With the preseason now over and roster cuts forthcoming over the next 24 hours, it's time to do our final projection of who will make the Seahawks' 53-man roster.
There's a few veteran cuts, some roster gymnastics and a presumption that Seattle will add to the roster over the weekend via waiver claims. Also, we're presuming that Earl Thomas' hold out continues into at least next week in this projection.
So without further delay, here's our thoughts on the roster:
QB (2): Russell Wilson, Brett Hundley.
This position was solidified with the Wednesday addition of Hundley via a trade with the Green Bay Packers. There was a slight hesitation as to whether to keep Alex McGough through at least the first week since Hundley has zero practices with the team and would need to backup next Sunday in Denver. However, with Hundley already in Seattle and 10 days to cram, we decided to go with just the two quarterbacks. McGough is a prime practice squad candidate should he clear waivers.
RB (5): Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic.
Give the injury to J.D. McKissic, it seems as though Seattle will keep five running backs. Carson and Penny are locks. Davis has performed well throughout camp and the preseason. Prosise has a unique skill set and fills a similar role to McKissic as a pass catching option.
The only debate was whether to keep a fullback or not. We decided against it. Tre Madden didn't play a snap in the team's third preseason game in Minnesota and Seattle has used tight ends as H-backs before and appear willing to do so again. While he's a competent special teams player, it just seems as if Seattle can fill this role in other ways. Daniel Marx could end up on the practice squad as well.
TE (3): Nick Vannett, Will Dissly, Tyrone Swoopes.
Ed Dickson hasn't been cleared to come off the non-football injury list and Pete Carroll acknowledged earlier this week he'd had a setback. With that in mind, we're assuming he begins the year on the reserve/non-football injury list and becomes unavailable until after Week Six.
Vannett, Dissly and Swoopes have been the top three tight ends throughout camp. Vannett and Dissly are locks. Swoopes would seem to be in this scenario as well as he's been involved in multiple special teams units as well.
WR (6): Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall, David Moore, Amara Darboh.
The top five on this list are locked in with little debate. Once Marshall got up to speed in camp, he looked ready to be a factor. Moore has impressed at every turn as well. The debate is for the sixth spot, which could be the most singularly uncertain spot on the entire roster. Marcus Johnson, Keenan Reynolds, Demore'ea Stringfellow and Darboh all could make claims they deserve the spot. Ultimately, we sided with the 2017 third-round pick with the though Seattle wouldn't want to see Alex Collins 2.0 occur with Darboh becoming a player elsewhere after giving up on a top pick so quickly. But we won't be surprised if Johnson or Reynolds are the final player kept either.
OL (9): Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Rees Odhiambo, Joey Hunt, Jamarco Jones*
The starting five are set. Fant and Hunt are clearly set to be backups. Odhiambo has played a bunch and can play guard or tackle, so he's in as well.
But this is where we get a little nutty for a minute. This is a projection of who will be on the roster following cuts on Saturday. The caveat here is that a player must be on a 53-man roster to be eligible to return from injured reserve during the season. With that in mind, we believe Seattle will keep Jones on the initial cut down so they can get him to that IR list and preserve his ability to return midseason. In tandem, they will release J.R. Sweezy who as a veteran player would not go through waivers and would be free to return to the team in the coming days.
For Sweezy it would be a paper move only. His contract wouldn't be effected. He could sign the same deal again on Monday once the move with Jones is done and be back on the practice field as if he was on the roster the whole time. And despite his ankle injury, it appears as though Sweezy is a part of the team's plans this season. If they wanted to wait and re-sign Sweezy after Week One so his contract wouldn't become guaranteed, that is an option as well and would likely lead to Jordan Roos being the one re-signed. However, he would have to clear waivers first unlike Sweezy.
DE (5): Frank Clark, Dion Jordan, Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson, Rasheem Green.
This could easily be just four players if Jordan isn't close enough to come off the physically unable to perform list. We're betting that he is giving the recent comments made by Pete Carroll.
It's worth keeping in mind that Seattle also uses it's strong-side linebackers as pass rushers, which factors in here a bit as well since Jackson and Jefferson are more run-first ends than premium pass rush threats.
Green has been stellar during the preseason and should contribute as well.
DT (5): Jarran Reed, Tom Johnson, Nazair Jones, Shamar Stephen, Poona Ford.
This is one of the more clear positions on the roster. The top four guys since locked into the roster and Ford has made an impression as well. Since finding good big guys can be difficult to do, we think Ford finds a spot on the 53.
LB (6): Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Barkevious Mingo, Shaquem Griffin, Jacob Martin, Austin Calitro.
Another fairly clear-cut position group. Mingo and Martin will contribute as pass rushers in addition to SAM linebacker duties. Calitro has appeared serviceable as a backup middle linebacker to Wagner. Griffin will likely start in place of an injured Wright next week. D.J. Alexander has been banged up and fallen a bit in the depth discussions.
CB (5): Shaquill Griffin, Justin Coleman, Dontae Johnson, Tre Flowers, Akeem King.
The biggest surprise here may be not keeping Byron Maxwell. However, Maxwell has been unavailable to play all preseason due to a groin injury that surfaced prior to the preseason opener against the Colts. Coupled with Maxwell electing to skip all of the voluntary offseason program, it just seems as though his spot isn't as secure as he may believe it is.
Johnson has started the last two games at right cornerback and would likely get the start against Denver as well. Griffin, Coleman and Flowers are locks. However, Flowers is still developing after a conversion from safety in college. Neiko Thorpe has been injured but could potentially return to the team in season.
This is a position where we feel that a waiver claim is ripe to occur, but for now we're keeping King as the fifth cornerback.
S (4): Bradley McDougald, Tedric Thompson, Maurice Alexander, Delano Hill.
Earl Thomas is still nowhere to be found and we're assuming that continues for now. Alexander was playing some weakside linebacker in the preseason finale as well, indicating he may be called upon to backup Shaquem Griffin is K.J. Wright can't play. Hill has been uninspiring but - like Darboh - is a third-round pick from last year and probably too early to abandon. He is a solid special teams contributor. Lorenzo Jerome has played well at times and could be practice squad bound.
ST (3): Sebastian Janikowski, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott.
This one was settled with the release of Jon Ryan and Jason Myers midway through the preseason.
NFI (1): Ed Dickson
DNR (1): Earl Thomas
As noted above, we believe Dickson will start on the reserve/non-football injury list and Thomas will remain on the reserve/did not report list.
Photo Credit: CARSON, CA - AUGUST 18: Detrez Newsome #38 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball as he is chased by Poona Ford #97 of the Seattle Seahawks during a 24-14 preseason Charger win at StubHub Center on August 18, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)