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Analysis: Taking a position-by-position look at the Seahawks’ 53-man roster

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 31, 2021

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gestures as he walks off the field after an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 27-0.  (Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gestures as he walks off the field after an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 27-0. (Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday assembled their initial 53-man roster for the 2021 season.

There weren’t a lot of surprises as players such as running back Rashaad Penny and cornerback Tre Flowers – whose futures some had debated – were on the roster.

Seattle had to cut its roster from 80 to 53 and did so by waiving 26 players and releasing another three who were vested veterans. At the end of the day, their roster sat at 52 because a trade for cornerback Sidney Jones was not yet official. But he will be added to the roster when it is.

After the final cutdown, teams can assemble a 16-player practice squad. But those players first have to clear waivers before they can be signed unless they are veterans with four or more years, in which case they become immediate free agents. Seattle cut three vets in defensive back Damarious Randall, defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche and guard Jordan Simmons.

So up to 17 of the players waived/released could still be on the practice squad. (The Seahawks have an additional player in linebacker Aaron Donkor who doesn’t count as a part of the International Pathway Program.)

Here’s a look at the roster by position.

Quarterback

Keep: Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, Sean Mannion.

Cut: None.

Comment: It was a surprise to see Mannion make the roster – Seattle has rarely had three QBs on its 53-man roster since Wilson arrived in 2012, and Smith appears to clearly be the backup. But Seattle maybe was worried he’d get snatched up by someone given some of the QB uncertainty around the league and may just like his association with new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron – each was with the Rams in 2017 and 2018.

Running back

Keep: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Alex Collins.

Cut: Josh Johnson.

Comment: The Seahawks ultimately kept five running backs, despite a lot of talk about Penny’s future, though the idea of the team simply releasing a player who was their top pick in 2018 seemed a little unlikely all along. Collins forced Seattle to keep five RBs with his play during the preseason. Some may wonder why both Homer and Dallas made it, but each is a key member of special teams and Seattle also likes Homer’s versatility in the two-minute offense – something Seattle could be in a lot more this year if it goes more up-tempo under Waldron. Johnson, who was the leading rusher in the preseason, is another who can be expected to re-sign to the practice squad.

Tight end

Keep: Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson.

Cut: Tyler Mabry, Cam Sutton, Ian Bunting.

Comment: Parkinson may not be on the 53 for long as he is dealing with a foot injury. But Parkinson has to be on the initial 53-player roster if the team wants to put him on injured reserve and then have him return after three weeks. So, there could still be some roster shuffling at this position. Or maybe the team is confident he will be ready Sept. 12. Mabry seems a certainty for the practice squad, and maybe moved up to the 53 if Parkinson is put on IR. But for now he has to clear waivers.

Receiver

Keep: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, Freddie Swain.

Cut: Penny Hart, Cody Thompson, Aaron Fuller, Cade Johnson, Connor Wedington, Travis Toivonen, Darece Roberson.

Comment: In a mild surprise, the Seahawks waived Hart and have just four receivers on the roster. But Seattle will undoubtedly re-sign three or four of those waived to the practice squad and will also likely have their eyes on the dozens of other receivers who were waived/released around the league. Top candidates to be signed to the PS seem to be Johnson, Thompson, Fuller and Hart.

Offensive line

Keep: Tackles Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jamarco Jones, Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan; guards Gabe Jackson, Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes; centers Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller.

Cut: Jordan Simmons, Tommy Champion, Brad Lundblade, Greg Eiland, Jared Hocker, Pier-Olivier Lestage.

Comment: The surprise here was waiving Simmons, who started six games last season and nine overall in his Seattle career, and keeping Curhan, giving the Seahawks 11 offensive linemen – it’s possible that changes before the season. Curhan becomes the only undrafted free-agent rookie to make the team straight out of camp. Curhan, who played tackle at Cal, started camp at guard but moved to tackle when injuries and Brown’s absence created a void in depth. He impressed playing specifically on the right side. Ogbuehi was hurt during camp and could be a candidate to go on IR and, like Parkinson, then recalled in as little as three weeks.

Defensive line

Keep: Ends Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Benson Mayowa, Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson; tackles Al Woods, Poona Ford, Bryan Mone.

Cut: Robert Nkemdiche, Myles Adams, Jarrod Hewitt.

Comment: The one mild surprise was cutting Nkemdiche, but his status was in question after he missed all three preseason games due to injury following a good start to camp. He could be re-signed as he becomes an immediate free agent. Otherwise, the 10 who made it seemed locks all along.

Linebacker

Keep: Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Nick Bellore.

Cut: Jon Rhattigan, Aaron Donkor, Lakiem Williams.

Comment: No surprise here as the Seahawks kept just four off-ball linebackers with Bellore needed to fill in the depth after the loss for the season of Ben Burr-Kirven. Donkor goes straight to the practice squad and Rhattigan would seem likely to be on the PS, too, after a nice final preseason game against the Chargers.

Defensive backs

Keep: Safeties Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair, Ryan Neal; Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon, D.J. Reed, Tre Flowers, Tre Brown.

Cut: Damarious Randall, Gavin Heslop, Aashari Crosswell, Josh Moon, Will Sunderland.

Comment: As noted, Jones will add a fifth cornerback to this list once his trade goes through. As a vested vet, Randall will not go through waivers so Seattle can re-sign him to the practice squad tomorrow. Some may be surprised that Flowers made it, but Carroll praised him at every turn and Seattle needs experienced depth with recent injuries to Brown and Neal.

Special teams

Keep: Jason Myers (kicker), Michael Dickson (punter), Tyler Ott (snapper).

Cut: None.

Comment: Nothing was ever in doubt here.

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