The Seattle Seahawks have made their roster cuts to get the roster down to 53 players before the 1 PM PT deadline on the first day of September. There are no real “wow” moves — we’re not sitting here fuming that David Moore has been cut — but there are some instant observations to make... so I’ll make them!
Most surprising cut: Maurice Alexander
This has almost nothing to do with the fact that I share the same last name as Mo, but with Earl Thomas still holding out, I figured Alexander would’ve been retained on his very cheap contract. He had battled injury during training camp, but when he did play, the former Ram showed some versatility by playing outside linebacker. I guess the trade for Shalom Luani was their alternative to keeping Alexander.
Most surprising retention: Delano Hill
If they were going to get Luani anyway, I’d have thought they would’ve pulled the plug on Delano Hill, the second-year safety out of Michigan. Whether on special teams or on defense, Hill has looked like a serious liability, repeatedly taking bad angles, being late in coverage, or failing to wrap up his man. I suppose it would’ve been a real eye-opener had the Seahawks cut two of their three third-round picks from last year, as WR Amara Darboh (also from Michigan) was let go.
I’m... encouraged about the wide receiver position?
Seattle may have lost Paul Richardson, but I am absolutely certain that this year’s group of wide receivers is better than last year’s, and I’ve been a skeptic about Seattle’s WR quality beyond #89. For the 2018 team, neither Darboh nor Tanner McEvoy is Seattle’s #4 option; that belongs to Brandon Marshall. Jaron Brown has shown great chemistry with Russell Wilson throughout preseason and could be a hidden gem as the #3 guy. David Moore has made huge strides in his second season and deserves his spot on the team. The Marshall/Brown/Moore trio collectively functions as “big body targets” for Russell, especially for contested throws downfield or in the end zone.
Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are the 1-2, with Baldwin as one of the league’s premier slot receivers, and Lockett poised for his best season yet after fully recovering from his broken leg. I’m hopeful that at least one of Damore’ea Stringfellow or Keenan Reynolds will be on the practice squad and in position to be promoted in case something happens to the current group of five, particularly Baldwin, who is nursing a sore knee.
The secondary is a primary area of concern
The best cornerback not named Shaquill Griffin is clearly Justin Coleman, who’ll work in the slot. Your other options are Neiko Thorpe, Dontae Johnson, and rookie Tre Flowers. This is by far the weakest cornerback roster the Seahawks have fielded since the 2010 squad, which featured a faded Marcus Trufant as the #1 guy.
At safety, Bradley McDougald and Earl Thomas is a great pairing. Earl isn’t here right now, so you’re reduced to McDougald and Tedric Thompson. If McDougald gets hurt then helloooooooo Delano Hill. I’m nervous already.
Maybe Seattle plays above expectations, but combining the state of the secondary with the very valid pass rush concerns, I’d be surprised if the Seahawks fielded a top-10 pass defense this year.
Hell yeah, Poona Ford made it!
Of the 15 UDFAs the Seahawks signed following this year’s NFL Draft, only one made the 53-man roster. Texas’ Poona Ford has been outstanding disrupting run plays, and has worked his ass off considering the major knock on him was his lack of height (5’11”) as a defensive tackle.
I don’t expect a huge role for Ford this year on the d-line rotation, but he could definitely help improve Seattle’s run defense, which dropped from 3rd to 14th in DVOA over the past two seasons. Congratulations to Poona, and also an honorable mention to Austin Calitro, who’s effectively Bobby Wagner’s backup at middle linebacker after a terrific preseason.