It is a good time to refresh roster assessments as the Seahawks head into their first preseason game this Saturday. Practices set players up for making the squad, but game performance trumps all. First, a refresher on how many players the Seahawks broke camp with at every positions last year, their average keep for that position since Pete Carroll and John Schneider arrived, and my projected keep. The plus/minus column indicates where I am projecting a change from what the team kept for that position last year.
Only two of these numbers have changed from my first prediction. I went out on a limb after two practices and predicted four tight ends making the roster. That is now the chic thing to do after everyone caught on to the emerging talent in Brandon Williams. I am confident the team will only keep five receivers. The toughest calls by far are CB, S and DL. I thought about going to 10 linemen so the Seahawks could keep Sealver Siliga, Brandin Bryant and Ryan Robinson, but I stuck with 9, which only leaves two spots for those three players.
The one change I made is upping to five safeties and reducing to five cornerbacks. There is just too much safety talent that I believe is better than the back end of the cornerback group. This gets back to what the team kept last year. The problem there is that Kam Chancellor was on the roster but not playing, so they kept an extra for that purpose. I could easily see the team only keeping four safeties, especially with DeShawn Shead able to swing over to that spot.
Jake Heaps could climb into the competition with a good performance in the games. I still expect the team to look for a more established backup who gets cut from another team.
Even with the glut of great running back talent, the decision should be pretty easy. They kept five last year, and I have a hard time seeing them let any of the guys go that I have highlighted. The tough one here is what the team does at fullback. I have not seen a good fullback since Brandon Cottom and Tre Madden got hurt. They won’t keep one just to keep one. I also don’t see a tight end that would make a viable fullback. Williams is 6’4″ and just seems way too big. Not to mention his past spinal scares seem like a bad match for fullback role. The team may scour the waiver wire to find fullback candidates, even into the season.
I have them only keeping five this year. The main reason is that I like the tight end talent they have better than the receiver talent. The fifth receiver barely sees the field, so keeping a sixth doesn’t make a ton of sense. My current projection is that Kasen Williams snags the last spot due to being a better receiver than Douglas McNeil and a more valuable special teams player than Kevin Smith.
Barring injury, this position should be set.
The only change here is I added Jahri Evans just outside the roster. I see Joey Hunt and Will Pericak making the team ahead of Evans and others.
I changed Sealver Siliga from ‘High Confidence’ to ‘On the Bubble.’ The guy needs to play. Brandin Bryant is close to becoming a high confidence addition to the roster. Robinson is behind Bryant in value, but could get a boost with some production during the preseason. For now, I have Robinson on the outside looking in, largely because Cassius Marsh can also play rush end and Bryant is just a more rare talent.
I flopped Mike Morgan and Eric Pinkins. This is going out on a limb a bit. I think if Pinkins can prove he is a legit SAM linebacker, the team really does not need Morgan. If they keep Pinkins and Morgan (Marsh is a lock), than they have to keep one fewer corner or safety. Pinkins has stepped up his game of late, and is the younger, cheaper, option who also is a core special teamer.
This was tougher. I had the team keeping six before, which meant Tye Smith made it. Now, I have them keeping five, and Smith is on the outside looking in. I also moved Marcus Burley from ‘High Confidence’ to ‘On the Bubble.’ The team could choose to keep Smith over Burley. I give Burley the edge because he is a fantastic special teams talent, and Smith has not proven himself there yet.
How do you cut two out of Tyvis Powell, Brandon Browner and Steven Terrell? I decided they won’t, switching to five safeties kept instead of four. Terrell is a great special teams player and the best option to back-up Earl Thomas. Kelcie McCray could do it, but Terrell has the speed. Browner has been playing well and offers unique options. He has also looked terrific on special teams. Powell could be the odd-man out, but he’s young and very intriguing and also has shown well on special teams. Very tough call.
Nolan Freese is the guy for now. Not a lock until preseason is over.