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Seahawks projected defense depth chart for 2016

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, I published my projection and depth chart for the Seattle Seahawks offense. Now I’ve turned my attention to the other side of the ball. I kept 25 players on offense, which meant that I have to keep 25 players on defense (earlier version of this post said 24) unless a player on offense or defense ends up doubling as a long-snapper. Thanks to this Fanpost by rollsuphill, I had easy evidence to support keeping a certain number players at certain positions.

It was perhaps a little tougher to project the defense than it was the offense, but at the end of the day I was able to put together a depth chart that will be absolutely 100% be accurate. Isn’t that amazing?

Starting DE - Michael Bennett

Starting DE - Cliff Avril

Backup DE - Quentin Jefferson

Backup DE - Frank Clark

Backup DE - Ryan Robinson

Robinson ended up being my “last player in” based on the fact that I only had four defensive ends and Jefferson is more of a Bennett than he is a Clark or Avril, so I felt like I needed another “pass rusher” at the position. Robinson really serves as the Chris Clemons-type on the roster, which is a player they wanted around before he retired. Overall, it gives me 10 defensive lineman, which feels like a lot, but they’ve kept an average of 10 defensive lineman over the last three seasons.

Starting DT - Ahtyba Rubin

Starting DT - Jordan Hill

Backup DT - Jarran Reed

Backup DT - Tony McDaniel

Backup DT - Brandin Bryant

When I wrote in all these positions by memory, I had two more slots left. One was filled by Robinson, and the other by Bryant. I just felt that he had a lot of upside at a position (pass-rushing NT) that is perhaps the fastest-rising in the NFL in terms of value. They don’t seem to be using him as a fullback at all anymore, but if there’s a chance he could be a FB/DT hybrid, maybe that’s also a reason to keep him around and save a roster spot for someone else. The idea of them cutting Hill still sound ludicrous to me; they obviously didn’t feel stacked at the position when they signed McDaniel. I also don’t know why I feel oddly confident that McDaniel will make the roster — there’s a great chance actually that he gets released in favor of one of the following players who didn’t make my final projection.

Starting MLB - Bobby Wagner

Starting WLB - KJ Wright

Starting SLB - Mike Morgan

Backup WLB - Kevin Pierre-Louis

Backup SLB - Cassius Marsh

Backup MLB - Brock Coyle

Lots of cuts here that I’ll probably get some disagreements with. Seattle has kept only five linebackers twice in the last six years: 2010 and 2014. But they also kept seven linebackers in 2013. The big cut here is Eric Pinkins (a previous version had Coyle as cut) but I also think there’s a lot to like about the “longshots” entering camp like Pete Robertson or Steve Longa. Ultimately it just became a numbers game that worked against them, but of course Pinkins could be a better choice than McDaniel or Robinson or someone I kept on offense. I don’t think KPL is in any danger.

Starting CB - Richard Sherman

Starting CB - Jeremy Lane

Starting CB in Nickel - DeShawn Shead

Backup CB - Tharold Simon

Backup CB - Tye Smith

Only five corners?!?! The Seahawks have kept five cornerbacks in every season of Carroll’s Seattle career. There’s no question in my mind that if they do it again, these will be the five.

Starting FS - Earl Thomas

Starting SS - Kam Chancellor

Backup S - Kelcie McCray

Backup S/CB - Tyvis Powell

Keeping four or five safeties is always the norm. I’m not convinced that Browner is a lock to make the roster, though if he does have versatility (we have little evidence that he can play safety), that would certainly help. I might even have Steven Terrell over Browner at this point.

Total - 25

Cut - Tylor Harris, Josh Shirley, Justin Hamilton, DeAngelo Tyson, Sealver Siliga, Tani Tupou, Eric Pinkins, Steve Longa, Pete Robertson, Kache Palacio, Quayshawn Nealy, Trovon Reed, Brandon Browner, Marcus Burley, Steven Terrell, Keenan Lambert, Deandre Elliott

Final Cut - Eric Pinkins

Last One In - Ryan Robinson