Earlier Tuesday I took a stab at projecting which members on the roster of the Seattle Seahawks offense will still be around after final roster cuts, and here is a guess on the defensive side.
Keep: Poona Forda, Bryan Mone and Al Woods
Cut: Myles Adams, Jarrod Hewitt, Cedrick Lattimore, Walter Palmore and Robert Nkemdiche
At first glance this likely seems light to many fans, however, with so many defensive ends on the roster who can slide inside on passing downs, keeping just three defensive tackles is in line with what the team has done in recent seasons.
Still the same. Some are likely to argue that the team might not be able to expose former first round pick Nkemdiche to waivers, but he was out of the league in 2020 and has as much of his 2021 salary guaranteed by the Seahawks as you and I, meaning there wasn’t a lot of demand for his services. If he flashes in preseason, sure, there could be demand for him. Or, he could be the kind of player the team looks to keep as depth on the practice squad while asking him to continue to demonstrate that the work ethic and motor questions which dogged him in the past are no longer issues.
Keep: L.J. Collier, Carlos Dunlap, Rasheem Green, Kerry Hyder, Alton Robinson and Benson Mayowa
Cut: Aldon Smith
This is one of those position groups where it is hard to decide where to make the cut. Dunlap, Hyder and Mayowa weren’t signed as free agents in order to be immediately released, but it’s possible. Collier showed significant growth and improvement in 2020, while Robinson contributed far more than many likely expected for a fifth round rookie. Green is a wild card because between his 2020 neck injury and the fact he has not unquestionably grabbed the starting role entering the final year of his rookie contracts makes for an interesting situation worth watching. Smith gets cut simply because he wasn’t on the field for minicamp and is the second oldest player in the position group, so could have an uphill battle making the final cut against the younger guy.
Keep: Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, Darrell Taylor and Nate Evans
Cut: Jon Rhattigan and Aaron Donkor
Fans keep calling for the team to sign K.J. Wright as depth, but the starters at the position are effectively all but known at this point: Wagner at MIKE, Brooks at WILL and Taylor at SAM. Add in Barton and BBK as roster locks due to their special teams contributions and offseason waiver wire claimant and tackling machine Nate Evans providing depth at both MIKE and SAM while also offering special teams potential, and there’s not a lot up for grabs at the position.
Keep: Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Ryan Neal and Marquise Blair
Cut: Joshua Moon, LaDarius Wiley and Aashari Crosswell
Not a lot to discuss here, as the starters are set barring injury, and Blair can provide depth at safety while also likely providing important snaps as the nickel corner.
Keep: D.J. Reed, Akhello Witherspoon, Tre Brown, Ugo Amadi and Tre Flowers
Cut: Pierre Desir, Gavin Heslop, Bryan Mills, Damarious Randall and Jordan Miller
Fans have spent most of the summer flipping out about the questions for the team at cornerback, but questions breed competition which, hopefully, bring answers. Reed and Witherspoon likely have the inside track on the starting jobs on the outside, with Brown unlikely to lose his roster spot due to his status as a fourth round selection. Amadi played 479 snaps in the slot last season, and he and Blair are likely to compete for the job once again while also potentially providing depth at safety.
Ideally one of the younger players will flash in camp and can provide young upside and potential for the future. That said, the Hawks don’t exactly have a great record when it comes developing cornerbacks over the past decade, so it’s not out of the question that Flowers, Desir or Randall could stick around as the backup corner on the outside.