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NFL final cuts: Seahawks winners, losers, surprises, and unanswered questions

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NFL: Preseason-Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks didn’t announce their final cuts on Saturday, as thousands waited for the news to roll in following almost every single other NFL team announcing their transactions by the 1 PM deadline. Instead, a user on Twitter had to alert me (@FieldGulls) that there was a transactions update on the Seahawks.com website, believe it or not.

It wasn’t until then that we found out the news about some very unexpected names who did and did not make the final 53-man roster, which you can find here. What did we learn on Saturday, besides the fact that the Seattle organization is evil in how they dispense information?

Winners

  • Tanner McEvoy. The Wisconsin “athlete” (in quotes because it’s not much of a position, not because he isn’t incredibly athletic) with 10 career catches in college made the roster as a wide receiver. Presumably McEvoy will also fill-in at tight end if absolutely necessary because he has the size for it, though they definitely will not need him to play any safety.
  • Brandon Williams. It’s been talked about so much that everyone came to expect that Williams would make the roster, but let’s not overlook how amazing it is that he forced the Seahawks to carry four tight ends due to his play. He was 99.9% out of the NFL a couple years ago.
  • J’Marcus Webb and George Fant. Right now it seems like they are backups at the tackle position but every fan seemed to be rooting against Webb while Fant has quickly gone from a college basketball player to being one snap away from playing tackle for a great NFL team.
  • Justin Hamilton. Wow! Hamilton got a sack on Thursday night while Cliff Avril was being interviewed on TV and I believe Avril said something along the lines of “That’s one of my guys” and whatnot. He may have said that about any defensive lineman, but Hamilton happened to be the one making a play at that particular time. But it wasn’t just coincidence obviously, as Hamilton is now on the team after being undrafted out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2015. He’s overcome long odds to actually be a member of the Seahawks after signing one of those futures contracts in January.
  • DeAndre Elliott. In my “7 Seahawks who could surprise” to make the team article, I wrote about Elliott’s desirable length as a corner. He beat out some pretty big names (locally at least) to become a part of the Legion of Boom, officially.
  • LJ McCray and Dewey McDonald. Everyone had these two players on their Seahawks 53-man roster predictions, right? Seattle made two trades Saturday to acquire these safeties and both of them look like guys who will exclusively play special teams. Shockingly, the team also kept five other safeties, including the undrafted Tyvis Powell. Clearly Pete Carroll and Kris Richard have some ideas up their sleeves about defensive formations this season — or some more transactions are coming.

Losers (Players who were cut can be found here)

  • Troymaine Pope. A lot of people had Pope making the final roster, but I did not. The numbers didn’t work out in his favor when I was doing 53-man projections, but then again I didn’t know they would head into the season without a fullback. (Additional “Loser” category member: Will Tukuafu.) Or that they’d have seven safeties. But Pope was picked up after every NFL team had already set a 90-man roster. Yes, he’s helped his case to those other 31 teams now that he’s interesting, but he will also likely pass through waivers. I mean, Ronnie Hillman and Stevan Ridley were released today, among a lot of other running backs. I know that Pope looks special to you because you got to watch him for four preseason games, but every fanbase has their “Pope” and every player looks a little less special once you widen your perspective.
  • Kenny Lawler. I think the Seahawks drafted Lawler only in the event that one of their top four receivers were injured. Since Paul Richardson is healthy right now, Lawler didn’t have a place on the team. However, last season the Seahawks cut Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams and both played on the active roster later in the year. Jermaine Kearse was cut once upon a time. It’ll be fine. Same for Antwan Goodley.
  • Terry Poole. He didn’t make the cut for the second year in a row, this time getting the “waived/injured” designation. The team will roll with the other guys but Poole is still practice squad eligible.
  • Ryan Robinson. He had the inside track to be a backup defensive end but never showed anything special on the field during the preseason. He was hurt last year, they liked his upside, he was healthy this year, and he never showed that upside. Pretty simple, I think.
  • Brandin Bryant. Damn. He’s so fast, he’s got a lot of hustle, and he’s an interesting player. I don’t think it’s the last we hear from him.
  • Jordan Hill. I can’t say we hardly knew ye. Hill had three seasons, most of it saw him injured, and then there was a six-game stretch where had 5.5 sacks. I don’t think his NFL career is kaput just yet; this one will either haunt Seattle or be forgotten.
  • Kache Palacio. He came on strong over the last couple of weeks but couldn’t crack the final roster. They’re clearly looking for more safety-linebacker types than just pure linebacker types. Whatever that means in today’s changing NFL schemes thanks to the likes of Deone Bucannon and Mark Barron.
  • Eric Pinkins. You’d have hoped Pinkins, as a former safety who switched to linebacker, would have fit that mold, but he obviously did not. The SAM job now belongs to Mike Morgan and Cassius Marsh (and maybe one of those safeties?)
  • Tye Smith and Marcus Burley. I don’t think I ever had Burley on a 53-man projection and I think I always caught a little shit for it. I just don’t see it with Burley. Smith is more surprising, but I think they just preferred Elliott at this point. It seems like Smith will definitely get picked up by someone, simply for being a Seahawks corner if nothing else.

Surprises

  • Keeping seven safeties, 14 rookies, and five undrafted free agent rookies.
  • Trading for two safeties and then keeping the three safeties who were “on the bubble” anyway.
  • Justin Hamilton over Brandin Bryant and Jordan Hill.
  • Tanner McEvoy actually benefiting from missing the last preseason game. (Couldn’t have hurt.)
  • No fullback.
  • Just eight defensive linemen.
  • Fant over Poole, unless he’s really hurt.
  • The unexpected rise of Palacio coming to an end just as he started to look like the most interesting up-and-coming linebacker on the roster.

Unanswered Questions

  • Is the team really going to roll with Trevone Boykin as the backup QB? That’s definitely one name that I wouldn’t be shocked to see off the roster by next Sunday after they get a look at some of these veteran free agents. There are a lot out there.
  • Who is going to play fullback, or are they going to start the season without one? It may not be absolutely necessary, but it was probably difficult for them to keep a FB given that they are now in a situation where they have two clearly good running backs for first and second down, a clear third down back, and Collins, a player they really like.
  • Did Garry Gilliam keep the starting right tackle job over J’Marcus Webb?
  • Are they going to add another corner? Right now it seems like they have five corners and seven safeties, but do they see Tyvis Powell as a corner already? Have we blurred the line between corner, safety, and linebacker so much at this point that it doesn’t matter?
  • Is there another move coming at longsnapper or is Nolan Frese gonna be the guy?
  • Who will make the practice squad? Before we know anything about who passes through waivers or what additional moves the Seahawks make by next week, here are 10 guys who just got cut who could conceivably be on the PS: Pope, Lawler, Clayton Echard, Poole, Goodley, Kevin Smith, Bryant, Palacio, Tye Smith, Tani Tupou.