Seahawks' Armchair GM: Training Camp Defense

I gave you guys my training camp offensive roster already. As a refresher, here's how I'm going about compiling this team: I am going to refrain from 'making trades' and stick to the free agent market and UDFAs so this doesn't become too rosterbatory. I'll try to be realistic in my free agent signings but I'm not going to get into salary cap stuff because frankly that would require hours of research for something that is based on my fantasy here. Instead, I'll just use common sense for the most part while picking my 'ideal' team.

Now, I'm going to do this 'pre-training camp' to start with and then probably try and predict the 53-man roster as we actually get closer to the season. For now, I'll treat this like I'm the GM, and I've got to determine who to bring to camp. Right now, I believe the rules state that you can have 80 players on your training camp roster but for this exercise I've expanded it to 85. Roger Goodell hinted at the possibility of expanded rosters because of the lockout-shortened offseason so teams can get a better look at their young players and rookies so I'm going to go with 85, a number I pulled out of my arse.

The other big assumption I'm going to make is that the new CBA does not include the Final-8 rules. If it does, one of my free-agent signings would possibly not be allowed, but for the most part I've included guys that we could realistically sign even with the Final-8 in place.

To start off I'm going to just give you my list, you can peruse and critique; then I'll go through and explain each of my position groups in more detail down the line, and explain why I kept/cut/signed certain players. It will give us a good chance to talk about the players that are already on the Seahawks' roster and some guys that I think the Hawks should or could be looking at signing. Overall, it will be more than just me daydreaming about our roster - it will give us a good chance to take a look at the big picture of the team and provide a good refresher the state of the lineup.

I made two major free agent signings on the defensive side and three less major. The most important hole on the defense, the defensive line, was addressed by re-signing Brandon Mebane and bringing in DT Cullen Jenkins from Green Bay. Signing these two players, I believe, would be legal because if the CBA uses '10 rules then Mebane is an RFA and Jenkins an UDFA; Jenkins would count toward the one big-free agent signing and Mebane would be exempt as a RFA. Because, on the offensive side, Hasselbeck (presumably going to sign elsewhere for $6-8M) and Gallery will balance each other out, - I believe this would work. Jenkins is a versatile player with experience in a two-gapping 3-4 but could theoretically play at the 3-tech or the 5-tech; in this case I would think about bumping him in at the 3-tech and moving Mebane back to the 1-tech position. 

The other free agents I have signed are S Dashon Goldson, DT Alan Branch and LB Leroy Hill. Hill would come cheapish and add depth - and I believe still has enough in the tank to offer value; Goldson is a young up-and-coming safety, may be an unrestricted free agent, and could play a key role in the defense opposite Earl Thomas. He's a former Husky with ties to Roy Lewis, Isaiah Stanback and could come at a relatively low price. While I have high hopes for Mark LeGree (and Kam Chancellor), it's a pretty big gamble to assume either of them are ready to start on day one and Goldson can come in and be that guy. Branch, to me, seems to be a good candidate to provide depth at a number of spots on the line and most specifically would be a Red-Bryant's-knee insurance policy. If Bryant were to get hurt again, Branch could slide over to the five-tech spot and conceivably two-gap there much like Bryant did with success. 

One notable: I have signed free agent Vernon Gholston to try out at the LEO end spot for training camp. Why not? He recorded 14.5 sacks in 13 games as a LEO end in Ohio State's defense and has the physical attributes you look for in the position. Furthermore, he'd be cheap - with a chance to resurrect his career.  

I'll go into much more detail about who the Hawks have under contract, who I've let go, and who I've brought in with this exercise. Should give us a starting point to talk about the current state of the roster and where we need to get.

UPDATE: two more 'free-agent signings' that I didn't add would be Junior Siavii and Olindo Mare. Siavii would come relatively cheap as well, and Mare indicated the Hawks would get a hometown discount so he would be re-signed here as well. 

Safety (6)
Earl Thomas
--Dashon Goldson
Mark LeGree
Kam Chancellor
DeAndre McDaniel
Brian Lainhart

Cornerback/DB (10)
Marcus Trufant
Walter Thurmond
Roy Lewis
Josh Pinkard
Kennard Cox
Marcus Brown
Brandon Browner
Richard Sherman
Byron Maxwell
Darrin Walls

Linebacker (9)
Lofa Tatupu
David Hawthorne
Aaron Curry
KJ Wright
Malcolm Smith
--Leroy Hill
Jeff Tarpinian
Mario Harvey
Michael Morgan

LEO Ends (5)
Chris Clemons
Dexter Davis
Jay Richardson
--Vernon Gholston
Ugo Chinasa

5-Tech Ends (3)
Red Bryant
--Alan Branch
Pep Levingston

Defensive Tackles (8)
---Cullen Jenkins
Brandon Mebane
Colin Cole
Kentwan Balmer
Junior Siavii
Jay Alford (can also long-snap)
Cedric Thornton
Martin Parker

Specialists (3)
Clint Gresham
Olindo Mare
Jon Ryan

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