Seahawks 53-man roster prediction: Danny Kelly's Version 1.0

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Roster predictions are fun!

I can't remember how long it's been since I did a Seahawks 53-man roster prediction (a month or two, maybe?) so it seems like as good of a time as any to do another one. Because, they're fun to do. From here on out, I'll try and keep track of how many I've done. This will be 1.0.

Anyway, Seattle isn't likely to change up their roster too much between now and the end of training camp or preseason, so we can start to piece the puzzle together as to who the team will ultimately keep on the 53-man roster.

I also include here a predicted practice squad and list the predicted players that will be cut. In some cases, the "cuts" will end up being ghost roster types that don't get picked up elsewhere, but predicting that is impossible. I've not tried to guess which players will end up on the IR. Also, obviously, some of my 'practice squad' predictions will end up being on other teams, so for now it's just a guess. I've tried to include guys that could slip through waivers, but again, that's tough to know.

I'm sure my predictions will be grossly inaccurate. So here goes.

Quarterbacks (2)

Keep:

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

Practice Squad:

QB4 B.J. Daniels 5'11, 217

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

QB3 Terrelle Pryor 6'4, 233

I just don't see Terrell Pryor beating Tarvaris Jackson out for the backup quarterback job. I believe that B.J. Daniels is still practice squad eligible because he was not active on gamedays last year, so he's a natural PS candidate, as he was not claimed last year when he went on to waivers. Terrelle Pryor is awesome in theory but I am not sure the team will trust his arm enough to make him the backup.

Running Backs (5)

Keep:

RB1 Marshawn Lynch 5'11, 215
RB2 Robert Turbin 5'11, 220
RB3 Christine Michael 5'10, 221
RB4 Spencer Ware 5'10, 225
FB1 Kiero Small 5'8, 244

Practice Squad:

n/a

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

RB Demitrius Bronson 5'10, 212
FB Derrick Coleman 6'0, 240

I have a hard time deciding whether to keep four or five running backs. Ultimately, I think the Hawks will keep five, because they want to shove the football down their opponents throats and it's nice to have a lot of quality depth there. Also, and this is probably more important, the backup running backs generally make for really good special teams guys. Big, physical, want to hurt people, and fast.

It's encouraging to hear coaches talk about how improved Robert Turbin is this year after he had surgery over the offseason to clean up some things in his knee. He's always been very fast in a north-south fashion (I mean, it's actually pretty beautiful to see him get up to full speed and straight truck some fools in the open field) but hopefully less pain in his knee means his plant-and-drive power improves his lateral agility (because his lateral agility leaves something to be desired). Tom Cable is on record saying that he's not "stomping snakes anymore," so hopefully this means his footwork is cleaned up and he can run with more power in the lower half. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Spencer Ware retains value as a guy that can play fullback or tailback, has some experience on special teams, and I still just really like him as a runner. We didn't get to see much of him last year and I'm guessing most people think Ware is a goner, but I'm sticking to my guns on this guy. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up bounced from the roster bubble.

Finally, I'm going with Kiero Small over Derek Coleman simply because he's more of a pure fullback than the converted-to-fullback Coleman. I also think Coleman is the type of guy that you could have on speed dial if any injuries crop up.

Wide Receivers (6)

WR/KR Percy Harvin 5'11, 200
WR/KR Doug Baldwin 5'10, 189
WR Jermaine Kearse 6'1, 215
WR Kevin Norwood 6'2, 200
WR/PR Paul Richardson 6'1, 183
WR/GN Ricardo Lockette 6'2, 211

Practice Squad:

WR Arceto Clark 5'10, 180

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

WR Phil Bates 6'1, 230
WR Bryan Walters 6'0, 190
WR Taylor Price 6'1, 195
WR Chris Matthews 6'5, 218

PUP:

WR Sidney Rice 6'4, 212

Harvin, Baldwin, and Kearse are all locks in my mind. Based on positive minicamp and OTA reports, it seems likely that the team will keep both Richardson and Norwood. That leaves one spot, maybe, for Lockette, Rice, Bates, Walters, Price, and Matthews.

For now, since he's not projected to be ready for training camp, I'm going to throw out a guess that Sidney will be placed on the PUP and saved for after Week 6. This allows the team to bring him along slowly, help him regain explosion without rushing anything, and he becomes a guy that could come in for an injured receiver down the line. He definitely could make the roster, or he definitely could be cut, but this seems like a plausible scenario now that he's making closer to the vet minimum.

My sixth receiver is Ricardo Lockette, who made a mark for himself on special teams and frankly provides a lot of value as a dedicated gunner on punt teams (you may remember when he decapitated both Justin Veltung and LaMichael James, but he also had a great hit on Trindon Holliday last preseason with the Niners). Seattle gave up some ridiculously low number on punt returns last year (don't remember but it was like, 20 or something), and Lockette was a part of that, often running opposite Jeremy Lane or Byron Maxwell to force a lot of fair catches and no-returns.

I think Arceto Clark and Phil Bates also have a shot at that sixth spot, and Chris Matthews is a dark horse because he has that height that you can't teach. I'm putting Clark on the practice squad, because from what I've heard, he's playing great ball in the slot thus far this summer.

Tight Ends (3)

Keep:

TE1 Zach Miller 6'5, 255
TE2 Luke Willson 6'5, 260
TE3 Anthony McCoy 6'5, 275

Practice Squad:

TE Chase Dixon 6'5, 238

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

TE Rashaun Allen 6'5, 250
TE Cooper Helfet 6'4, 240

The tight end position is fairly straight forward, but if Dixon gets healthy and makes some noise in camp, he could be a surprise to supplant Anthony McCoy. McCoy is an experienced veteran that has played in Pete Carroll's ZBS since he was a college freshman, but still has those issues with the drops that seem to be nagging him again this year (numerous reports of drops in OTAs thus far). More likely though, I'd guess the Hawks try and hide Dixon this preseason (he's been hurt a lot in OTAs), put him on the practice squad, and look to develop him for next year as a redshirt.

Offensive Line (9)

Keep:

LT1 Russell Okung 6'5, 315
LG1 James Carpenter 6'5, 320
OC1 Max Unger 6'5, 305
RG1 J.R. Sweezy 6'5, 320
RT1 Michael Bowie 6'5, 330
T/G Alvin Bailey 6'3, 320
T/G Caylin Hauptmann 6'3,305
C/G Lemuel Jeanpierre 6'3, 305
T/G Justin Britt 6'6, 325

Practice Squad:

OT Gary Gilliam 6'6, 306

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

C/G Jared Smith 6'3, 315
OT Garrett Scott 6'5,305
T/G Bronson Irwin 6'4, 316
G/C Greg Van Roten 6'3, 303
OG Stephen Schilling 6'5,312
OT Nate Isles 6'5, 330

The offensive line is really tough to predict. For now, I've got Michael Bowie starting at right tackle, along with the easily projected line of Okung, Carp, Unger, and Sweezy. I think Caylin Hauptmann has been running with the two's thus far this summer, so he seems to have a shot at the roster as a guard, and Lem Jeanpierre is probably the best backup center option, which is important.

Garrett Scott is on the NFI list. I'm hoping the Hawks will be able to keep Jared Smith on the speed dial and he's even got a pretty decent shot at the practice squad as a guard/center. For now, I've got Garry Gilliam making the Practice Squad as a developmental left tackle. Injuries will probably end up determining where guys end up, but this is just my rough guess.

Defensive Line (10)

Keep:

5T1b Tony McDaniel 6'7, 310
NT1b Brandon Mebane 6'1, 305
3T1b Kevin Williams 6'5, 311
3T/5T Michael Bennett 6'4, 275
3T/5T Cassius Marsh 6'4, 270
3T/NT/5T Greg Scruggs 6'3, 310
3T/NT/5T Jesse Williams 6'3, 315
LEO/DE Cliff Avril 6'3, 260
LEO/DE Benson Mayowa 6'3, 267
LEO/DE O'Brien Schofield 6'3, 242

Practice Squad:

3T/5T Jimmy Staten 6'4, 304

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

LEO Jackson Jeffcoat 6'3, 247
NT2 Andru Pulu 6'1, 322
DTn Jordan Hill 6'1, 300
3T/5T Michael Brooks 6'3, 275
NT DeWayne Cherrington 6'3, 335
3T D'Anthony Smith 6'2, 300

The defensive line is a true toss up, and we're going to end up seeing a few guys that we like get cut. On this prediction, I begrudgingly cut Jordan Hill in favor of a now-healthy (assumedly) Jesse Williams. Williams gets the nod over Hill purely because of his versatility. He's not a dynamic pass rusher, but he's an elite athlete for his size that can in theory play three spots on the line -- inside at three-technique and the nose, and can even kick out to the edge at five-technique in a pinch. Further, Williams provides a lot of value when the Seahawks want to 'get big,' as Dan Quinn has said, and I always come back to the idea of having to defend the Niners and the Rams four times this year.

For Hill, he seems right now more like a pure interior nickel pass rusher. Problem is, Michael Bennett, Cassius Marsh, and Greg Scruggs are also potential interior nickel pass rushers (as is Brandon Mebane and maybe even Kevin Williams). I like Scruggs more than Hill in theory because he's more athletic, more experienced, longer, and can play more positions.

I feel like I'm rambling a little bit at this point, but the bottom line is: it's going to be really tough to make this roster -- as Pete Carroll said, the depth on the DL is really nice this year -- and in this version, I have Hill being on the outs. It could easily end up being Williams on the outs -- his knee is a huge gamble -- and injuries again will play a big part of how things shake out.

I'm guessing the Hawks will hide 5th round pick Jimmy Staten during the preseason and look to put him on the practice squad as a developmental 3-technique. Jackson Jeffcoat and Andru Pulu are also potential practice squad candidates, as are Michael Brooks and DeWayne Cherrington.

Linebackers (6)

WLB1 K.J.Wright 6'4, 246
MLB1 Bobby Wagner 6'0, 241
SLB1b Bruce Irvin 6'3, 255
SLB1n Malcolm Smith 6'0, 230
WLB2 Kevin Pierre-Louis 6'0, 232
SLB2 Korey Toomer 6'2, 244

Practice Squad:

OLB Horace Miller 6'0, 235

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

MLB2 Brock Coyle 6'1, 235
LB Mike Taylor 6'2, 222
LB Heath Farwell 6'0, 235
LB Mike Morgan 6'3, 226

The linebackers group seems fairly straight forward. Toomer has been blowing up OTAs and mini-camps so he seems like a natural replacement for Mike Morgan and KPL can take the spot of Heath Farwell as a special teams stalwart. I think Brock Coyle has an outside shot at the roster, if Seattle decides to keep 8 linebackers and only 9 defensive linemen. This is a distinct possibility because of Bruce Irvin and K.J. Wright's abilities in rushing the passer in certain packages. O'Brien Schofield or Bensen Mayowa would be logical trades for the roster spot.

I put Horace Miller on the practice squad because I think Coyle will get claimed if he's waived.

Defensive Backs (9)

Keep:

CB1 Richard Sherman 6'3, 195
CB2 Byron Maxwell 6'1,2 07
FS1/PR Earl Thomas 5'10, 202
SS1 Kam Chancellor 6'3,232
NB1/GN Jeremy Lane 6'0, 190
NB/PR A.J. Jefferson 6'1, 190
CB3 Tharold Simon 6'2, 205
FS2 DeShawn Shead 6'1, 225
SS2 Jeron Johnson 5'10, 212

Practice Squad:

CB/S Eric Pinkins 6'3, 220
SS Dion Bailey 6'1, 200

Cut, IR, Ghost Roster:

CB Phillip Adams 5'11, 195
CB/FS Chandler Fenner 6'1, 189
SS Terrance Parks 6'2, 218
NB Akeem Auguste 5'10, 185

Pete Carroll mentioned A.J. Jefferson as a guy that's had a great OTA/minicamp period, so for now, I'm going with the hot-hand as the 9th defensive back. I also like the idea of Jefferson because he has a good amount of experience returning kicks (83 returns for 2440 yards, a 29.4 yard average, and three touchdowns at Fresno State), and has found himself in the punt return competition of late. His elite speed and explosiveness make him a logical candidate as a special teams contributor.

Otherwise, pretty standard: Shead and Johnson are the backup safeties, and Simon is the third 'outside' cornerback. Lane is the logical starter in the nickle, with Jefferson backing him up.

If Seattle could get Pinkins and Bailey onto the practice squad, that would be a huge coup (it probably won't happen), though from the sounds of it, Parks and Adams have a shot at it if those two get snatched on waivers. Auguste made some noise last year as a practice squad player, so he's a wild card as a nickel cornerback.

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