There are 90 men attempting to squeeze into 53 spots. Those odds seem long, but when you look at the truly open spots on this ultra-talented Seahawks roster, it is more like 46 players battling for 9 spots. These men can take solace in knowing that no front office in the NFL is more welcoming of players from any lineage and any draft level. It takes a special person to take on these odds. It takes a Seahawk to beat them. Here are some contenders.
NOTE: To be a considered a dark horse, these players must not have been drafted. That is why you will not see players like Eric Pinkins or Kristjan Sokoli showing up.
#19 CB Douglas McNeil
A former Arena League star at wide receiver, McNeil started camp with a bang at that same position. His size (6’3″), speed, and athleticism helped him stand out. The problem is that position is absolutely stacked. His best chance might have been to stick to the practice squad. Then, something surprising happened. McNeil switched to cornerback late last week. The first time came Thursday, and it was rough. He did it again in the scrimmage on Saturday, and there was marked improvement.
McNeil is a willing and impressive special teams contributor. The combination of his standout athleticism, rare build for a corner, and maximum effort on teams, makes McNeil a very intriguing prospect. The relative weakness of the cornerback position on the team makes McNeil a dark horse.
#53 LB Tyrell Adams
Adams is a 6’2″ 225 lbs linebacker out of West Georgia who signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent. He has flashed on several occasions during camp, first on some coverage plays, and more recently filling the gap against the run. He had one of the biggest hits of the scrimmage against Robert Turbin. Adams has not yet found his stride on special teams yet, and that has to change if he wants to stick.
Bailey was signed as an undrafted free agent last season and was starting to make his presence felt when he got injured and was lost for the season. He started off camp slow again due to an injury that kept him out for a few practices, but has been ballin’ since he returned. Bailey played some linebacker in college at USC, and is comfortable with physical play near the line of scrimmage, but also is adept in coverage. The most intriguing aspect of Bailey’s makeup is a penchant for being in the right place at the right time to make a play. It is that Jordan Babineaux, Jeron Johnson-like instinct and chutzpah that could lead to an eventual starting job one day.
At 6’3″ 231 lbs, Rod Smith is a rare player at running back. He is long and strong, and looked eager to create contact during the scrimmage. He jumped out that day, after being mostly hidden way down the running back depth chart. Thomas Rawls has gotten most of the dark horse hype to this point, but Smith is the guy I am eager to watch in preseason games. The team could decide to keep five running backs, which would be Smith’s best shot to make it. His lack of clear spot on special teams makes his job tougher.
#53 G/T Kona Schwenke
Schwenke is light for a guard at 285 lbs, but is long enough (6’4″) to play tackle. Tom Cable has him playing both spots during camp, and he has shown more promise at tackle than any of the other new lineman. That versatility could create a spot for him if he plays well during the games.
#66 G Keavon Milton
Milton is a road grader at guard. He looks all of 324 lbs, and is 6’4″ tall. His camp has been mostly non-descript, but he flashed a bit last Thursday, and did well enough in the scrimmage to get some time at left guard with the starters yesterday.
Finding a way onto the roster as a wide receiver is incredibly tough this year. Williams has a fractional shot to get there due to his immense physical talent and his natural talent on special teams. He is close to cementing a spot on the practice squad, and could force the hands of the front office if he shows enough on teams and as a receiver to unseat a veteran like Ricardo Lockette or recent draft pick Kevin Norwood.
#93 DE David King
King played a bit with the Seahawks last year and is an athletic end with some pass rush pop. He has been able to contribute on special teams, and has played with more energy as camp has worn on. He would have to unseat Greg Scruggs to make it on the roster, which will be tough as Scruggs is ahead of him on the special teams depth chart as well as the defensive line depth chart. A great preseason could turn that around.