Instead of doing a write-up on the scrimmage, I decided to update my projected 53-man roster based on what I have seen so far in camp. A lot has changed since my first projection prior to camp starting. Let’s dive in.
This table shows how many players Pete Carroll and John Schneider have kept at each position group since they came aboard in 2010. It also shows what they did last year, and what I am projecting for this year.
Changes from the first projection include:
5 -> 6 Running backs
10 -> 9 Offensive linemen
6 -> 5 Cornerbacks
4 -> 5 Safeties
I will explain more below what led to these changes.
Geno Smith was marked as high confidence to make the roster last time. Paxton Lynch was given no shot. Things have changed. Lynch is at least on the bubble. Smith is still the likelier player to win the job, but preseason could very well swing things another direction.
J.D. McKissic jumped up the chart this week while Travis Homer slid. McKissic has been getting the bulk of the snaps as the third down back and has looked great. He’s also a good special teams player.
C.J. Prosise is a guy I have assumed will not make the roster. He is on the last year of his deal and has had a lot of durability issues. Watching the reps he is getting in practice and the way he is playing makes me think the team could very well keep him.
I continue to assume the team wants a fullback on the roster, so Nick Bellore makes it.
Homer was reportedly having a good camp, but he is definitely further down the depth chart from what I have seen and has not jumped out as a must-keep kind of player.
I originally had the team keeping two of Prosise, Bellore, and Homer, but ended up deciding Homer’s special team ability would prove a deciding factor at the back-end of the roster and pulled one offensive linemen off the list to create space.
Ugh. This is perennially agonizing. The team very rarely keeps six receivers. The receiver with the fifth-most targets last season was Jaron Brown with 19. After that, it was Malik Turner with 3 targets. Three. He only got those because the team cut Brandon Marshall.
It’s just hard to justify keeping six receivers unless one of the players is a big time special teams contributor like Ricardo Lockette was back in the day.
What I currently see happening is a pretty shocking cut of Gary Jennings. Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore and Jaron Brown are highly likely the first four. We are talking about which player gets that final receiver spot.
Turner has been the best gunner on special teams so far, and has outproduced many of the other receivers as well. He is exactly the kind of player you want at the back of the roster. The team would have confidence playing him in a game, as they have already, and he can contribute each week on special teams.
Assume for a second this is the proper receiver ranking, and that Jennings is on the outside looking in. His best bet to make the roster might be stealing from another position. For example, the team could decide to keep Jennings and let Prosise go. That is plausible.
The challenge there is Prosise is more likely to get snaps as a third-down back (even if he rotates with McKissic) than any sixth receiver on this roster. That would mean Jennings would spend the season on the inactive roster as he has not shown up as a special teams contributor yet.
I would hate to see Jennings scooped up by another team. He looks like a guy who could blossom. The team does have at least a couple additional intriguing receiver prospects who could more likely be stashed on the practice squad.
Jazz Ferguson has been having a nice camp, and is getting better as time wears on. Both he and John Ursua are appealing developmental prospects.
A new name to watch is recently signed Nyqwan Murray. He has made a series of plays in just two practices, including the scrimmage. He could push for a practice squad spot.
Will Dissly appears ready to start the regular season, which is great news. He played in the scrimmage and looks like he is close to full go.
Ed Dickson is getting an MRI, so that could shake things up if he’s out for an extended period.
I still have Jacob Hollister beating out Nick Vannett for the final tight end spot. Hollister is favorite target of all the QBs.
The top of this group remains set. There was some shuffling below.
Ethan Pocic was someone I had some doubts about making the roster given his near banishment last year under Mike Solari. He has been filling in for Mike Iupati of late, which indicates he is probably safe.
Jordan Simmons has remained healthy so far and has looked good.
I don’t believe anyone on the list after Simmons is a must-keep.
The question here is what will happen with Phil Haynes. He certainly is going to make this roster, but he has been on Physically Unable to Perform since camp started, so I’m guessing they will stash him there and let him develop the first six weeks of the season.
If he comes off that list, someone else falls off. That could either be Simmons or a player at a another position.
It is looking more and more like Ezekiel Ansah is going to start the season on the active roster. That doesn’t effect numbers much since Jarran Reed will begin the season on the suspended list.
A big change is Barkevious Mingo. I have moved him from linebacker to defensive line as I have only seen him at rush end during practice. He got pressure multiple times during the scrimmage, and has me thinking he is part of the solution to Seattle’s edge rush conundrum.
There is a chance L.J. Collier’s injury could be serious enough to put him on IR, but we won’t know for a few weeks so I am leaving him on the projected 53 for now.
As of right now, I don’t have Earl Mitchell or Branden Jackson making the roster. The team never keeps 10 defensive linemen.
The hope for a those guys would be either Collier goes on IR or the team cuts someone from the linebacker crew and think of Mingo as a backup linebacker if the need arises.
There have been questions about Shaquem Griffin. I like what I have seen so far and he is a core special teams player. I have him making the roster.
I also have Ben Burr-Kirven making it. There is definitely a chance one could be cut. Griffin is probably more at risk since Mingo can play SAM backup and Burr-Kirven is a WILL. But Cody Barton could also be the WILL back-up, as could Mychal Kendricks.
I just believe the team will get more value out of guys like Griffin and Burr-Kirven than Jefferson on the DL.
This is a tough group to project. Akeem King appears to have a firm grasp of a spot. Neiko Thorpe is a core special teams player. Jamar Taylor has really stepped forward the past couple of practices.
Then it gets questionable. Will the team keep DeShawn Shead? Or maybe one of the younger developmental guys?
I took this group down to five players because Ugo Amadi will be available as a backup nickel even if he is counted as a safety for now.
Lano Hill remains on PUP, but looks almost ready to come off. I just can’t see the team cutting any of Hill, Marquise Blair, or Amadi. In fact, it was hard to cut Shalom Luani who the team clearly likes and is a good special teamer. He likely goes to practice squad.
The god of punting will return. That is all that matters.