The preseason is over and it’s that time of year again - time for teams across the NFL, including the Seattle Seahawks, to make their final roster cuts and trim down to 53. Fans got their final look at the players competing for a spot Friday when the Hawks dropped to 0-3 in the preseason with a 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but now it’s on to Week 1 and the Denver Broncos.
So, without beating around the bush, here is a stab at projecting the 53 man roster on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive Line (6)
Keep: Myles Adams, Shelby Harris, Poona Ford, Quentin Jefferson, Bryan Mone and Al Woods
Cut: Jarrod Hewitt
Injured Reserve: L.J. Collier
Collier and the elbow injury he suffered early in training camp have created one of the biggest question marks for this position group when it comes to projecting the roster for the defensive line. Boiling it down as simply as possible, Collier did not play a single snap during the preseason, and it’s not because his name is written at the top of the depth chart in sharpie. The elbow injury he suffered during the mock game creates an interesting situation since it’s an injury that likely isn’t going to heal quickly, and injured players cannot be released or waived outright. The injury could have the effect of earning Collier his entire 2022 base salary while on injured reserve, whether as a result of the team moving him to IR or whether he is waived with an injury designation and then reverts to IR after clearing waivers.
Keep: Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu, Boye Mafe, Cody Barton, Nick Bellore, Tyreke Smith, Alton Robinson and Vi Jones
Cut: Aaron Donkor, Tanner Muse, Lakiem Williams and Joshua Onujiogu
On the Physically Unable to Perform list: Jon Rhattigan
This is a position that could see significant movement after the initial roster is set. Whatever the hip injury is that kept Smith out of the preseason, and whatever the shoulder injury is that ended Mafe’s preseason prematurely, could easily see either one land on injured reserve. Now, if they move to IR prior to 4:01 PM New York Time on Wednesday, it’s wait until next year as their 2022 season is over. If, however, the injuries are something from which they can recover during the season and return to play and gain experience, it makes sense to keep them on the roster until Thursday and move them to injured reserve at that point in time.
In any case, it will be a surprise to exactly no one if John Schneider and Pete Carroll are staring at the waiver wire with a list of inside linebackers they would love to be able to claim. Alternatively, it won’t be a surprise if there is a trade, or possibly even more than one, to add a player at the position who can provide depth on defense and contributions on special teams.
Keep: Sidney Jones, Artie Burns, Coby Bryant, Tariq Woolen, Justin Coleman and Mike Jackson
Cut: John Reid and Jameson Houston
On Physically Unable to Perform list: Tre Brown
With the number of injuries that have hit this group during training camp and the preseason, it would not be a surprise to see either Reid or Houston added back to the roster after some initial shuffling. Both entered the league in 2020 and have bounced around, though showed enough during training camp to make it to the final set of cuts.
Keep: Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Ryan Neal, Josh Jones, Marquise Blair and Joey Blount
Cut: Deontai Williams and Scott Nelson
The big questions at safety revolve around the health of Neal and how his ankle is recovering, and whether or not Blair will stick around after three injury-plagued, disappointing seasons. Regardless of how things play out further down the roster, there is no doubt at the top of the depth chart, where Diggs and Adams are the unquestioned starters. Further, Jones has likely done enough during training camp to warrant an opportunity to show what he can do while Neal recovers.
And that’s a wrap on the roster projections for the 2022 offseason.