The Seahawks are going to be off for the next month. So, what do we do with a lull in activity? Prognosticate! So, here's my way too early 53-man roster prediction, version 1.0. All caveats apply - this is just an educated guess, there may be guys who emerge in training camp, or guys that get hurt in training camp, shuffling the depth charts, etc.
Also, for whatever reason, I tend to underestimate the value of 'veterans' and tend to overproject young players - hence this will be a very young roster, from a depth point of view. I do think Pete Carroll has youth-leanings like this though - he's not afraid to keep the younger of two 'equals' and he's not afraid to play guys early in their careers, so it's not just pure rosterbation on my part.
Here's my first go. I'm sure this will change as the offseason goes on.
QB1 Russell Wilson 5'10,215
QB2 Tarvaris Jackson 6'2,225
On the bubble/on the outs: With Tarvaris back in town, that pushes Brady Quinn down the depth chart, and Jerrod Johnson even further down as well. I think it will be Russell and T-Jack - and Jerrod Johnson will go to the practice squad, assuming he's not signed by another team after he goes to waivers. Quinn hits free agency yet again.
RUNNING BACK (5):
RB1 Marshawn Lynch 5'11,215
RB2 Robert Turbin 5'10,222
RB Christine Michael 5'10,221
RB Spencer Ware 5'10,229
FB1 Michael Robinson 6'1,240
On the bubble/on the outs: This one is obviously a toughie. Baltimore recently set the 'we drafted a fullback even though we already have a very good, older, well paid one under contract' precedent, then went about releasing said All-Pro/Pro Bowl fullback and steely locker room leader & trusty Ray Rice lead-blocker Vonta Leach over a $3M cap hit. Still, at the end of the day, I am leaning, right now, that Seattle will go with five in their backfield, at least to start the season. Because Turbin, Michael, Ware, and Robinson can all be key special teams contributors, this is something the team feels it can do. I don't feel very strongly about this though, because five seems like a lot. We shall see.
FB/RB Derrick Coleman is the 'sure' odd man out.
WIDE RECEIVER (5):
Z1 Sidney Rice 6'4,202
S1/KR Percy Harvin 5'11,200
X1/PR Golden Tate 5'10,202
WR Doug Baldwin 5'10,189
WR Chris Harper 6'1, 232
On the bubble/on the outs: If Seattle goes with only five receivers to start the year, they can do so because they get solid special teams contributors from the running back, linebackers, and defensive back groups.
Regardless, Harper likely won't get much playing time in year one outside of special teams, and barring any injuries, the four of Rice, Harvin, Tate, and Baldwin will get a lot of targets.
It was hard for me to go with only five receivers, particularly because Seattle has fourteen receivers on their roster right now. This means that Jermaine Kearse, Phil Bates, Stephen Williams, Charly Martin, Brett Swain, Bryan Walters, Greg Herd, Justin Veltung, and Arceto Clark are all on the outs. I'd guess that one of Kearse or Bates would revert to the Practice Squad, and Williams, Walters, Herd, Veltung, and Martin would hit the 'ghost roster' status if they aren't picked up elsewhere. Speed-dial in the case of an injury.
TIGHT END (3):
TE1 Zach Miller 6'5,255
TE Luke Willson 6'5,260
TE Sean McGrath 6'5,255
On the bubble/on the outs: This one is fairly straight forward, as it stands right now. Darren Fells is Practice Squad material, and Cooper Helfet & Victor Marshall are ghost roster material. Wouldn't be surprised to see Seattle add to this group though before it's all said and done.
OFFENSIVE LINE (10):
LT1 Russell Okung 6'5,310
LG1 James Carpenter 6'5,321
C1 Max Unger 6'5,305
RG1 J.R. Sweezy 6'5,305
RT1 Breno Giacomini 6'7,318
RT2 Michael Bowie 6'5,330
LT2 Mike Person 6'4,310
G/T Alvin Bailey 6'3, 312
G/C Ryan Seymour 6'4,300
G/C John Moffitt 6'4,319
On the bubble/on the outs: The offensive line cuts are going to be super interesting, because this was one of the hardest groups for me. The big name I left off here is Paul McQuistan, and that's a huge, huge question mark for me. I tend to lean toward the idea that Seattle really likes Mike Person as their backup left tackle/swing tackle (been drawing nice reviews and he's gained ten pounds over the offseason to get right up around 310), and are comfortable enough with their depth at guard, that if Person can perform in training camp and preseason, he'll make McQuistan more expendable (that's a huge 'if').
Right now, McQ has a $3.375M cap hit and he's 30. He's very valuable as a backup left tackle or swing tackle, but again, if you have younger, cheaper players pushing him in the talent department (which we don't really know yet), that makes for an interesting scenario. Take some money off the books and lose a key depth guy, but hope to further develop some young depth.
So... right now, I've penciled in Okung/Carpenter/Unger/Sweezy/Giacomini as the starting five, with Michael Bowie and Mike Person as the backup tackles. I think Alvin Bailey might be a guy that impresses enough in the preseason to earn himself a spot as a backup G/T, and Ryan Seymour and John Moffitt get spots due to their versatility on the interior at both guard and center.
Pushing Moffitt and Seymour for their jobs will be Rishaw Johnson (whom I really hated leaving off of this list) and Lemuel Jeanpierre. I think that Jared "Fat Rabbit" Smith is a practice squad/ghost roster guy, as is Jake Bscherer. I think there's a good chance that Rishaw Johnson leapfrogs Bailey or Seymour (or perhaps even Moffitt), but that might just be wishful thinking on my part. The rookie Bailey has the advantage that he's been playing tackle in mini-camps, something that I don't think Johnson can boast, so there's a versatility factor there.
TOTAL OFFENSE: 25
DEFENSIVE LINE: (10)
5T1 Red Bryant 6'4, 323
5T2 Jesse Williams 6'3,323
NT1 Brandon Mebane 6'1,311
NT2 Jordan Hill 6'1, 302
3T1 Tony McDaniel 6'7, 310
3T2 Jaye Howard 6'3,301
DE/DT Michael Bennett 6'4, 275
LEO Cliff Avril 6'3,260
LEO Ty Powell, 6'2,249
LEO Kenneth Boatright, 6'3, 256
The way that I've been talking about this with Davis over the past few months is to think about it like this: picture seven 'base' defensive ends/defensive tackles, plus three LEOs for the total 10 players in the 'defensive line' group.
Because Chris Clemons is still up in the air and Bruce Irvin will be on suspension to start the year (not taking up a roster spot), I think the three 'LEOs' will end up being Cliff Avril, Ty Powell, and Kenneth Boatright. This is pretty scary, actually. I think Mike Morgan will give Powell and Boatright some competition at the LEO spot and he may beat out one of those guys, because he's got more experience, but for now, those are the three LEOs. Just pray that Cliff Avril's foot is okay.
Obviously, by Week 6 or Week 8 or so, that group will change dramatically, but to start the year, that's a shaky group. Perhaps Seattle will hit the waiver wires to fill that 'Boatright/Morgan' spot for a few weeks until Irvin returns.
On the bubble/on the outs: In the scenario above, the main 'surprise' cut is Clinton McDonald. I think the team likes what they get from McDonald and he's a nice backup/complement to Brandon Mebane, but the fact is, he's playing out his restricted free agency tender year and will get pushed at NT by Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill and at 3-technique by Jordan Hill, Jaye Howard, and Tony McDaniel (and Michael Bennett in nickel).
I think the team will look to develop those three guys and use McDaniel/Bennett over McDonald, and ultimately it will come down to two guys: McDonald or Tony McDaniel, for that final 'seventh' roster spot on the DL. Considering Tony McDaniel brings the length that Seattle likes at that spot, right now I'm thinking he gets the nod.
Obviously, to start the year, I've projected that Chris Clemons will be on the PUP list and Irvin on the suspended list, so once those guys return, things will shake up. Also, Greg Scruggs will go to the Injured Reserve.
Key cuts will be Benson Mayowa and Michael Brooks, either of whom could land on the practice squad.
MLB1 Bobby Wagner 6'0,241
MLB John Lutolelei 5'11, 233
WLB1 K.J. Wright 6'4,246
SLB Malcolm Smith 6'0,226
SLB Korey Toomer 6'2,234
On the bubble/on the outs: Seattle tends to go with five linebackers, and the one main cut here will be special teams standout Heath Farwell. Farwell will face competition from Korey Toomer and John Lotulelei and ultimately I'm projecting that Seattle will like what they get out of those two on special teams, enough to release the veteran Farwell and his $1.66M cap hit. Past that, Alan Bradford has a chance to put himself into the mix, I think, and he could beat out Lotulelei or Toomer, and Mike Morgan is another x-factor, because of his ability to also play at the LEO spot in a pinch.
Kyle Knox and Craig Wilkins are the 'sure' casualties from this group, barring injuries.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (10):
CB1 Brandon Browner 6'4,221
CB1 Richard Sherman 6'3,195
FS1 Earl Thomas 5'10,202
SS1 Kam Chancellor 6'3,232
NB1 Antoine Winfield 5'10,180
NB2 Walter Thurmond 5'11,190
CB3 Jeremy Lane 6'0,190
CB4 Tharold Simon 6'2,205
SS2 Winston Guy 6'1,217
FS2 Jeron Johnson 5'10, 212
BB, Sherm, Kam and Earl are easy locks. So are Winfield, and likely Walter Thurmond. Past that, DeShawn Shead, Byron Maxwell, Will Blackmon, and Ron Parker will be battling with Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon for the fifth and sixth cornerback spots (in other words, it's six guys battling for two spots). It's anybody's guess who wins out there, but my guess right now is that Lane and Simon emerge. Who knows, though.
Backups at safety are similarly up in the air. I went with Winston Guy and Jeron Johnson, but Chris Maragos will obviously be pushing for a roster spot as well. What Maragos has against him is a $1.3M cap number, and the cap conscious front office might look to get more value from one of their young fellers.
One darkhorse for one of the backup safety spots is actually possibly DeShawn Shead, because while the team has really liked what he brings at the cornerback position (he was on the active 53-man roster to end the year), he has some experience at safety as well. Same goes for Ron Parker, who played a single-high safety position at Newberry. Versatility reigns at the bottom of the roster, and ultimately it may fall to whoever plays best on 'teams - look at Ron or DeShawn to surprise.
On the bubble/on the outs: In this scenario, DeShawn Shead, Byron Maxwell, Will Blackmon, and Ron Parker will all be gone, which makes me sad. Maxwell is one guy that could surprise and jump back ahead of Jeremy Lane, but Lane has one more year of club control and generally hasn't been as injury prone as Maxwell has been. Ray Polk and Chris Maragos will be the odd men out at safety.
TOTAL DEFENSE: 25
P Jon Ryan
LS Clint Gresham
K Steven Hauschka
I don't know who the hell will be their kicker. So I went with the incumbent. Meaning Carson 'Wiggy Bank' Wiggs reverts to Ghost Roster Protocol.
Ok, so there's my 53. I am in no way going to stand faithfully behind this prediction for longer than about a few hours, but that's where I am right now. Your turn.