Locks: Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, Mike Morgan
Near-Locks: Kevin Pierre-Louis
Bubble Watch: Eric Pinkins, Brock Coyle, Steve Longa, Kyle Coleman, Pete Robertson, Montese Overton, David Perkins
I expect disagreement on Locks/Near-Locks/Bubble picks pretty much every time I write one of these, which is great, because it's just one person's opinion (mine) versus another person's opinion and nobody knows for sure what is going to happen. Even Pete Carroll only thinks he knows, but even then there are some cases where I believe he legitimately doesn't know who is going to make the team at certain positions until days before final cuts. But the situation at linebacker/SAM/Leo/Defensive End is so fucking confusing this year that I am open to debate on just about anyone outside of Wagner and Wright.
I think that because Morgan is so important to special teams and is going into his sixth training camp with the team, now with a chance to compete for a starting job at outside linebacker, that there is no foreseeable future where he doesn't make the final roster unless he's injured.
I also believe that because Pierre-Louis is going into his third season with the team and played in all but two games last season, they'll prefer his experience over a handful of hopefuls who don't really come with a lot of cachet.
That being said, KPL has been an extremely -- apologies to him, his fans, and his friends -- boring player to watch develop. I was extremely excited at the prospects of KPL when he was drafted and he seemed like a steal, but it seems like he's been hanging on by a thread. If any one of these unknowns happens to just destroy everyone else in camp and the preseason, I can't imagine that KPL has been withholding a beast inside himself that's just been biding its time to escape and make a mark on defense.
I'm actually still more intrigued by Pinkins, the former safety at San Diego State who went two rounds after KPL in 2014, because at least he had the excuse of "I'm making a positional transition" over the last two years. At his pro day, Pinkins was 6'3, 220, ran a 4.44, had a 39.5" vert, and did 25 reps on the bench. He was active for six games last year and notched one tackle against the Browns. John Clayton pointed out after June's minicamp that Pinkins and Cassius Marsh (who I listed in the defensive ends piece as a lock (note my frustration with position fluidity only for the purposes of these articles)) were the frontrunners for the SAM position over Morgan at that point. He said that Pinkins was better in coverage and Marsh when it was time to rush the passer.
Clayton also noted that Chris Clemons looked "leaner and quicker" in June, giving credence to the notion that Clemons could make the team and have an impact, perhaps at defensive end, perhaps at linebacker.
Carroll said that Overton stood out during rookie minicamp in May. But Overton, along with Longa, Coleman, Robertson, and Perkins, all have an extremely difficult hill to overcome if they want to make this team in what could be the best and/or deepest front-seven in all of football. The Seahawks have maybe seven linebacker spots at most, and that's going to include Wagner, Wright, and Morgan, I believe. But it also might include Marsh, Clemons, and Ryan Robinson for all we know. Not to mention that Coyle has two years of experience on this team. Any one of those guys will have to beat out someone like Pinkins or KPL for a roster spot and given the advantage those two have in terms of experience and investment (is either one of them going to pass through waivers?), that seems unlikely.
If the guys listed above are the only "linebackers" then I think it's Wagner, Wright, Morgan, KPL, Pinkins, and Coyle. However, I think eventually I'll probably have to mention Clemons, Robinson, or Marsh as a linebacker, and then Coyle will be a free agent again. I would be surprised if any of the undrafted free agents listed here make the team, but Overton is a great candidate for the practice squad.