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Roster history

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.

 

 

7 Responses

  1. Uncle Bob

    Not much to disagree on there, including Darboh, your comments on the podcast expanded well on your reasoning. Of course a bit can change on the edges depending on play in the next 3 preseason games, and the ever looming injury bugaboo, but this is a reasonable prediction. The order of success for the bubble guys may hinge in part on management perception of the risk of clearing waivers for those they may want to “hide” on the practice squad. Collins, as the most likely example, probably wouldn’t clear, but then, there’s enough talent in the backfield crew that his loss wouldn’t be too significant……………..as long as Rawls, Prosise, and Lacy can avoid their nemesis; injury.

    Of all the players on the edge of making it, even though you show him as a lock, Lane is the only one that could reasonably be trade bait at this juncture. The acquisition of Brock (as long as he avoids Williams 2.0) makes that even more doable. The rest could just be marginally regrettable loses. The other lock that makes me wonder is Ifedi. He continues to disappoint, but not awful enough to dump. He too could be a candidate for trade in a bigger package if something sufficiently intriguing presents.

    Each season a fan favorite or two gets the Turk knocking at his door…..this season won’t be any different.

  2. ByronO

    Love the Analysis. I think Friday could provide a lot more clarity for bubble players. Receiver decisions are going to be tough. Cable did say several times in his presser yesterday about finding guys “6,7,8”. Could it be they only keep 8 O.L.?

    Great to be this deep.

  3. Mark Stratton

    The only disagreement I have is in the numbers at LB and Safety. What happens to special teams if you go thin at both positions?

  4. Airplane Driver

    You’re logic on Kasen making the team seems sound, but I don’t understand why this doesn’t apply to Richardson as well. He’s shown spurts, but cannot stay healthy over the course of a season. By the eye test, Williams would appear more durable than Richardson, so it would appear that the question facing the Hawks would be what do they value more: a fragile speedster or a potentially more durable possession receiver?

    • Brian Nemhauser

      Richardson was a second round pick, has already been on the roster for years, made big plays against NFL regular season competition, and has elite speed. Agree on his durability, but he’s the #2 or #3 WR on this team. Kasen is at best the #5.

      • Airplane Driver

        Richardson certainly has a resume vs. Williams, no argument there. My point is that going forward Richardson is under a different duress compared to Williams – meaning he needs to show more durability to retain his position, especially in light of the improved depth in the receiving corps.

        Additionally, I don’t feel that draft position holds as much weight to this organization compared to teams. They have been willing to part with higher draft picks that cannot stay healthy, think Jordan Hill.

        Williams may not have the draft pedigree, but this management team values production foremost. Right now, Williams has out-produced Richardson.

        My thought is that Richardson needs to complete a game, or at least not come out due to injury, for him to be retained because of the improved depth.

  5. Larry JaCrispy

    Here’s my 95% final roster prediction

    Offense: (25 total)

    QB Wilson
    QB Boykin
    RB Rawls
    RB Procise
    RB Lacy
    RB Carson
    FB Reece
    WR Baldwin
    WR Lockett
    WR Richardson
    WR Darboh
    WR Williams (Kearse traded or cut)
    FLEX McKissic
    TE Graham
    TE Willson
    TE Vannett
    OL Fant
    OL Joeckel
    OL Britt
    OL Pocic
    OL Ifedi
    OL Aboushi
    OL Odhiambo
    OL Hunt
    OL Roos (Glowinski cut)

    Defense: (25 Total)
    DL Bennett
    DL Avril
    DL Clark
    DL Rubin
    DL Reed
    DL Marsh
    DL Jones
    DL Jefferson (way wrong on this one hb)
    HYBRID Smith
    LB Wagner
    LB Wright
    LB Wilhoite
    LB Garvin
    LB Alexander
    CB Sherman
    CB Brock
    CB Lane
    CB Griffin
    CB Thorpe
    CB *Desir (Shead when off pup)
    S Thomas
    S Chancellor
    S McDougald
    S Hill
    S Thompson