Wednesday the Seattle Seahawks made a move that had been expected for several weeks, signing Jordan Simmons to a contract that will bring him to training camp to compete for a spot on the interior of the offensive line. Simmons joins a crowded group of offensive linemen, in particular a large group of linemen on the interior who will be battling come July and August for the right to be a starter. The return of Simmons means the team has a whole host of interior offensive linemen who are either under contract or on a restricted free agent tender.
The interior offensive linemen on the roster currently are:
- Jordan Simmons,
- Justin Britt,
- D.J. Fluker,
- B.J. Finney,
- Joey Hunt,
- Ethan Pocic,
- Phil Haynes,
- Chance Warmack,
- Jordan Roos,
- Kyle Fuller and
- Demetrius Knox.
That’s eleven different interior linemen, which brings up the question how many interior linemen the team typically brings to camp each season. To answer that, here’s a look at the training camp roster composition each year since 2012. (Author’s note: The first two years of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era are excluded because the NFL did not expand to 90 man rosters until 2012, meaning 2010 and 2011 saw only 80 players in camp.)
Seahawks training camp roster breakdowns by year compared to current roster
To make things a little easier, here are those breakdowns averaged across the eight seasons Carroll and Schneider have been in Seattle, along with the differences between the current roster and the average at the start of training camp.
Current Seahawks roster compared to training camp average
From this point, it is possible to then develop a ballpark projection of what positions will be added to the roster in the coming months through both the draft and free agency. Specifically, the eleven interior offensive linemen the team currently has is already more than the team typically brings to training camp. This could indicate that any of a number of names could be traded or released in the coming months.
Britt has been identified as a potential cap casualty, Pocic could potentially carry some sort of trade value as a still under 25 year old former second round pick who is not a great scheme fit for current offensive line coach Mike Solari or one of them could wind up on injured reserve before camp even opens.
In any case, while a couple of positions are well short of the typical number of players carried in training camp, including quarterback and fullback, these are not high priority positions. Russell Wilson is unquestionably the starter at quarterback heading into the season, so while it’s possible the team could use a late round pick on someone like it did with Alex McGough in 2018, it could also add an undrafted free agent like Jake Heaps or Trevone Boykin. At fullback the team will probably add an undrafted free agent to compete with Nick Bellore, but Bellore was third on the Hawks in special teams snaps and his background as a former starting linebacker adds to his value.
That leaves wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback as the positions still needing to be filled which are of a slightly higher priority. With Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright set to start again, and 2019 selections Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven waiting in the wings, however, linebacker would appear to be a position for which any need is not urgent.
In contrast, at cornerback both Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin are set to be free agents after 2020, with no true starter at the nickel position returning from 2019. While Ugo Amadi has been named as a competitor at the position and appears to be a fan favorite, he was unable to establish himself as the unquestioned starter in 2019, even as Jamar Taylor floundered.
The Seahawks also went heavy at wide receiver in the 2019 draft, selecting DK Metcalf, Gary Jennings and John Ursua. However, Metcalf was the only one of the group to do much on the field as a rookie, and Jennings is now a member of the Miami Dolphins. At the position the team has Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at the top of the depth chart, and then a lot of question marks. Malik Turner, David Moore and Phillip Dorsett all seem poised to battle for the third receiver spot, with Ursua, Penny Hart and Cody Thompson behind them.
So, while there is certainly the possibility for the roster to change in the two weeks between now and Day 1 of the draft on April 23, this at least provides some sort of road map for where the team may be headed between now and training camp. In any case, with just two weeks until Pete and John trade out of the first round, there is at least something to look forward to in the near term future as much of the country continues to practice social distancing and people are starting to run out of things to binge watch.