Jordan Hill, Marcus Burley, and Will Tukuafu were among the final cuts as the Seahawks shaved the roster to the required 53 names at 1 p.m. Pacific Time today. There were definitely a few surprises in there. Let’s take a look at where things stand and what the moves could mean.
The Final 53
A remarkable fourteen rookies made the Seahawks roster. Of those, six were undrafted. Here they are:
*Undrafted free agent
That is a tremendous infusion of youth into the roster. Compare that to the six rookies who made the team out of camp last season. Seattle gets considerably younger. Time will tell if they also got better.
Comparing my projections with the actual outcome
Trevone Boykin overcame a poor final game to land the spot as the Seahawks backup…for now. Guys like Matt Barkley, Josh Johnson and others are on the market if Seattle decides they want to bring in some more options. The team may also just choose to roll with Boykin as a developmental player and sign a veteran backup if Wilson were to get hurt for any extended period of time.
Despite the monster preseason, Troymaine Pope does not make the roster. The team could choose to sign him to the practice squad, but it’s not clear they need another back around considering they have four solid options already. Cutting Tukuafu qualifies as a moderate surprise since it leaves the team without a fullback. That could change later this week or the team may just decide to roll without and attempt to rely on H-backs (using a tight end as a fullback) for now.
No surprises here. Had I updated my final 53 projections after the game this Thursday, I would have had McEvoy over Williams. I said as much in my game recap. He showed promise as a special teams player and can fill in at tight end as well. McEvoy becomes the tallest receiver on the roster at 6’6″, and possibly the tallest Seahawks receiver of all time.
This position went exactly as planned from the very first projection we made. Brandon Williams is a great add.
The team kept the expected nine roster spots. It was a coin flip between George Fant and Will Pericak for the final spot. Pericak got the nod from me because he had the ability to play both guard spots and center. He also had a great preseason. The team went with Fant likely due to his higher upside and higher risk of being snagged by another team if they cut him. Pericak may head back to the practice squad.
It was a little surprising to see the team go with just eight linemen. They can get away with it because Cassius Marsh can play both defensive end and SAM LB. They effectively have nine linemen on the roster. Justin Hamilton upset the odds to earn a spot. He was solid throughout preseason, but I did not think he did enough to make the team comfortable letting a guy like Jordan Hill go. It was clear that Pete Carroll was as tired of Hill’s injury problems as we were. Brandin Bryant did not do enough in the end to earn a spot, but may be a great practice squad candidate. Ryan Robinson is in the same boat.
This went exactly as predicted. I wasn’t sure if the team might decide they liked Eric Pinkins more than Kevin Pierre-Louis, but in the end, they stuck with the still-underperforming Pierre-Louis. Both players greatest value is on special teams. Mike Morgan won the SAM LB spot, and Marsh will act as his backup.
I definitely did not expect to see Marcus Burley’s name on the cut list. He had a good preseason, has always been a solid role player during the regular season, and was a standout on special teams. The fact that Deandre Elliott made the squad over Tye Smith is not a shock. Smith just never developed. Elliott stood out in his final performance with a physical nature and what appears to be a better ability to play on the edge than either Smith or Burley. The team may consider Tyvis Powell to be a cornerback, but he certainly did not demonstrate a good ability to play that role yet. That essentially means the team now has a whopping seven safeties on the roster.
That’s right. Seven safeties. The Seahawks traded for two guys in Dewey McDonald and L.J. McCray who have reputations as special teams standouts. That part is not a big shock. The team has been lacking great special teams players since Heath Farwell and Chris Maragos left, not to mention Ricardo Lockette. They need some quality gunners, and these guys could do the trick. Powell also offers more on special teams right now than either safety or corner. That really makes Kelcie McCray and Steven Terrell the only backup safeties the Seahawks would seriously consider playing. I have been telling folks for weeks that Terrell was likely to make the roster.
Keenan Lambert may be a guy they look to sign to the practice squad. Should the team find a fullback or defensive lineman they like, one of these safeties would be the guy to go. As it stands, the team really doesn’t care what their position is. They mainly wanted to assemble the best special teams unit possible and it just so happened that Powell, McCray and McDonald are all part of that equation.
Nolan Freese made it. Let’s hope it truly was just a sore shoulder causing those poor snaps.