Seahawks 53-man roster prediction 2.0

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

This is take two. Here's take one. Version 1.0 was created on June 14th, but some things have changed since then, eh? Let's dig in. Oh, and don't pay much attention to the positional designations I've played with on my table below - I realize that guys play more than one position and the depth chart is very fluid at any given time.

The major difference between this iteration and the first is that I went with five running backs, six receivers, three tight ends and nine offensive linemen this time around (instead of 5-5-3-10). I actually think the team will end up with ten on the OL, but I wanted to see how it would go in this exercise.

Here's how the 90-man roster sits today. Blue = free agent; green = draft pick; purple = UDFA.

Screen_shot_2013-08-02_at_9

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK (2):

QB1 Russell Wilson 5'10, 215
QB2 Tarvaris Jackson 6'2, 225

Notes: There's really not a ton to say here. Wilson is the obvious starter, Jackson seems like the logical backup.

On the bubble/on the outs: I just don't think Brady Quinn will beat Tarvaris Jackson out for the backup job.

RUNNING BACK (5):

RB1 Marshawn Lynch 5'11, 215
RB Robert Turbin 5'10, 222
RB/KR Christine Michael 5'10, 221
RB Spencer Ware 5'10, 229
FB Michael Robinson 6'1, 240

Notes: With Percy Harvin headed to the PUP list (or the IR-with-return-designation), I think the Hawks will keep six receivers, which means I also think they'll roll with either - four running backs, three tight ends and ten offensive linemen - or five backs, three tight ends, and nine offensive linemen.

Sidney Rice should be fine to play once the season rolls around but with Rice, there are always injury concerns, now more so because of his knee treatments. I think Rice will be fine, but Seattle may want to roll with six receivers and hang on to camp superstar Stephen Williams to be his proxy in case he misses any time. Likewise, other camp superstar Jermaine Kearse adds a steady presence to the unit and can play any of the three spots, so that adds value. Adding to the idea the Hawks will keep six receivers is the fact that Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate are free agents after this season, so Seattle would be behooved to develop talent and get some of their depth guys experience with their franchise QB. Oh, I'm supposed to be talking about running backs here.

Ok, so here we are. I just don't think Seattle will cut Spencer Ware. He won't make it to the practice squad, in my opinion, so stop with that scenario, because it's super unlikely. I may be biased because I really liked Ware before the draft as well, but I think he fits perfectly what the Hawks are doing and has the potential to develop into a high-caliber versatile back that offers a lot in physical toughness, tenacity, a downhill running style, and excellent receiving skills. I think they have a plan for Ware as a hybrid fullback/halfback type and in some ways he reminds me of Alfred Morris - who was a later-round pick based on a lack of elite speed measureables, but was/is obviously well suited to the power zone scheme meant to wear down opponents, particularly late in games.

I believe Seattle Times writer Jayson Jenks pointed out yesterday that last year, only two teams were top-5 in the NFL in rush attempts, yards, yards per carry, and yards per game: Washington and Seattle. So, I think the two teams have some similar philosophies as to the types of backs they like.

Ware was picked because the Hawks saw him as the toughest runner in all of college football last season - he's not going to be your bell cow, but he's a guy that can go out onto the field and wear down a defense as the Seahawks look to salt away a game, handle short yardage carries, and contribute on special teams. Also, he's got light tread on the tires and is only 21 years old.

Now, that leaves the question of keeping four or five backs to what the team plans to do with Michael Robinson. We've covered this a lot here and at this point nothing has really changed, other than the idea that Derrick Coleman has emerged a little bit in the competition there as well. Robinson is 30. He's due $2.5 million, which puts him among the highest-paid fullbacks in the league.

Recently, the Ravens released their 30-year old All-Pro fullback, and he failed to garner much interest on the market. Why, because of the flat cap and because most teams don't really use fullbacks anymore. After Baltimore lost starting TE Dennis Pitta for the season, they decided they would play draft pick Kyle Juszcsyk as an H-back and thus were able to re-sign Leach back to a two-year deal worth $840,000 in the first year and $1.75M in the second year, with a $1.16 million signing bonus (pro-rated out over two years). In other words, Leach, the best fullback in the NFL, is going to count about $1.5M against the cap. I don't know if the Hawks will quibble over that ~$1.0M or so, but it will be interesting to see if they approach him about a paycut.

Theoretically, if they do not want to pay Robinson and Robinson does not want to stay in Seattle, Derrick Coleman offers some insurance as a guy that has practiced at fullback with the team for almost a year now, and has been getting some nice reviews in camp thus far. Coleman is on a cheap UDFA rookie deal and is also only 21 years old. This simply gives the Seahawks some leverage.

Regardless, I don't know what the hell the Hawks will do with Robinson - they may just decide to do nothing with his deal and let him play out his final season - but it's safe to say that four or five roster spots will be dedicated to running back/fullback.

On the bubble/on the outs: Spencer Ware, Michael Robinson, and Derrick Coleman are all possible bubble guys.

WIDE RECEIVER (6):

Z1 Sidney Rice, 6'4, 210
X1/PR Golden Tate 5'10, 202
WR Doug Baldwin 5'10, 189
WR Chris Harper 6'1, 232
WR Stephen Williams, 6'5, 208
WR Jermaine Kearse, 6'1, 215

Notes: Rice, Tate, and Baldwin are the locks. Harper is a big question mark, but maybe I'm just including him here because I am sick of the Seahawks missing on fourth-round picks. Past that, it's looking like Williams and Kearse are solidifying their leads over the competition.

The x-factor here is going to be Bryan Walters, who offers some kick return value and who would likely be a nice option in the slot for the Seahawks. He's apparently had a really good camp, and seems to have a good rapport with Russell Wilson. If there are any more injuries or if Harper doesn't really impress much over the next four weeks, I could see Walters pull a Charly Martin and make the 53-man roster over one of Harper/Williams/Kearse.

On the bubble/on the outs: I don't think that Perez Ashford, Brett Swain, or Arceto Clark will make the cut, but they're guys to watch. Percy Harvin will go to PUP or IR.

TIGHT END (3):

TE Zach Miller 6'5, 255
TE Luke Willson 6'5, 260
TE Sean McGrath 6'5, 255

Notes: Right now, this is the obvious group. That said, it will be interesting to see what Jameson Konz can do at tight end because he certainly provides an athletic freak-of-nature factor to the group. Michael Palmer is insurance, I think, for the potential Zach Miller foot/feet injury.

Past that, Fells hasn't really done anything to separate himself, according to the reports out of camp he can't catch very well, and Lintz hasn't practiced with the team after being signed yesterday.

Cooper Helfet is the x-factor of this group. He's had a good camp, is said to have excellent hands, and came out of Duke in 2011 as an athletic move-type of receiving tight end that caught a ton of passes in their offense. He's definitely a guy to watch in the preseason, and could be the main bubble guy to surprise. I don't know if he's got enough versatility to move past McGrath (who has gotten very good reviews thus far) or Willson, but if there's another injury, he could be the guy.

On the bubble/on the outs: Helfet, Fells, Palmer, Konz, and Lintz. In no particular order.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9):

LT1 Russell Okung 6'5, 310
LG1 James Carpenter 6'5, 340
C1 Max Unger 6'5, 305
RG1 J.R. Sweezy 6'5, 305
RT1 Breno Giacomini 6'7, 318
OT Michael Bowie 6'5, 330
T/C Mike Person 6'4, 310
G/T Alvin Bailey 6'3, 312
G/C John Moffitt 6'4, 319

Notes: With nine offensive linemen in this scenario, there are going to be some surprising cuts. In this example, the crazy surprise is Paul McQuistan, who has been practicing with the ones all during camp. Am I convinced this will happen? No, but I think the Seahawks are willing to take chances like this when they like the young depth they've accumulated. McQuistan is in the same position as Michael Robinson - the last year of his deal, relatively high-priced, and not exceptionally out ahead of the depth behind him. McQuistan's main value in my mind is that he's able to play left tackle, but with both Alvin Bailey and Mike Person getting a lot of reps there and reportedly playing well, McQuistan's value diminishes slightly.

Now - I realize this is a prediction post but I'm not necessarily predicting that McQuistan will be cut. I did want to throw out the scenario though with the consideration that Seattle somehow keeps only nine OL. This is a young club, and to keep some of their rising stars around down the line, certain cuts must be made now in a cap savings effort. McQuistan counts $3M against the cap, and may not even start. I'm going to go ahead and say he probably won't start, because I'm higher than most on what James Carpenter will bring this year.

So, McQuistan is top-shelf depth, but will Seattle be happy enough with the talent they've constructed on the OL to drop that luxury? Michael Bowie has gotten good reviews in camp and theoretically provides great depth at both tackle spots (he played LT in college), Mike Person has as well at left tackle, plus has been playing some center, so he provides positional versatility. Alvin Bailey played both guard spots in college and is now performing well at left tackle. More positional versatility. John Moffitt can play guard or center. With each of these guys able to play multiple spots, can they replace McQuistan in the aggregate? That will be interesting to see.

Overall, I don't feel super strongly about my 'prediction' because I am probably going to end up wrong, both in numbers and players. It's a scenario I wanted to present though.

On the bubble/on the outs: The guy that I hate to leave off of this list is Rishaw Johnson. He's a bit limited in that he's mostly just playing guard in camp (I think), but he's just one of those guys that I've been hoping will break out. Jared Smith and Ryan Seymour feel like practice squad candidates, and Lemuel Jeanpierre is also in the final year of his rookie deal, so perhaps Seattle is thinking longer term with their depth.

TOTAL OFFENSE: 25

DEFENSE:

DEFENSIVE LINE: (7)

5T1 Red Bryant 6'4, 323
5T2 Jaye Howard 6'3,301
NT1 Brandon Mebane 6'1,311
NT2 Jesse Williams 6'3,323
3T1 Tony McDaniel 6'7, 310
3T2 Jordan Hill 6'1, 302
DE/DT Michael Bennett 6'4, 275

Jaye Howard's ability to play at the 5-technique (allegedly, per the coaching staff) likely earns him a roster spot - and it seems that Howard has been playing pretty well in camp. I don't know exactly where Jesse Williams has been lining up, but I get the impression that he's a nose tackle.

Tony McDaniel and Jordan Hill project as the team's 3-technique tackles, and again, I'm guessing the Jaye Howard will get some action there as well. Michael Bennett will be a jack-of-all-trades, playing at the end and on the inside, I would guess, depending on the down and distance. I see all these players as locks or near-locks, so the bubble falls to guys like Clinton McDonald (in final year of his contract) and Michael Brooks. That's it.

On the bubble/on the outs: Brooks or McDonald may take the spot of Tony McDaniel on the roster - that's how I see it right now. Greg Scruggs will go to PUP or IR.

LINEBACKER/LEO (8):

MLB1 Bobby Wagner 6'0,241
WLB1 K.J. Wright 6'4,246
SLB Malcolm Smith 6'0,226
LB John Lutolelei 5'11, 233
LB Allen Bradford 5'11, 235

LEO Cliff Avril 6'3, 260
LEO O'Brien Schofield 6'3, 242
LEO Benson Mayowa 6'3, 252

With the linebacker and LEO positions sort of melding together this year, the roster numbers look a little different. I'm including LEO candidates with the linebackers, because Pete Carroll and Dan Quinn have mentioned several times that the strongside backer and the LEO require essentially the same type of player.

I think we see O'Brien Schofield and Benson Mayowa line up at SAM linebackers and as LEO weakside defensive ends to start, and I think that Cliff Avril will get some action in there as well (though you might consider him more of a defensive end). The LEO spot is thin until week 4, when Bruce Irvin returns, and until Chris Clemons returns, likely after Week 6 (but maybe earlier?).

Once Seattle is back to full strength, the LEO corps will be pretty damn strong with Clemons, Irvin, Avril, and Schofield all able to contribute (in theory). I've included Mayowa as a part of the initial 53-man roster because of the hype he's received in camp and because of the depth issues at that spot.

On the bubble/on the outs: Mike Morgan and Heath Farwell are the two main 'big' cuts in this scenario. Kenneth Boatright injured himself in camp and I'm not sure he's been back out there. He may go to the IR. I haven't heard a peep about Ty Powell, so he might be a practice squad type (or more likely he'll go to NYC or Jacksonville). I'm thinking that Korey Toomer will go to the PUP list (he's currently on that list) and will stick around there for a while, and that Kyle Knox will get released.

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
NB Antoine Winfield 5'10,180
NB Walter Thurmond 5'11,190
CB Jeremy Lane 6'0,190
CB Byron Maxwell 6'0, 207
SS Winston Guy 6'1,217
FS Jeron Johnson 5'10, 212

That Jeron Johnson spot is up for grabs. Chris Maragos, DeShawn Shead, Will Blackmon, and Ron Parker may be the guy instead. Also, I'm not 100% convinced that Winston Guy's spot is safe, so really the two backup safety positions are up for grabs.

I personally like DeShawn Shead and Ron Parker because both of those guys can play corner and safety. Shead was on the Seahawks active roster toward the end of the year last season as a cornerback, where they apparently like him a lot, but this year he's moved to safety - his position in college. Versatility. It also helps he's 220 pounds with 4.5 speed.

Ron Parker just keeps sticking around. I like him a lot as well. He's a former college safety - he played single high Earl Thomas style safety for small-school Newberry, and has been playing corner for the Hawks. Again, his positional versatility gives him an edge. We'll see if it's enough for him to leapfrog Shead, Johnson or Guy.

On the bubble/on the outs: The people I just mentioned. I think that Tharold Simon will start on the PUP list with a stress fracture in his foot.

TOTAL DEFENSE: 25

SPECIALISTS:

P Jon Ryan
LS Clint Gresham
K Steven Hauschka

Hauschka is just a guess. Look for Seattle to trawl the waiver wires.

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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.

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