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A 53-man roster projection halfway through preseason

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Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are halfway through their preseason schedule, and just under two weeks away from roster cut-down day. The picture is becoming clearer with every passing week, and the Seahawks’ upcoming “dress rehearsal,” against the Chargers will be the most informative game yet. With two preseason games down and the most telling one just ahead, it’s time for another 53-man roster projection:

QB: Russell Wilson, Geno Smith

Lynch had a massive opportunity to grab hold of the backup job in Minnesota, with Smith out. He failed to do so, putting together a poor performance before suffering an injury as a result of an awful hit from Holton Hill. It remains Smith’s job to lose, though the second quarterback in the game next week—if Lynch is healthy—will tell us all we need to know about that position battle.

Cut: Paxton Lynch, J.T. Barrett

RB: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, J.D. McKissic

This position group again remains unchanged. It’s hard to imagine Seattle giving Prosise yet another chance, particularly with McKissic and Homer on the roster. An argument could be made for the Seahawks to keep Nick Bellore—they kept Tre Madden in 2018 despite minimal appearances on offense. Bellore has played heavily on special teams in both games, so perhaps he sticks because of that.

Cut: Bo Scarbrough, C.J. Prosise, Nick Bellore, Xavier Turner

WR: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, Jaron Brown, Gary Jennings, John Ursua

The top five at wide receiver are locked in. Behind them, John Ursua has looked polished in preseason action. The argument (which I’ve previously made in this space) for keeping Keenan Reynolds over Ursua would be Ursua’s practice squad eligibility. However, if they liked Ursua enough to move back into the draft in order to avoid losing him in rookie free agency, maybe they’ll also avoid the risk of losing him on waivers or off the practice squad during the season.

Cut: Malik Turner, Amara Darboh, Jazz Ferguson, Terry Wright, Keenan Reynolds

TE: Will Dissly, Ed Dickson, Jacob Hollister, Nick Vannett

Ed Dickson’s health status will likely force Seattle to keep four tight ends to begin the year, and release the fullback Bellore. If the Seahawks do go in a different direction at tight end, sticking with just three to begin the year, I’d imagine the vacated roster spot goes to Bellore.

Cut: Jackson Harris, Wes Saxton

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

A move may need to be made here—whether it’s keeping Nkansah or adding someone from the outside—if Fant isn’t healthy for Week 1. But for the time being, with Fant’s timeline still vague, the tackle group remains unchanged.

Cut: Elijah Nkansah

iOL: Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Mike Iupati, Ethan Pocic, Phil Haynes

Recently, I’ve begun to think Jordan Simmons could be a surprising cut—he just can’t stay healthy. That’s proved to be true again in training camp.

Meanwhile, Ethan Pocic has impressed enough to make me think he could be a viable and versatile option inside, at least until or unless Seattle finds a more suitable backup to Britt elsewhere.

Cut: Jordan Simmons, Joey Hunt, Jordan Roos, Marcus Martin, Demetrius Knox

DT: Poona Ford, Al Woods, Earl Mitchell, Bryan Mone

Every indication is that it will be Woods starting next to Ford when the season begins, as Jarran Reed serves his suspension. Behind the starting duo, the veteran Mitchell will give them a steadying presence in a rotational role. The massive, 366-pound UDFA Mone has looked nothing less than solid through two preseason games, and can give the Seahawks rotational snaps as a 1-tech.

Cut: Demarcus Christmas, Jay-Tee Tiuli, Jamie Meder

EDGE: Rasheem Green, Ezekiel Ansah, Jacob Martin, L.J. Collier, Cassius Marsh, Quinton Jefferson

Green, Ansah, Martin and Collier’s spots are secure. Nazair Jones’ chances have been exhausted, failing to impress as a sophomore and now again in his third season, after having been moved to 5-tech. Green, Jefferson and Collier are all capable of reducing inside in pass rush packages, meaning it’s Marsh—who has picked up momentum in recent weeks, per camp reports—not Jones who grabs the last spot.

Cut: Branden Jackson, Barkevious Mingo, Nazair Jones

LB: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Shaquem Griffin, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven

Though Barton, Burr-Kirven and Griffin are unproven in the NFL, this has the makings of Seattle’s deepest linebacker corps since 2013. Austin Calitro missing out is harsh, but the two rookies aren’t going anywhere, and Calitro hasn’t seen any time at Griffin’s spot on the strongside. Depending how long Griffin’s injury keeps him out for, the door may open a touch, but for now, Griffin is still safe.

Cut: Austin Calitro, Justin Currie, Jawuan Johnson, Juwon Young

CB: Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Neiko Thorpe, Akeem King

The nickel competition will likely come down to the wire, with King and Jamar Taylor both seeing similar snap counts against the Vikings. King still gets the edge due to his versatility, with his superior size enabling him to cover tight ends in addition to slot receivers. Kalan Reed is out of it, after rarely seeing the field in Minnesota.

Cut: Jamar Taylor, Kalan Reed, Jeremy Boykins, Simeon Thomas

S: Bradley McDougald, Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi, Tedric Thompson, DeShawn Shead

McDougald, Blair, Amadi and even Thompson are all safe bets for the 53. Though his versatility and role proved valuable late last season, Lano Hill may have just been too late getting healthy to crack the position group. He wasn’t helped by the addition of Shead either, who has made a big play in both preseason games.

Cut: Shalom Luani, Jalen Harvey, Lano Hill

Specialists: Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott