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Seattle Mariners

Analysis: Ranking Seahawks roster ahead of training camp: Nos. 30-21

Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III carries the ball for Michigan State during a game against Youngstown State in East Lansing, Mich., last September.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

We’re two-thirds of the way through our rankings of every player on the Seahawks roster as the beginning of training camp approaches on Wednesday.

That means we’re now at player Nos. 21-30, a set that also shows just how important some rookies could be to the team this year in the beginning of the post-Russell Wilson era.

Onto the list.

30. Linebacker Boye MafePotential role in 2022: In the rotation for the outside linebacker spots and as a rush end.

Why he’s ranked here: Mafe, a second-round pick out of Minnesota, impressed in the offseason program, drawing comparisons from Pete Carroll to Cliff Avril. The Seahawks hope Mafe can team with free agent signee Uchenna Nwosu and third-year player Darrell Taylor to transform Seattle’s pass rush crew into a younger, faster group.

29. CB Coby BryantPotential role in 2022: Competing for a starting outside cornerback spot.

Why he’s ranked here: Bryant, a fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati, worked on the left side during the offseason program in workouts open to the media, but could get tried on the other side, as well, as Seattle’s cornerback positions are pretty wide open and the ultimate goal is to just get the best two on the field. Bryant impressed with his playmaking in the spring and could make a quick rise to a starting job.

28. CB Artie BurnsPotential role in 2022: In the competition for a starting cornerback job, specifically on the right side.

Why he’s ranked here: A first-round pick of the Steelers in 2016 and veteran of 37 NFL starts, Burns was one of the surprises of the spring, working with the starters on the right side. The hoped-for return of Tre Brown and emergence of Bryant will make keeping that spot a challenge, though.

27. RT Abraham LucasPotential role in 2022: Starting right tackle.

Why he’s ranked here: The 72nd overall pick out of Washington State is the leader of a three-man battle for the vacant right tackle spot with second-year players Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe also in the running. But the hope is Lucas can win the job and show he can be a foundational piece of the offense for years to come.

26. CB Sidney JonesPotential role in 2022: Starting left cornerback.

Why he’s ranked here: The former UW standout spent the spring working as the starter at left cornerback. He’ll have to hold off Bryant and Brown to keep that job into the regular season.

25. WR Dee EskridgePotential role in 2022: Third receiver behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Why he’s ranked here: The Seahawks are hoping their first pick in the 2021 draft will stay healthy this year and validate their selection of him with the 56th pick overall. The spring sent some mixed signals – he showed well when healthy early on but then was sidelined during minicamp with a hamstring injury. This ranking may seem a bit high for Eskridge but consider it more reflective of the value the team thinks he can add this season.

24. K Jason MyersPotential role in 2022: Starting kicker.

Why he’s ranked here: Myers was erratic in 2021 going 17-for-23 on field goals after a record-setting 2020 when he made all 24. Every point may be more important than ever this year so the Seahawks need a bounceback season from Myers, who is entering the final season of his contract (and for what it’s worth, the Seahawks could save $4 million against the cap if he were released before the season, though with no competition on the roster his job for now seems secure).

23. TE Will DisslyPotential role in 2022: Sharing the primary tight end duties with Noah Fant.

Why he’s ranked here: The Seahawks surprised some re-signing Dissly to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million, an average-per-year tied for 15th-most in the NFL. But the contract illustrated how important the Seahawks feel Dissly’s blocking is to their running attack as well as his potential value in the passing game. Figure Dissly to often pair with Fant, working more in-line with Fant out wide.

22. RB Ken Walker IIIPotential role in 2022: Backup and/or complementary running back to Rashaad Penny.

Why he’s ranked here: The Seahawks also surprised some taking Walker 41st overall. But he would not have been available with their next pick at 72, and with uncertainty about Chris Carson’s future and Penny’s injury history – and also being on just a one-year contract – the Seahawks moved quickly to grab the durable Walker. If healthy, Penny will be the starter. But the team will look to carve out a major role for Walker, as well.

21. C Austin BlythePotential role in 2022: Starting center.

Why he’s ranked here: The Seahawks signed Blythe, a veteran of 49 NFL starts including Super Bowl LIII with the Rams following the 2018 season. Seattle is counting on the 30-year-old Blythe, who signed a one-year, $4 million deal, to not only anchor the line but become a leader of the group, as well, with veteran left tackle Duane Brown now gone.