On Tuesday, our own John P. Gilbert covered the practice squad eligibility of the entire Seahawks roster, which can be found here. Some of the players, while eligible for the practice squad, are highly unlikely to end up on the 10-man unit, whether it’s due to the likelihood of them being claimed by another team, or a lack of desire on Seattle’s end. Though 10 players make up the practice squad, it’s almost certain not all 10 are currently on the Seahawks. Last season, the initial practice squad was made up of five players from 2018’s 90-man roster, and five from other teams.
With the knowledge of who is eligible for the practice squad, let’s go through the players who Seattle is likely to want to stick around after cuts.
The former Titan originally signed with the Seahawks last August, and spent 2018 on the team’s practice squad after failing to make the 53. At 6-foot-2 and 183 pounds, Boykins has the size and length Pete Carroll adores. Though Boykins was again a long-shot for the 2019 roster, his year of seasoning in Seattle’s defense didn’t translate to more playing time this preseason; the corner has seen just 45 snaps across August action. If there has been a lack of progress in his development, and the Seahawks don’t believe it’s worth keeping Boykins around for a second season, they’ll have another cornerback to help grow.
Like Boykins, Thomas closed out 2018 on Seattle’s practice squad, and was signed to a future contract after the season concluded. Originally coming to Seattle just after final cuts last year, Thomas’s physical profile is ridiculous, and Seahawk-y, at 6-foot-3, 197 pounds with 35” arms. Thomas has played a touch more than Boykins this preseason, with 50 snaps on defense. If it comes down to Thomas or Boykins, Thomas may have a few things working in his favor: His size, and the lack of real experience in recent years (meaning he could have more room for growth).
Thomas’s story is a fascinating one, and illustrates the kind of mental toughness and grit Carroll feels so strongly about. The Louisiana-Lafayette product was ruled academically ineligible in 2014, redshirted in 2015 and then again suspended two games in 2017 due to academics. After all the turmoil, Thomas got back on track for the family he had once disappointed.
Thomas has the physical profile, and mental makeup, of a player Carroll would put a lot of belief into. It’s a safe bet he’ll spend another season in Seattle.
During Jackson’s two previous years with the Seahawks, the defensive end has made several stops on the practice squad while featuring in 21 games. He’s very much still in contention for a spot on the 53, but should he get beaten out, the versatile lineman could start another year on Seattle’s practice squad. Jackson is good enough to play a part in the Seahawks’ rotation, so he’s certainly good enough to stick around on the practice squad. However, a couple factors could lead to divorce between the two parties: Jackson would take up one of two spots for players with two accrued seasons, and after two years, Seattle may feel they’ve maximized Jackson, and want to look elsewhere.
In 2016, then-Bills GM Doug Whaley created quite a stir by saying humans shouldn’t play football. Though he backtracked on those comments, there’s certainly some truth in the idea that at least some humans simply can’t stand up to the physical demand of football—through no fault of their own. I’m beginning to suspect Simmons may fall into this category. The guard hasn’t completed a full season since high school, has only started five games in the last seven years dating back to his time at USC, and even after breaking into the Seahawks’ lineup last year, only made it three games before again going out injured.
Simmons has again been dealing with an injury in August, and Carroll told reporters on Tuesday he would miss up to a month. There’s no questioning his talent and fit in Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks averaged 218 rushing yards in the three games he started. But his ability to stay healthy must be questioned. One would think, once healthy, he should be able to remain so spending his time on the practice squad. Alternatively, Jordan Roos would be an option.
There’s no room for Scarbrough on the 53, with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny well equipped to handle the early down load. However, Scarbrough is a perfect fit on the practice squad. He can replicate the role of Carson and Penny in practice, should Seattle want to manage Carson’s weekday workload as they did periodically last year. Though some are clamoring for the former ‘Bama back to land on the 53, he makes far more sense on the practice squad, and the team will surely try to get him there.
The final name is Nkansah, who, similar to a few other names mentioned spent most of last year on the practice squad. Nkansah featured in just one game, the Seahawks’ win over the Chiefs. Tackle is typically a position Seattle will have on the practice squad, and Nkansah is a logical fit, as the fifth of five tackles on the 90-man roster. An outside acquisition in the coming days could push him off, but the Seahawks are clearly fond of Nkansah. In addition to receiving a ton of action at tackle during the preseason, he also filled in for George Fant in the jumbo tight end role when Fant missed time.
A few other players who could potentially land on the practice squad eventually aren’t mentioned for various reasons. Without a doubt, the team would like whichever receiver ends up as the odd man out—be it Gary Jennings, Jazz Ferguson or someone else—to land on the practice squad. Whether they make it through waivers is another story.
Demarcus Christmas looks likely to start the season on the PUP list, meaning Seattle won’t need to make a decision on him soon.
Joey Hunt, a long-time resident of the team’s 10-man squad, has a high ankle sprain, which will surely see him spend the beginning of the season as a free agent while he recovers.
Bryan Mone is well positioned to make the 53, but should he come up short, would be a welcome addition to the practice squad.
Over the next few days, the Seahawks will be scouring the league relentlessly, filling out the margins of the 53 and the 10-man practice squad. They have the core of the latter already in place, with several great options in house.