What is really the only true offseason in the NFL – the summer vacation that begins with OTAs/minicamp and ends with the start of training camp – has begun.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still think about the season ahead.
So with the offseason roster building and the OTAs and minicamp in the past, here’s a projection of what the team’s 53-man roster could be like come September.
Keep: Russell Wilson, Alex McGough.
Cut: Austin Davis.
Comment: McGough, a seventh-round pick, was tabbed by coach Pete Carroll as one of the surprise players of rookie minicamp. As could have been predicted, he appeared to have a tougher time in OTAs and veteran minicamp once he had to go against experienced NFL players and the Seahawks will need to see that he can do the job in preseason games to feel comfortable making him the backup to Wilson. But roster mechanics could also well determine what happens at this spot – the Seahawks might be worried that a team would claim McGough on waivers while Davis might not have much of a market on another team’s 53-man, leaving him available to the Seahawks later if need be. Conversely, McGough obviously has practice squad eligibility while Davis does not. Recall that last year, Davis didn’t so much beat out Trevone Boykin as it worked out for the team to keep all three by keeping Davis on the 53-man and gambling that Boykin could sneak through to the practice squad. The key this year will be if McGough plays well enough that the Seahawks think he wouldn’t make it to the practice squad.
Keep: Mike Davis, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, Chris Carson, J.D. McKissic.
Comment: As I did in an earlier roster projection, I again have all five Seattle tailbacks making the 53-man roster. The biggest question actually might be Davis – Seattle could save almost $900,000 releasing him. Also, Prosise has to show he can stay healthy. If Prosise is healthy, McKissic might seem a luxury as a fifth tailback, But he also has lots of special teams value that could allow him to stick And after last year, Seattle will take all the depth it can get at tailback.
Keep: Khalid Hill
Cut: Tre Madden, Jalston Fowler.
Comment: Hill, who played at Michigan, is my darkhorse choice to make the team as an undrafted free agent. At 6-2, 263, he’s the biggest of the three fullbacks and certainly looks the part of an effective lead blocker. He also played some tight end at Michigan and caught 29 passes in his career as well as rushing for 13 touchdowns his final two seasons.
Keep: Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, Will Dissly.
Cut: Tyrone Swoopes, Clayton Wilson.
Comment: The first three seem like locks. Swoopes looms as a bubble player as an intriguing project who may still need some time to make the adjustment to tight end after playing quarterback at Texas. Seattle would surely want to keep him on the practice squad if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster.
Keep: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Amara Darboh, Jaron Brown, David Moore, Brandon Marshall.
Cut: Tanner McEvoy, Cyril Grayson, Marcus Johnson, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Caleb Scott, Keenan Reynolds.
Comment: The addition of Marshall only adds to the intrigue at what could be the most competitive position in terms of the battle for spots at the bottom of the roster. Baldwin, Lockett and Brown are locks and the investment the team made in Darboh last year (third round pick in 2017) would seem to mean he’ll be given every opportunity to make it. The Seahawks have only $90,000 in guaranteed money to Marshall, so he’s far from certain to make it. He did nothing in the offseason program so it’s hard to now where he really is physically at age 34. But for now I’ll assume he comes back healthy and shows just enough for the team to want to keep him. Moore drew raves for his progress in the offseason program and might enter camp with a leg up on the rest. But McEvoy, Johnson, Stringfellow and Reynolds all showed enough in minicamp to indicate they have a legit shot to make it.
Keep: Justin Britt, Ethan Pocic, Germain Ifedi, D.J. Fluker, George Fant, Duane Brown, Rees Odhiambo, Jordan Roos, Willie Beavers.
Cut: Jamarco Jones, Joey Hunt, Marcus Henry, Avery Young, Skyler Phillips, Isaiah Battle.
Comment: Seattle appears to have a pretty set starting five at the moment of Brown, Pocic, Britt, Fluker and Ifedi. If Fant has no setbacks from his ACL injury he’d seem close to a lock as a swing tackle, while also serving as competition for Ifedi at right tackle. But the battle for the rest of the spots looks pretty open. Beavers ran with the starting unit at right guard with Fluker limited in minicamp and could be the surprise of this group.
Keep: Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Nazair Jones, Dion Jordan, Rasheem Green, Tom Johnson, Branden Jackson, Marcus Smith II, Shamar Stephen.
Cut: Malik McDowell, Jacob Martin, Quinton Jefferson, Poona Ford, Eddy Wilson.
Comment: Seattle might opt for veterans such as Jackson to make the initial roster thinking they can sneak most of the younger players through to the practice squad. And remember that for now, McDowell is on the roster, but he may not be when camp begins – if he is, he’d certainly go on the Non-Football Injury list again.
Keep: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, D.J. Alexander, Shaquem Griffin, Barkevious Mingo.
Cut: Warren Long, Emmanuel Beal, Jake Pugh, Austin Calitro, Joshua Perry.
Comment: Wagner and Wright are obvious and you can probably pencil in Mingo at SLB. The backup spots could be pretty competitive and Seattle could well keep more than five (also worth noting Marcus Smith can play strongside linebacker, as well).
Keep: Shaquill Griffin, Byron Maxwell, Justin Coleman, Mike Tyson, Tre Flowers.
Cut: Neiko Thorpe, DeAndre Elliott, Dontae Johnson, Akeem King.
Comment: Griffin, Maxwell and Coleman seem to have a pretty strong hold on the top three cornerback spots. But the backup spots look wide open and Tyson could sneak onto the roster due to his versatility in also being able to play safety, which could be needed depending on what happens with Earl Thomas. The Seahawks could save $1.85 million releasing Thorpe, which leads to the idea they’ll look long and hard for someone who can do what he does. Flowers is the most obvious candidate if he can make the transition well enough from college safety to be a fifth cornerback – his college resume indicates he can handle the special teams part of it. Johnson and Elliott were injured during minicamp so it’s hard to get a sense of where they land in the mix.
Keep: Earl Thomas, Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, Maurice Alexander.
Cut: Tevon Mutcherson, Alex Carter.
PUP: Kam Chancellor.
Comment: What happens with Thomas is the obvious wildcard here. Assuming no trade happens now, Thomas will return as the free safety with McDougald as the strong safety, assuming also that Chancellor won’t be healthy when the season starts. The nature of his contract assures a 90-man roster spot but Seattle would likely place him on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) if he cannot pass a physical when camp starts (unless he retires or some other settlement is worked out before then). Alexander, a former starter for the Rams, and second-year players Hill and Thompson seem primed for backup roles, and possibly more depending on what happens with Thomas.
Keep: Sebastian Janikowski, Michael Dickson, Tanner Carew.
Cut: Tyler Ott, Jason Myers, Jon Ryan.
Comment: For now, sticking with the thought that the Seahawks could have total turnover of their kicking/snapping spots in 2018. But the two kicking positions in particular loom as maybe more competitive than was thought a month or so ago. The team has made it clear that for now, Ryan is sticking around to compete with Dickson, even though the draft investment in Dickson and money the team could save waiving Ryan ($5 million against the cap over the next two years) would seem to indicate it’ll take a lot for Dickson not to win the job.
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