On January 1, 2016, there were 53 players on the Seattle Seahawks roster.
On September 6, 2016, there are 53 players on the Seattle Seahawks roster. Of those 53, nearly half — 25 — are new names. The Seahawks were a good team in 2015, a team that went 10-6, won six of their final seven (all by at least nine points) and a playoff game. By all accounts, Seattle is going to be as good or better than they were last season. But are we overlooking the fact that there’s been so much turnover? They may be worse. They may also be better. We may not know for sure until November at the earliest, but let’s at least take a look at the 25 names on the 53-man roster headed into Week 1 who weren’t on the 53-man roster going into last season’s playoffs.
QB2 - Trevone Boykin
Replacing - Tarvaris Jackson
Inexperienced, undrafted, and untested, Boykin has overcome long odds as a quarterback with the potential for a lot of responsibility to begin his career. But as a member of the Seahawks, it’s not at all uncommon for Pete Carroll to use undrafted free agents or rookies early. Last season, the team used 32 players in total who were not drafted. (Not 32 out of 53, but 32 total over the course of the year.)
I don’t know if Boykin will still be the backup by Sunday, and definitely not sure if he will be by Week 6, but as of now he’s the guy.
RB1 - Thomas Rawls
Replacing - Marshawn Lynch
The team going to the playoffs last year didn’t have Rawls, who was on IR. This is a good representation of a changing of the guard from Lynch — the starter in their first and last games of the full 2016 season, including playoffs — to Rawls, who will be ready for Week 1 and will see significant action.
RB 3rd Downs - C.J. Prosise
Replacing - Fred Jackson
The rookie Prosise was comped to Fred Jackson well before Seattle drafted him. It’s a natural fit.
RB3 - Alex Collins
Replacing - Bryce Brown
The Seahawks used players like Brown, DuJuan Harris, and Derrick Coleman when all else fell apart last season. This year, that “emergency call” will go to Collins before anyone else. Luckily they also still have Christine Michael from the January 1 roster.
FB - Tani Tupou
Replacing - Will Tukuafu
Everyone expects Tupou to be replaced by Tukuafu in a week, and that’s probably correct, but what if he has a good game against the Dolphins? No need to make a change if not necessary.
(Nobody replacing: Coleman. At the time, they had two fullbacks and four halfbacks and as of now they have one fullback and still four halfbacks.)
LT - Bradley Sowell
Replacing - Russell Okung
This will be the first game of the Carroll era to not have Okung somewhere on the roster, whether it be active or on the IR. Instead, Okung will be the starting left tackle for the Broncos (on an incredibly team-friendly deal that pays him a $2 million base salary) and Sowell will take his place in Seattle. He’s played well, he’s even cheaper than Okung ($800,000 base), and might even stay healthy.
The left guard spot is also being replaced, from Justin Britt to Mark Glowinski, who was on the roster last year, and the center job is going from Patrick Lewis/Lemuel Jeanpierre at the end of 2015 to Britt.
RG - Germain Ifedi
Replacing - J.R. Sweezy
Sweezy somehow signed a $32.5 million deal with the Bucs and he’s opening the year on PUP with a back injury. Ifedi, meanwhile, looks great. I don’t want to make any massive declarations before his first career game, but I would be surprised if it’s not a huge upgrade.
LT/RT2 - J’Marcus Webb
Replacing - Alvin Bailey
The Bailey experiment is over as he now resides as a backup in Cleveland while Seattle is opting for a veteran to backup the tackle and guard spots as necessary.
LT/RT3 - George Fant
In a way, Fant is replacing Britt as the fourth tackle on the roster. The Seahawks had no one else to play tackle so if there was an injury at the end of the year, Glowinski would play guard and Britt would go back out to tackle. They now have Webb and Fant and perhaps ...
OG2 - Rees Odhiambo
Replacing - Kristjan Sokoli
In a pinch, Odhiambo should be able to play tackle, but he’s the main guy behind both guard spots. Sokoli remains a free agent with his rep Brett Tessler saying he needs to move back to defensive tackle. But according to Rob Staton of SeahawksDraftBlog.com, Sokoli was a really bad DT in college at Buffalo, with the only reason he was drafted being his elite athleticism. Unlike Bailey, I’m not sure this experiment is over.
C2 - Joey Hunt
Replacing - Lemuel Jeanpierre
Patrick Lewis replaced Drew Nowak, Britt replaced Lewis, and now Hunt replaces Lewis from where he was a year ago and Jeanpierre from where Seattle was at going into the playoffs.
WR4 - Paul Richardson
Replacing - Kevin Smith
Richardson came back last season only long enough to catch a single 40-yard pass. There have been nothing but positive reports about his health and his play in 2016 though. Smith was released and not placed on the practice squad but he could return.
WR5 - Tanner McEvoy
Replacing - Kasen Williams
McEvoy overcame long odds as an UDFA without a position but with Kasen not fully healthy in the preseason, the job was up for grabs. (Pun not intended but certainly relished.) Kasen does go back to the practice squad for now.
TE1 - Jimmy Graham
Replacing - Luke Willson (still on roster)
Willson is still on the roster but slides back to TE2 now that Graham is off of injured reserve. It seems to me like Graham will suit up for Week 1 and might even play a little bit, if only as a distraction. This all-world player was not someone they had going into the playoffs last year though and that’s worth noting.
TE3 - Nick Vannett
Replacing - Cooper Helfet
A foot injury has sidelined Helfet indefinitely, but his job may have already been in jeopardy after the additions of Vannett and Brandon Williams.
TE4 - Brandon Williams
Replacing - Chase Coffman
Technically “TE4” did not exist, but that’s basically what Coffman was — their fourth choice after Graham hurt his knee.
LDE2 - Quentin Jefferson
Replacing - Demarcus Dobbs
Technically, Frank Clark was Michael Bennett’s backup last season, but this is easier to break down. Clark is now listed as the RDE2 behind Cliff Avril with Jefferson as the “next Michael Bennett” behind Bennett. The fifth round pick had always sort of been the afterthought of the draft class to me, up until reports in August that he was absolutely crushing it. He can play inside or outside and seems to have a real future with the team. That being said, Cassius Marsh looked awesome in preseason 2015 and has yet to do anything on defense, now playing SAM2 after losing out to Mike Morgan.
RDT1 - Tony McDaniel
Replacing - Brandon Mebane
Eventually this will belong to Jarran Reed, but for now, McDaniel has made a triumphant return to the starting lineup for Seattle just three weeks after he was a free agent flying to Washington State only to visit friends and family.
RDT2 - Jarran Reed
Replacing - Jordan Hill
A sad and quiet departure for Hill, less than two years after he was absolutely unstoppable for a six-week stretch in 2014. But then he became really, really stoppable, and most of that stopping came from his own self-sabotaging body parts.
LDT2 - Garrison Smith
Replacing - AJ Francis
This job belonged to Justin Hamilton on Saturday but reverted to Smith — a waiver wire pickup from the 49ers — by Sunday. Meanwhile, Francis was among the final cuts by the Buccaneers over the weekend.
WILL3 - Dewey McDonald
Replacing - Eric Pinkins
The linebacker group remains the least changed perhaps of any group on the team, and even they have a new starter at SAM. That guy, Mike Morgan, has been with the team since 2011. Starters at MIKE and WILL obviously remain the same, while Kevin Pierre-Louis, Cassius Marsh, and Brock Coyle return to provide depth. The only real difference, besides the loss of Bruce Irvin, is McDonald being acquired via trade with the Oakland Raiders and then moving from safety to weakside linebacker. He’ll provide play on special teams and likely record fewer than 10 tackles this year unless something goes wrong. Pinkins knows his career is in jeopardy by not winning a job on this team when there was a wide open competition that he finished third in, then got released and not picked up.
CB4 - Tharold Simon
Replacing - Marcus Burley
Simon also comes back from IR. Burley was released and picked up on waivers by the Browns.
CB5 - DeAndre Elliott
Replacing - Tye Smith
There was a lot of hype around Smith, but not only was he released, he remains available. Elliott slides into the role of potentially being the next Byron Maxwell or DeShawn Shead. There were more changes at cornerback obviously, with Shead becoming a “starter” on nickel downs even though he was a safety to begin last season. Richard Sherman/Shead/Jeremy Lane sounds a lot better than Sherman/Cary Williams/Smith or Burley.
S5 - Tyvis Powell
Replacing - Nobody
Powell is the fifth safety (remember on Saturday when there were “seven safeties”?) which is how many they had last year but technically one of those guys was Shead. They’ve kept Kelcie McCray and Steven Terrell from the end of last season too. Little has changed at the safety spot, other than Powell providing depth, Shead moving to corner, losing Burley and Smith, and carrying one less linebacker.
LS - Nolan Frese
Replacing - Clint Gresham
- 1 new QB
- 3 brand new RBs and 1 back from IR
- 6 new OL and 4 new starters on the offensive line
- 1 brand new WR and 1 back from IR
- 2 brand new TE and 1 back from IR
- 13 brand new players on offense
- 4 new DL
- 1 brand new LB, 1 new LB starter
- 1 brand new CB, 1 CB back from IR, 1 new CB position change
- 1 new safety
- 7 brand new players on defense
- 1 brand new longsnapper