The Seahawks will have to trim their roster from 90 players down to 53 players by 1 p.m. PT on Saturday afternoon.
This is an attempt to project whom exactly will be a part of the team's initial 53-man roster. It's also almost certain to be incorrect. Nevertheless, it's a good excuse to summarize the entirety of the team's offseason work and present a landscape of where the team stands at the end of the preseason.
It's impossible to project if the team will make trades to bring new players into the roster as a part of their cut-down process. It certainly wouldn't be a surprise with Seattle lacking at a couple positions, but this projection is purely a guess as to what the cuts will be.
Keep in mind that the roster will change again on Sunday when players released across the league become available through waivers as well. It will then change on a regular basis throughout the regular season based on injuries and changing needs. But that comes later, so without further ado here's our projection.
Seahawks projected roster:
QB (2): Russell Wilson, Geno Smith
I think the Wilson guy has a pretty good chance of making the roster. Additionally, Geno Smith has been clearly the victor of the backup quarterback battle throughout the offseason. The only limiting factor here could be the status of Smith's knee. Smith had a cyst removed from his knee two weeks ago and left Thursday night's preseason game late in the second quarter after being sacked and came up favoring his knee. Smith said after the game that
Paxton Lynch would be a possible practice squad consideration should he clear waivers.
RB (5): Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic, Nick Bellore
Carson and Penny have been locks all along. Prosise's return to form shows again why the Seahawks have continued to give him chances through his myriad of injury issues. McKissic gives the team a versatile player that can return kicks and punts as well and Bellore gives the team a dedicated fullback and special teams piece.
Rookie Travis Homer, Bo Scarbrough and Xavier Turner have all made plays as well. However, there are a number of capable running backs floating around the NFL universe and Seattle may believe they can get Homer to the practice squad without much issue. And if not, Scarbrough or Turner could end up there instead.
TE (3): Will Dissly, Nick Vannett, Jacob Hollister
Ed Dickson is still not healthy following a knee surgery roughly four weeks ago. Dissly and Vannett are seemingly locks to make the roster and Hollister has drawn praise throughout the offseason as a receiving option after being acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots.
Dickson may be destined for injured reserve as his knee continues to heal. Additionally, George Fant's ability to play tight end as an extra blocker also gives the team the flexibility to move on from Dickson, who is a strong blocker when healthy.
WR (6): Tyler Lockett, David Moore, Jaron Brown, DK Metcalf, Gary Jennings, John Ursua
Some uncertainty was created at wide receiver due to injuries to David Moore and DK Metcalf in the last two weeks. Moore will miss the start of the year with a fractured humerus bone and Metcalf may be unavailable for Week 1 after a minor knee surgery. However, four options appear to be pretty solid locks at this point in Lockett, Moore, Brown and Metcalf.
Ursua has made a strong case for the roster and seems like a good bet as well. The big question comes down to fourth-round pick Gary Jennings Jr.
Jennings has had only a few bright spots during training camp and the preseason, but he also dealt with injuries that set him back early on as well. The Seahawks have only released a fourth-round pick before the start of the regular season once in Pete Carroll and John Schneider's tenure with the franchise: Chris Harper in 2013. Jennings would become the highest drafted player selected by Carroll and Schneider to be released should that happen.
However, the question is whether any other options have truly done enough to warrant taking his roster spot. Undrafted rookie Jazz Ferguson would seemingly be the closest to doing so. If "Always Compete" is a firm and fast rule, Ferguson probably makes the roster. If it's a more fungible concept given other variables, Jennings may very well stick around. Additionally, it's tough to swallow admitting a mistake on a fourth-round pick this early on. That's not saying that Jennings IS a mistake at this point, but it would be admitting it as such should he be let go at this stage.
At this point, I don't think that's a route the Seahawks will take.
OL (9): Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Ethan Pocic, Jamarco Jones, Marcus Martin
The starting line has been in place all throughout camp. Fant and Jones are competent reserve tackles with Pocic and Martin being guard/center swing options. Joey Hunt likely would have been the backup center except for the high-ankle sprain he sustained in the third preseason game that will potentially lead to him being waived/injured or placed on injured reserve. With Iupati questionable for the opener, Pocic would be needed to start at left guard and Martin would need to be kept as a backup center to have all the bases covered.
DE (6): Ezekiel Ansah, Quinton Jefferson, L.J. Collier, Cassius Marsh, Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin
The defensive line is the most uncertain are of the team in a lot of ways. The team lacks proven pass rush production and needs young defensive ends to step up to the plate. Ansah is expected to be ready for Week 1 and Collier seems to be making significant strides in his recovery from an ankle sprain.
Barkevious Mingo hasn't flashed all that much given ample playing time this preseason and the team could save $4.1 million in cap space by releasing him. That would seemingly put him on the wrong side of the ledger at this stage.
DT (3): Poona Ford, Al Woods, Earl Mitchell
Ford is the team's top defensive tackle with Jarran Reed set to miss six games due to suspension. Woods is a reliable veteran that was a captain in Indianapolis last year. I went with Mitchell as the last tackle due to the youth of the defensive line, but Jamie Meder could easily be the choice instead. Jefferson, Collier and Green are all options that could slide inside to tackle at times as well.
LB (6): Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Austin Calitro, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven
Wagner, Wright, Kendricks and Barton are locks. Calitro has been perhaps the most consistent performer in the preseason and won a spot again.
This list doesn't include Shaquem Griffin, who is dealing with a knee injury that is going to have a second MRI. Griffin played only sparingly in Thursday night's preseason game after his bruised knee flared up yet again. The assumption here is that the issue leads to Griffin being placed on injured reserve with Burr-Kirven getting the final linebacker spot. However, Griffin could easily be kept as well with Burr-Kirven trying to be floated through to the practice squad.
CB (5): Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Jamar Taylor, Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe
This is a position that feels ripe for an outside addition.
Griffin and Flowers are the clear starters and Thorpe is a special teams mainstay. Taylor and King have each had their moments in the preseason but have been inconsistent. Safeties Ugo Amadi and DeShawn Shead have also played cornerback and could factor into the mix here as well, but the Seahawks could try to find the next Marcus Burley or Justin Coleman by making a cut-down weekend deal to add a cornerback to the roster.
S (5): Bradley McDougald, Tedric Thompson, Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi, Lano Hill
McDougald and Thompson have been the starters all offseason long. Blair is dealing with a hip pointer issue in his back that led to his early departure from Thursday's game against Oakland. That could put a primacy on making sure a second strong safety reserve is around on the roster.
For now, Lano Hill gets that spot over Shead. The Seahawks have spoken highly of Hill's play, but he missed most of camp with injury. However, Shead could be a candidate for being released for the first week of the year before ultimately being brought back when veteran contracts are no longer guaranteed.
ST (3): Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
This has been set since March.
PUP (2): Phil Haynes, Demarcus Christmas
Hayes (sports hernia) and Christmas (back) have not been able to get on the field in training camp. They'll have a chance to mix in after the first six weeks of the season.
SUS (1): Jarran Reed
Reed is out until mid-October after a suspension stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident.
IR (X): Shaquem Griffin, Joey Hunt, Jordan Simmons, Ed Dickson, Nazair Jones, Kalan Reed, Emmanuel Ellerbee, Demetrius Knox
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 29: C.J. Prosise #22 of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball in the first half against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL preseason game at CenturyLink Field on August 29, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)