The first round of cuts has come and gone and the Seattle Seahawks roster sits at 75 with just one more preseason game and 22 roster moves standing in the way of week one. Although the majority of the roster spots are all but set in stone, there are still some on the backend that are going to come down to Thursday night in Oakland. Following the Raiders matchup, John Schneider, Pete Carroll and company will have until 1 P.M. on Sunday, September 4th to whittle the roster down to the 53 players that will ultimately face the Miami Dolphins a week later. We won’t know the official roster until that time, but there’s no time like the present and no effort like your best, so here’s my 53-man roster prediction.
Quarterback (2): Russell Wilson, Trevone Boykin
Wilson is as durable as any player in the NFL and Boykin has shown enough in the preseason that he’s worth rolling with over an experienced veteran. Had Boykin looked like a rookie free agent this preseason, he would likely be headed to the practice squad. Instead, he’s the likely week one backup.
Running Back (5): Thomas Rawls, Christine Michael, C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, Will Tukuafu
Michael’s incredible preseason has him set to be a thrilling 1-2 with Rawls, while C.J. Prosise should be a younger, more impactful Fred Jackson in 2016. Collins holds off Troymaine Pope, who I’m sure the team would love to add to the practice squad if this were the case.
Wide Receiver (5): Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Tanner McEvoy
Of the core four, only Richardson was even a little in doubt to make the final roster, which he quickly erased by making a couple big plays in the preseason, while more importantly staying healthy. McEvoy makes it over Kenny Lawler due to versatility, playmaking and the likelihood Lawler could sneak onto the practice squad.
Tight End (4): Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Nick Vannett, Brandon Williams
With both Graham and Vannett’s week one status up in the air due to injury, the Seahawks will likely carry preseason darling Brandon Williams until the two are back to full health. Williams could even hang around past that if his strong play continues on special teams.
Tackle (4): Bradley Sowell, Garry Gilliam, J’Marcus Webb, Terry Poole
Sowell and Gilliam seem to be the starters at the two tackle spots, with Bradley Sowell the likely week one starter at left tackle. The hype train for Gilliam has come to a soft halt back where it started, at right tackle. Poole’s had a much better preseason this time around, doing enough to stick on the 53-man roster rather than the practice squad. Webb sticks around on a count of the presumed former plan at swing tackle (Sowell) stepping into a starting role.
Guard (4): Mark Glowinski, Germain Ifedi, Rees Odhiambo, Jahri Evans
The guard spots have been one of the joys of August, where both Glowinski and Ifedi have made the starting spots their own. They’ll add a much needed tenacity to the interior of the line. Evans is too cheap to be released just because he isn’t starting; the veteran could comfortably step in to either starting spot if needed and do a job for the offense.
Center (2): Justin Britt, Joey Hunt
If the guard spot has been one of the joys of August, Britt has been one of the surprises. Simply put, Britt was probably the last center on the roster I would have thought would win the competition. Not even four months ago Patrick Lewis and rookie Joey Hunt seemed to be much better choices, instead Britt has absolutely claimed it as his own.
Meanwhile, Hunt himself turned in consistent performance after consistent performance, beating out the incumbent starter Patrick Lewis for the job of Britt’s backup.
Defensive End (4): Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh
Avril, Bennett and Clark were always going to be there, with Clark hopefully turning more snaps into increased production. Marsh may have lost the competition at SAM linebacker, but he turned in several good performances coming off the edge and will continue to be a big special teams contributor. Ryan Robinson is finally healthy but loses out to the numbers game.
Defensive Tackle (5): Ahtyba Rubin, Jarran Reed, Tony McDaniel, Jordan Hill, Quinton Jefferson
Rubin and Reed showed just what to expect from them at defensive tackle in 2016; a powerful, immovable load. McDaniel can step right back into the role he played on the 2013 and ’14 teams after seemingly picking up right where he left off returning to Seattle late in training camp.
It was a non-existent preseason for Jordan Hill but the Seahawks have nobody like him at defensive tackle and sorely missed his presence in the interior several times this preseason. Jefferson, while raw, provides a good hedge for Hill should he go down with injury yet again.
Linebacker (6): Mike Morgan, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Eric Pinkins, Brock Coyle, Kevin Pierre-Louis
Despite nobody grabbing hold of the SAM linebacker job this past moth, the linebacker group seems to be pretty much settled. Morgan, Wagner, Wright, Coyle and Pierre-Louis should all be safely on the roster. Pinkins hasn’t been hugely impressive, but most closely resembles the body type Seattle seems to desire in their base down SAM linebacker behind Mike Morgan.
Cornerback (5): Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead, Tharold Simon, Marcus Burley
Sherman, Shead, Lane and Simon were always going to make the roster and Burley should have just done enough to hold off the host of names fighting him for the fifth and final cornerback spot. In the end it’ll come down to Burley and Tye Smith, both of whom haven’t done a whole lot this preseason, with Burley winning out and Smith heading back to the practice squad.
Safety (4): Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Kelcie McCray, Tyvis Powell
Kelcie McCray has turned a strong, fast-flying preseason into the backup job at both free and strong safety. The former Chief steadily improved towards the end of 2015 and that seems to have kept going, as his first full offseason as a Seahawk has done him a world of good. Powell’s flashy play in the preseason and the way he’s jumped head first into the All In mindset will almost certainly see him take Steven Terrell’s job.
Kicker (1): Steven Hauschka
Punter (1): Jon Ryan
Long Snapper (1): Nolan Frese
Earlier today, my answer would have been Clint Gresham. But after hearing Pete Carroll defend Frese’s run of bad snaps by saying the rookie has been dealing with a shoulder injury, it sounds like they’re going to keep the faith with Frese. This could change with another bad game in Oakland, but as of now a Gresham reunion is unlikely.
Roster decisions are tough, and geez I’m glad I’m not John Schneider. On the other hand, he actually looks better than me without a shirt (it’s the belt, it’s got to be the belt). Final cuts are always disappointing to see talents go away, but I would love to see guys like Lawler, Pope, Smith and Brandin Bryant land on the practice squad.