The Seattle Seahawks are set to begin actually practicing Wednesday, after the conclusion of both the initial COVID testing procedure, and then the extended acclimation period following the most unique NFL offseason in recent memory. With that in mind, here’s a look at some facts about the Hawks current 80 man roster by the numbers, counting down from 13.
13: The number of players on the roster at the largest position groups, with 13 players currently battling to make the 53 man roster on both the offensive and defensive lines. While names like Duane Brown, Jarran Reed and B.J. Finney are, barring injury, effectively locks to make the final roster, there are plenty of players like Kyle Fuller, Demarcus Christmas and Cedrick Lattimore who will be duking it out for those final spots at the end of the roster.
12: The Seahawks front office has assembled a roster that is absolutely stocked full of youth and upside potential, but at the same time, there is a solid number of veterans sprinkled in as well with a dozen players who have been in the league for seven or more years. The names on this list include Benson Mayowa, Geno Smith, Neiko Thorpe, Luke Willson, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, Nick Bellore, K.J. Wright, Mike Iupati, Duane Brown and Greg Olsen.
The majority of those names are near locks to make the roster, with only a couple truly up for debate. That said, in a season where maturity, good decision making and following the rules outside the facility will be paramount, it’s not hard to think the team could keep all twelve of those players simply on the basis of their experience and professionalism. One player doing one dumb thing could derail the season for the entire team, and that’s a new factor for teams to take into account when setting the roster this year. That could give those players who are arguably on the bubble, including Nick Bellore and Luke Willson, a leg up on their younger, potentially less mature competition.
11: The number of Seahawks listed at 6’5” or taller. Interestingly, all of these players come from two position groups, the offensive line and the tight ends. Specifically, four of the tight ends on the roster measure in at 6’5” or taller, including Greg Olsen, Luke Willson, Stephen Sullivan and Colby Parkinson, so it certainly seems as though the team is looking for a Jimmy Graham style red zone weapon who can post up on defensive backs in the end zone.
10: How many Seahawks are 30 years old or older? Exactly ten. These include several names that Hawks fans have cheered for in recent seasons, including Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin and Duane Brown. Free agent addition Olsen is currently the oldest player on the roster, having turned 35 back in the spring. (Readers may insert their own, “John Ursua will take on the title of oldest player on the roster once he is officially returned from the COVID list” joke here.)
9: As noted above, there are 11 Seahawks who are 6’5” or taller, while there are nine who are listed at 5’10” or shorter. The names on this list come from far more position groups than the taller players, however, as they include two running backs (Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas), three wide receivers (Penny Hart, Tyler Lockett and Phillip Dorsett), three defensive backs (Quandre Diggs, Ugo Amadi and the recently claimed off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers D.J. Reed) and a kicker (Jason Myers, not Jason Elam).
8: The number of wide receivers currently battling for what is likely to be five spots. The Seahawks opened the 2019 season with seven receivers on the roster, which tied for the largest number of wide receivers the team has kept during the decade Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been together. This was likely due to the large turnover at the position group, however, with the team set to return three of its top four receivers by snap counts from 2019, it’s likely the Hawks will carry only five on the 53 man active roster. At this point, Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore and Phillip Dorsett are likely all but locks for the roster, meaning the remaining players are fighting for that fifth and final spot.
Someone is going to get upset that I listed Moore as a lock and not Ursua, but with the team likely to take Lockett of return duties, Moore is basically a lock thanks to his special teams contributions. Moore has logged 143 special teams snaps the past two years, including 113 during an injury-shortened 2019, and his explosiveness and athleticism make him the logical favorite to be the lead returner for the team this year.
7: Seattle currently has seven players listed as linebackers, and with the top of the depth chart all but guaranteed to include Wagner, Wright and Jordyn Brooks, it will certainly be interesting to see how things shake out at the bottom. The team has kept six linebackers in each of the past five seasons, so it’s certainly possible that the cuts needed at linebacker come via injury. In addition, with Bruce Irvin likely set to fill a role as a pass rushing specialist, it could easily be argued he is more of a defensive end than a linebacker. In any case, with a mix that is almost entirely made up of aging veterans (Wagner, Wright and Irvin) and very young potential (Brooks, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven and Shaquem Griffin), it’s a group which bears watching not just this season, but in the years to come as well.
6: Each year has seen the number of players who were on the roster for the 2013 Super Bowl victory dwindle, but that trend has changed in 2020. With the return of Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, there are now a half dozen members of the 2013 Super Bowl winning team on the roster. The other four are, of course, Luke Willson and K.J. Wright, along with future Hall of Famers Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
5: While running backs may not matter, the names that are likely to make the final 53 man roster are fairly easy to point at, as there are only four running backs currently practicing. Chris Carson is the unquestioned leader of the bunch, with free agent addition Carlos Hyde likely to be the primary backup. Behind them Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas are set to be first and second year backs out of the same program, Miami, with both fans and the team eagerly awaiting the return of Rashaad Penny from PUP. While it remains a possibility Penny could return from the PUP list during camp, based on the severity of his injury it seems far more likely his return comes later in the year.
4: Fans are excited about the potential for the continued development of the young players on the defensive line, with Rasheem Green and Poona Ford set to play their third season with the Hawks, and L.J. Collier and Bryan Mone back for their second year. However, there are a lot more fans concerned about the significant loss of snaps over the course of the offseason. Gone are Jadeveon Clowney (605 snaps), Quinton Jefferson (589 snaps), Al Woods (450 snaps) and Ziggy Ansah (338 snaps). Clowney and Jefferson will be missed the most, and while Woods and Ansah had issues that limited their availability at times, they both contributed in a way on their own. Only time will tell whether the addition of Benson Mayowa and the return of Bruce Irvin will be enough to offset these losses, but replacing just those four players named means replacing 1,982 snaps this season.
3: Pete Carroll, along with offensive line coach Mike Solari and Tom Cable previously, have long espoused the benefits of continuity on the offensive line. However, this season Seattle is projected to have three new starters on the offensive line in Brandon Shell, Damien Lewis and B.J. Finney. Mike Iupati and Duane Brown are set to return on the left side, but neither is young and either could see injury force them to give way to their backups. An offensive line can adequately handle two first year starters in a group (Lewis and Finney), but when that number increases to three is when things can get ugly, as the Hawks learned first hand in 2016. Other teams, including the 2015 New England Patriots and 2019 Los Angeles Rams, found out the hard way how well three first year starters on the offensive line works, so here’s hoping for health up front this season.
2: Russell Wilson has now played eight seasons in the NFL. Over the first half of that time span he led the team to seven postseason victories, including the 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. However, over the second half of that timeframe, the Hawks have managed just a pair of postseason wins. The first was a home win over the Detroit Lions in the 2016 Wild Card, with the second coming earlier this year when the Hawks went on the road to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles. Is this the year the team finally puts things together and wins more than just a lone postseason game?
1: The number of Lombardi trophies this roster hopefully brings home to the VMAC in 2020.