The following table shows how many players the Seahawks kept at each position last year on the day they cut down to 53 players. It also shows the average keep at each position since Pete Carroll and John Schneider arrived in 2010. Finally, it tallies my current projections for keep by position, and how that would differ from what the team kept last season.
Key changes from last time
I have the Seahawks keeping one extra defensive linemen, one fewer linebacker, one more corner, and one fewer safeties than last week. That represents a significant amount of change in just one week. I am least confident about the defensive line and linebacker changes. I swapped a linebacker for a lineman because I now believe the better player is on the defensive line. More on that below. Seattle, though, rarely keeps nine on the defensive line.
One important exception was in 2013, a famously deep line, when the Seahawks kept eleven defensive linemen and still waived Clinton McDonald, Jaye Howard, and Sealver Siliga.
It is good news that we are even having this debate about whether to keep more from that position group.
Current 53-man roster predictions
This table shows which players I currently expect to make the final cut, with a little color coding to represent my relative level of confidence. The farther we get into preseason, the greater the confidence I will have in these projections.
Predictions of note
Kasen Williams and Amara Darboh are still on the outside looking in
I am fully aware nobody will agree with this take, but then again, everyone thought I was absolutely nuts when I said Darboh was on the bubble last week and now people are beginning to wonder. The hope here is Darboh plays this week and flashes. He has yet to really do that in camp. He lacks suddeness, and has not shown the ability to separate or high point a ball. In his defense, I have not seen a quarterback give him a chance to make a contested catch.
Kasen Williams was the shining star on Sunday and it is not hard to imagine him making the final roster, but he still has a long way to go. He must stay healthy. He must show consistency. He must make plays on special teams. I like what I have seen from Williams over the years more than what Darboh has shown thus far, but Darboh has the benefit of being a third round pick and a rookie who can grow with the team, so he currently is above Williams on my rankings.
J.D. McKissic is the guy I am farthest out in front on, and may fall on my face as a result. His ability to backup at both punt and kick returns and also be an option if C.J. Prosise goes down, while also being an intriguing run-after-catch receiver makes him pretty darn valuable. He also is a good special teams coverage guy. He needs to make some plays in the games, though, to justify the lofty roster perch I have him on.
Kenny Lawler and David Moore are not even bubble players
Both are compelling receivers who would have a shot to make the roster in other years, but this team is just too deep at the position, and neither player has a trait so unique or so strong that the team must keep them around. Both could be practice squad candidates.
Defensive line swells to nine players
David Bass and Christian French had great debuts on Sunday. Marcus Smith has yet to play, and both I and Pete Carroll appear high on him. If the team keeps nine linemen, both Bass and Smith could make the final roster. That feels a bit heavy on edge rushers, and the team could choose to keep a DT like Garrison Smith or Rodney Coe instead. I would be surprised if Quinton Jefferson makes the team. He has not shown me much to date. It felt generous to list him on the bubble.
Sayonara, Mike Morgan
The addition of an extra DL, means one less player somewhere else, and I chose linebacker. Michael Wilhoite can backup all three positions. Terence Garvin will get plenty of run. Dewey McDonald can backup all three roles as well, and played wonderfully on Sunday. McDonald, Wilhoite, D.J. Alexander, and Garvin are all great special teams guys. And with all the edge rushers on the DL, Morgan becomes redundant.
Running back room all but settled
I moved Chris Carson to high confidence. That leaves no room for anyone else. What a terrific fivesome that would be.
Tramaine Brock has a ripple effect
I believe the team values Brock over Lane. Most of that is based on instinct and supposition. We will see if that plays out. In any event, adding Brock to the roster pushes down Neiko Thorpe and Deandre Elliott, among others. Elliott could be at real risk of making the roster now that the team is two-deep at nickel. Pierre Desir also had a nice game on Sunday. For now, I am adding an extra corner to my projection, going from five to six. That has both Thorpe and Elliott sticking.
Tedric Thompson does not make it
Adding an extra corner means one less safety in this instance. Given McDougald can backup at both spots and Hill is clearly the better player thus far, I think Thompson is left out in the cold. He has been okay, but not remarkable during practice and appeared to make a major mistake on Sunday. Another reason the team could try to go with four safeties is that DeShawn Shead could provide depth there if need be when he returns midyear.