Now that I have identified the 26 players on offense that are most likely to make the 53 man roster, which among the most likely are also the most vulnerable? Let's see if I can describe how 26 could become 24 or 23, if need be.
Losman was not showing poorly in camp. Losman was hard to find. He might be vulnerable for a couple reasons. He played last season in the UFL, indicating there is not a strong demand for his services. Mike Shanahan typically retains two quarterbacks on his final roster, and Jeremy Bates learned his craft under Shanahan. And so Losman might be the latest player that the Seahawks sign, teach the system and cut, assuming he can be recalled if necessary.
I support the Seahawks retaining only two quarterbacks. Teams do not win behind their third string quarterback. If Seattle had the makings of a defensive juggernaut, maybe we could hope otherwise, but it doesn't. And unless Losman proves otherwise, I do not think he is enough of an upgrade over a street free agent to sacrifice future talent at another position. Losman is replacement level. He might slightly improve the Seahawks chances to win, but the hard truth is if Losman is starting, the season is probably lost.
This is an interesting story, and one that is retold every season.
Why did Brian Brohm fall? Duke Robinson?
I don't know.
The draft process is by no means perfect, but neither is it the crap shoot some cast it as. The missing element, the one that fans don't see but dramatically impacts every class, is drills and individual workouts. Drills and Individual workouts allow coaches to separate a player from the success or failure of their team and somewhat standardize the level of competition. They can be revealing.
I do not think McCoy dropped so far down boards because he maybe tested positive for marijuana. I do think it speaks poorly of his decision making if he did. I've known these heads. People that matter of factly claim to have not gone a day without smoking since they were 14. And they're not an organized, driven bunch. The problem would not be that McCoy smokes, it's that he didn't stop. Nevertheless, I think that is the tip of the iceberg.
I think McCoy dropped because, at least from what I saw, he is very unpolished and may not be able to contribute right away. He is a big bag of tools that played for a very talented USC offense. Opposing defenses treated him as a fourth or fifth weapon. He succeeded through the talent of his teammates and that doesn't cut it in the pros.
Cutting McCoy and placing him on the practice squad is a risk, but maybe not a deadly one. He isn't irreplaceable. If he truly is too unpolished to contribute right away, he will be too unpolished to contribute to another team as well. That means he wouldn't be targeted by other teams until those teams fell out of contention, and by then, Seattle could have freed a space for him.
Simply put, I think we are overvaluing his ability and attractiveness to other teams.
Deon Butler / Deion Branch
Ah yes, the De[i]ons. Six wide receivers is a lot to retain. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is not playing special teams. Neither is Branch. If Butler sticks, he could play special teams, but he is not built for the job. He would be a perfunctory contributor at best. Housh isn't going anywhere. That means Seattle might keep only one of Branch or Butler. If Carroll is committed to putting the best team on the field in 2010, that very well could mean Branch. And if Butler wants to stick, he must prove he can contribute against unfriendly competition.
Teams are reluctant to give up on young talent. Without indulging in a tired subject, one can point to Brandon Morrow as a obvious example why. Young talent is volatile and what might seem like a mortal weakness one year could be overcome the next. Butler has that in his court. He's cheap and his speed excites and if he isn't yet a great receiver, he is fundamentally capable of becoming one.
Branch has his contract and health working against him. Working for Branch is skill, talent and accomplishment. It's no slight against Butler to say he would be very lucky to ever achieve what Branch already has. Branch has disappointed Seahawks fans, but relative to the average third-round pick, he has been a smash success.
We shall see. This is not a direct competition, but it may very well be two players competing for one spot.