casey Matthews (59) as he runs the ball during the first half of an NFL wild-card football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Nam Y. Huh / AP)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

The scientific theory that every action has a subsequent reaction can, in a way, also be applied to the NFL Draft.

For every new player that is added, an existing player finds his spot on the roster that much more tenuous.

Here’s a look at five current Seahawks players whose roster spots – if not in 2018, at least down the road – could be impacted by players drafted this year.

Jon Ryan

Ryan is the most-directly affected veteran of any player on the roster after Seattle moved up in the fifth round to take punter Michael Dickson of Texas. Dickson was the 2017 Ray Guy Award winner as the best punter in college football and was regarded as the most pro-ready punter available.

NFL teams don’t keep two punters, so either Dickson is a huge flame-out, or his selection marks the end of the road for Ryan, who has been with the Seahawks since 2008 and is the only player on the roster who predates the arrival of coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider in 2010. There are really no other options.

Further, the 36-year-old Ryan has a hefty contract that means Seattle could save $5 million against the cap the next two seasons if he’s released (minus what Dickson would make, which is roughly $1.2 million over the next two years).

General manager John Schneider, though, said the plan is for the team to keep Ryan around long enough to compete with Dickson in camp.

Intriguingly, Schneider noted following the draft Saturday that he was once with a team that drafted a punter in the third round “that completely failed’’ as evidence that the drafting of Dickson doesn’t mean Ryan is totally a goner just yet.

Research shows that punter was B.J. Sander, taken by Green Bay in 2004. When Sander struggled to hold on to the job and was released prior to the 2006 season he was replaced by none other than Jon Ryan, who punted for the Packers in 2006-07 before coming to Seattle.

Circle of life, indeed.

Duane Brown

OK, I’m not suggesting that sixth-round pick Jamarco Jones – who started 27 games the last two years at left tackle at Ohio State – is going to beat out Brown anytime soon

But Brown, who will be 33 next season, is entering the final year of his contract and the offensive lineman wants a new one any day now, probably at more than the $9.75 million he’s due to make in 2018.

Schneider has said the team’s goal is that Brown will retire as a Seahawk. But if no extension is done before the season and if Jones were to show that maybe he could be the future at left tackle, then Seattle might balk at giving Brown $10 million a year or so.

And while Seattle gave up a lot to get Brown, the Seahawks’ rather tepid attempt to keep Sheldon Richardson shows they don’t appear overly motivated to re-sign someone just to make a trade look better.

K.J. Wright

Here’s another one where the reaction might be a year away.

Wright, one of the most consistent, best, classiest and popular-in-the-locker-room players in recent Seahawks history, will now apparently be backed up at weakside linebacker by the player who was the feel-good story of the entire NFL Draft, Shaquem Griffin.

And Wright, who turns 29 on July 23, is also entering the final year of his contract.

The Seahawks have shown this offseason they have no problem moving on from anyone, and if Griffin is all that the team thinks he could, this draft could mark a changing-of-the-guard at the weakside linebacker spot.

Germain Ifedi

In talking about the drafting of Jones, Carroll sort of quickly snuck it in that George Fant – the presumptive left tackle last year before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in the preseason – “can play right (tackle).’’ Carroll has said before that Fant could maybe be used there, but this seemed the most direct statement yet that the team will throw Fant into the competition at right tackle with Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick in 2016.

Carroll and others around the team have indicated that Ifedi will get every shot to make the right tackle spot his, with the thought that his skill-set may be better-suited for the power-blocking schemes favored by new offensive line coach Mike Solari.

But the addition of Jones, who can also play the right side, and throwing Fant over to the right side as well, could give Seattle some options if Ifedi stumbles.

C.J. Prosise

You can obviously ink first-round pick Rashaad Penny into a spot on the 53-man roster.

And given that the Seahawks want to get back to running the ball, Seattle could well keep five tailbacks.

But if there’s any roster squeeze, then Prosise could be in danger if he again shows any issues with durability.

Prosise, a third-round pick two years ago, has played in just 11 of 32 regular-season games the last two seasons, used primarily as a third-down back. That’s a valuable role, especially given Prosise’ receiving background and big-play ability.

But you’ve got to be on the field to be valuable. And the Seahawks say they think Penny – who caught 34 passes for 359 yards his final two seasons at San Diego State – can be an every-down back.

J.D. McKissic can also handle the third-down back role, and the team has a little bit of an investment in Chris Carson and Mike Davis.

The battle for the last tailback spot or two figures to be pretty intriguing, indeed.

Nick Vannett

The way the Seahawks talked up Washington’s Will Dissly, as well as the fact that they took him at 120 – at that moment, bypassing Shaquem Griffin – makes it pretty clear Dissly is also probably going to be on the 53-man roster when the 2018 regular season begins. Ed Dickson, a free agent signed to a three-year contract that includes $3.6 million guaranteed, is also going to be on the 53-man roster based on that deal.

That leaves Vannett and Tyrone Swoopes either battling for the third tight end role, or trying to convince the Seahawks they should keep four, something they have done before and might be inclined to do again if the goal is really to get back to being more of a running team.

Vannett, like Prosise, was a third-round pick two years ago – Prosise pick number 90 and Vannett 94 – but is now entering his third season, the year when the benefit of the doubt begins to run out.

Vannett was drafted with the idea that he was one of the best blocking tight ends in college football. But the team’s comments about Dissly seemed to indicate they haven’t yet seen out of Vannett – who has 15 catches for 146 yards in two seasons – what they hoped.

“We’ve really had a difficult time finding a guy who can do both, who can catch the ball and run some routes for you but can be a strong blocker,’’ Carroll said.

The Seahawks may not mind it if those words prove to be something of a challenge for Vannett.