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A final 53-man roster projection ahead of the Seahawks’ preseason finale

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With just one preseason game and two days to go until the Seattle Seahawks are required to cut their roster down from 90 to 53, it’s time for the last roster projection. The large majority of roster decisions have been made, and the final roster will be influenced more by waivers and trades across the league than what happens against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

As it stands, here is the Seahawks’ roster ahead of the preseason finale:

Two notes:

  • At the time of publishing, Seattle’s reported trade for Brett Hundley hasn’t been made official, but Pete Carroll all but confirmed it during his press conference on Wednesday, and so he is included here.
  • The number appearing in brackets is the average number kept at that position since 2012.

QB: Russell Wilson, Brett Hundley

Much has been made of the Seahawks’ discomfort with the backup quarterback competition, and so they finally did something about it. Hundley’s acquisition all but assures he’ll be Wilson’s backup in 2018.

Austin Davis will be released on Saturday, along with Alex McGough. If McGough makes it through waivers, one would assume Seattle will bring him back on the practice squad.

RB: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, Mike Davis

Keeping just four running backs and no fullback could free up a spot for the Seahawks to retain J.D. McKissic, but Davis’s emergence on passing downs might just dissuade them from doing so.

The addition of Daniel Marx on Sunday tells us Tre Madden isn’t necessarily in Seattle’s plans in 2018 (or isn’t quite yet healthy). Then, on Wednesday, Carroll took it even further, saying Nick Vannett could play fullback if needed. So, the fullback roster spot goes elsewhere.

WR: Doug Baldwin, Jaron Brown, Tyler Lockett, David Moore, Brandon Marshall, Keenan Reynolds

As five receiver roster spots seemed to become set in recent weeks, the need for a sixth also became clear. Baldwin revealed on Wednesday he is at “80-85%” and will be dealing with pain all season. At least early on, Baldwin’s snaps should be monitored closely.

Reynolds has shown a great feeling for space underneath against zone coverage, plays special teams, and even drew a Baldwin comparison earlier this summer from special teams coordinator Brian Schneider. As a result, Reynolds wins a deep competition for the final wide receiver spot, most notably beating out Amara Darboh, Marcus Johnson and Damore’ea Stringfellow.

TE: Will Dissly, Nick Vannett, Kyle Carter

It doesn’t sound like it’s safe to assume Ed Dickson will be ready for the season after all. The veteran tight end has missed all of camp on the NFI list, and seems unlikely to begin the year on the active roster. Luckily for the Seahawks, Dissly’s skill set can replicate what Dickson would have brought as a blocker.

Vannett’s versatility and potential as a pseudo fullback pushes Tyrone Swoopes off the roster, although like McGough, Swoopes is a definite practice squad candidate. Carter, who saw snaps at fullback and H-back against the Minnesota Vikings, holds Dickson’s roster spot until Dickson returns.

T: Duane Brown, Germain Ifedi, Jamarco Jones, George Fant, Isaiah Battle

The two starters — Brown and Ifedi — as well as Fant are locked into the roster. Multiple weeks have passed since Jones suffered a serious ankle injury, and he remains on the roster. The most likely reason is that he will remain there until next Tuesday, when he can then be placed on the injured reserve.

Since Jones’ roster spot is temporary, Battle is kept as well, as he’ll be the backup right tackle for the foreseeable future. The only other tackle, Willie Beavers, has been poor throughout the preseason.

iOL: Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Jordan Roos, Rees Odhiambo

Despite the lack of a natural center, the interior offensive line shakes out reasonably. Pocic, Britt and Fluker start; Odhiambo and Roos are backup guards; Pocic is the backup center, with Odhiambo the next man up at left guard in that situation.

As much as Seattle would like to have Sweezy’s experience behind Fluker, his inability to stay healthy severely damaged his roster chances. With Fluker banged up, Sweezy is set to play at right guard against the Raiders, but it’s almost certainly too late.

Total offense: 25

EDGE: Frank Clark, Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson, Rasheem Green, Erik Walden

Although Carroll said Monday Dion Jordan is pushing to play Week 1 in Denver against the Broncos, I still believe Jordan will begin the season on the PUP list. Jordan’s continued absence would see either Jackson or Jefferson start opposite Clark in base.

Green and Jackson’s role as nickel rushers will continue into the regular season, with both playing outside and reducing inside. Ricky Ali’ifua, the only other EDGE on the roster, hasn’t made much of a roster push.

Walden, originally signed to play at SAM ‘backer, saw the majority of his snaps off the edge against the Vikings. He performed well and sticks on the roster — at least until someone else is inevitably available via trade or waivers — despite having a hip injury at the moment.

DT: Jarran Reed, Shamar Stephen, Tom Johnson, Nazair Jones, Poona Ford

The defensive tackle group has remained the same since training camp began. Although it would be perfectly reasonable for the Seahawks to cut Stephen in order to keep Ford, the lack of EDGEs makes it possible to retain both.

Reed and Stephen should start against the Broncos, with Jones and Johnson featuring heavily as rotational players.

LB: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Shaquem Griffin, Barkevious Mingo, Jacob Martin, Austin Calitro

The presence of both Mingo and Martin help Seattle’s lack of depth on the edge, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Mingo sees more snaps on the line of scrimmage than off it. Griffin is in line to start the opener as Wright deals with a knee injury.

On the back of strong play on both defense and special teams, Calitro comes out of a crowded linebacker group, as well. Although Wright would surely slide inside if Wagner were to miss an extended amount of time, Calitro provides a backup for Wagner and gives the Seahawks natural starters and backups at WILL, MIKE and SAM.

CB: Shaquill Griffin, Dontae Johnson, Justin Coleman, Tre Flowers, Neiko Thorpe

The most glaring absence is Byron Maxwell, whose injury could ultimately cost him a roster spot. Maxwell’s injury coincided with Johnson’s return, and as unlikely as it seemed just two weeks ago, it could result in Johnson taking Maxwell’s starting job.

Like Maxwell, Thorpe hasn’t been able to get healthy over the last couple weeks of preseason. However, Seattle’s draft told us they are serious about getting special teams back to where it was in previous years. Thorpe, the team’s best special teamer, will get an extended chance to return to health.

S: Tedric Thompson, Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill, Maurice Alexander

Both Thompson and McDougald are dealing with minor injuries, but should still start alongside one another in Denver. Alexander and Hill, both strong safeties, stick as backups. Hill has lined up as the single-high safety at times during the preseason and could do so if needed. More likely — like Wagner and Wright — McDougald would move to free safety should Thompson miss any amount of time.

Behind the top four, Lorenzo Jerome has impressed at free safety, but the practice squad is more likely for him.

Total defense: 25

Specialists: Sebastian Janikowski, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott

Barring any injuries, this should be the trio for the Seahawks throughout the 2018 season.

The Seahawks must cut their roster from 90 to 53 by 1 pm PST on Saturday afternoon.