Football has finally arrived in Renton, Washington. The Seattle Seahawks are now a week deep into the 2018 training camp season.
As team practices lead to preseason games (August 9th) we will be eyeing multiple position battles and individual performances on the field. Though the final roster won’t be set until September 1st, here is an early-camp prediction of what the Seahawks’ roster might look like once the regular season begins.
Russell Wilson, Alex McGough
Cut: Austin Davis
Historically Seattle rolls the dice with just two quarterbacks on the active roster. Russell Wilson is a perennial Pro-Bowler, enough said. After spending a draft pick on McGough, their first on a passer since taking Wilson in 2012, the Seahawks will go with the rookie over veteran Austin Davis.
Running backs (5)
Rashaad Penny , Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise , Mike Davis, Khalid Hill (Fullback)
Cut: J.D. McKissic, Tre Madden, Jalston Fowler
Rashaad Penny arrives in Seattle with high expectations after Seattle invested the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on him. A bruising yet versatile back out of San Diego State, Penny should immediately have a short-yardage role while working his way into a three-down job. Carson, fully recovered from a gruesome 2017 leg-injury, will open the year as the starter and split lead-back snaps with Penny. C.J. Prosise, finally healthy (for now), can be truly dynamic. He will round out the rotation with do-it-all Mike Davis. J.D. McKissic, though flashing at times last season, seems to be the odd man out. He could stick however, if the injury bug strikes Prosise once again. Khalid Hill is poised to be the first true fullback the ‘Hawks have had in some time. He’s a road-grader in the run game.
Tight ends (3)
Ed Dickson, Will Dissly, Nick Vannett
Cut: Tyrone Swoopes, Je’Ron Hamm, Kayaune Ross
The veteran Dickson is set to open camp on the non-football-injury with a groin injury suffered in the spring. This will open up the competition for Dissly, Vannett and Swoopes. Dissly is a major upgrade as a run-blocker and is a lock to make the team. Dickson, a prolific pass blocker, is a lock after being guaranteed over $3 million in 2018. (Due to his status on the NFI-list, Ed doesn’t currently count against the 90-man roster). Vannett has been given every chance to succeed by the Seahawks, and 2018 may be his last chance to impress. Due to his all-around ability to contribute in both the run and pass games, combined with Dickson’s injury, he could actually find himself as the starter early in the year. Swoopes, a former collegiate quarterback, is extremely gifted athletically but just too raw to be on the active roster. Ross and Hamm are purely camp bodies.
Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett , David Moore , Amara Darboh, Jaron Brown, Keenan Reynolds
Cut: Damore’ea Stringfellow, Marcus Johnson, Caleb Scott, Tanner McEvoy, Cyril Grayson, Brandon Marshall
Baldwin, the leader of the group, is dealing with a lingering knee issue and is expected to miss extended time. This bodes well for Keenan Reynolds, the former Navy-quarterback and Baldwin’s backup in the slot. Keenan’s been a standout through the first week of camp and offers bonus value as a kick-returner. Lockett is set as the Seahawks number-two receiver. Free-agent Jaron Brown is Seattle’s new deep threat, replacing the departed Paul Richardson. He can contribute on the kick-coverage teams as well. David Moore is a bit on the bubble and is battling veteran Brandon Marshall for a role as the ‘Hawks “big-receiver”. Moore seems to have a leg up in the competition, as Marshall had been unavailable for the start of camp while recovering from the ankle and toe injuries that cut his 2017 season short. Brandon will have to really impress as a red-zone threat in order to make the team. It looks like it could be a battle amongst Tanner McEvoy, Marcus Johnson, Cyril Grayson, Amara Darboh, Caleb Scott and Damore’ea Stringfellow for the sixth and final receiver spot. Darboh, a 2017 draft pick, is unlikely to be cut so soon, especially because of his special-teams value.
Offensive line (9)
Tackle: Duane Brown, Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Jamarco Jones
Guard: Ethan Pocic, D.J. Fluker, Jordan Roos, Rees Odhiambo
Center: Justin Britt
Cut: Marcus Henry, Avery Young, Willie Beavers, Joey Hunt, J.R. Sweezy, Skyler Phillips, Isaiah Battle
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Seattle just locked up Brown to a three-year, $36 million extension to be Russell Wilson’s protector on the blind-side. Ifedi has the talent to start again at right tackle, but must cut back on the mental mistakes. The ‘Hawks have always been high on Fant, and he appears to be on the road to recovery from an 2017 ACL-tear. Jones, a fifth-round pick this year, will make the cut. Philips is an intriguing rookie free-agent out of Idaho State and might just stick around due to his versatility to play all along the line, but is likely a practice-squadder in 2018. Battle, signed by Seattle last year, has a slim chance as being the swing-tackle. Free agent addition D.J. Fluker should improve the run game, and he’ll team with Pocic to form a solid duo at guard. J.R. Sweezy was brought back to challenge Fluker for a job, but doesn’t seem to have enough gas left in the tank to make the squad. Odhiambo projects as the top backup at guard and Roos can play both guard and center. Britt is becoming one of the league’s more consistent players at center.
Defensive line (8)
End: Frank Clark, Dion Jordan, Rasheem Green, Marcus Smith, Jacob Martin
Tackle: Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones, Shamar Stephen
Cut: Eddy Wilson, Quinton Jefferson, Poona Ford, Branden Jackson, Tom Johnson
Frank Clark is set on one side. Who lines up opposite him is becoming one of the major concerns of training camp. Dion Jordan was brought back after an impressive 2017 audition with Seattle, but is a major question mark after being held-out of practice with lingering knee issues. Because of that, versatile pass-rushers Marcus Smith and Jacob Martin are a good bet to make the team. Rookie Rasheem Green can play both inside and outside, which may allow Seattle to actually carry one less lineman. At tackle, Jarran Reed and Nazair Jones are locks. Free-agent addition Shamar Stephen was brought in from the Minnesota Vikings to stop the run. 33-year old Tom Johnson, also a former Viking, can rush the passer. Ultimately, Green’s presence may just lead to Johnson’s release. Jackson, Ford and Jefferson all offer upside, but are likely to spend the year on the practice squad.
Outside: K.J. Wright, Barkevious Mingo, Shaquem Griffin, D.J. Alexander Inside: Bobby Wagner, Emmanuel Beal
Cut: Austin Calitro, Warren Long, Jacob Pugh
Veteran stalwarts Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright return. Mingo is a lock with the versatility to play on the strong side and then kick down to defensive end on passing downs. D.J. Alexander is a special-teams ace. The Seahawks are loving what they’re seeing out of rookie Shaquem Griffin so far. He has the speed to make plays all over the field and projects to be the top-backup on the outside. The rest of a group is where there are no clear-cut roster locks. Beal, though undersized, excels in pass-coverage and projects to be Wagner’s backup at middle linebacker. Pugh is an intriguing, yet raw, size/speed prospect. Long and Calitro are purely developmental players.
Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Justin Coleman, Trovon Reed, Neiko Thorpe, Byron Maxwell
Cut: Akeem King, Mike Tyson, Dontae Johnson, DeAndre Elliott, Jeremy Boykins
Second-year rising star Shaquill Griffin steps into the all-important left cornerback spot vacated by Richard Sherman. Maxwell won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks and returns for his third stint on the right side. He will have his hands full holding off rookie Tre Flowers, who has been extremely impressive early on. Coleman played at a Pro-Bowl level in the slot last season and returns on the final year of his rookie contract. Late-comer Trovon Reed, signed a couple of days into training camp, has been making plays all over the field. He may just do enough to earn a spot in his fourth go-round with the ‘Hawks. Thorpe’s a solid special-teamer with the added bonus of being able to play corner and safety.
Earl Thomas, Tedric Thompson, Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill, Maurice Alexander
Cut: T.J. Mutcherson
This position will be dictated by Earl Thomas’ status, but for now we’re projecting him to be the starter at free safety. McDougald is the starter at strong safety and could slide over if Thomas misses time. Thompson has been getting a ton of snaps, and praise at free safety during Thomas’ absence. Hill is a strong safety who excels near the line of scrimmage. He projects to be McDougald’s top backup, though he will face stiff competition from Mo Alexander. Maurice, a former starter with the Rams, has opened some eyes with his play so far in camp.
Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski
Punter: Michael Dickson
Long-snapper: Tyler Ott
Cut: Jon Ryan, Jason Myers
The Seahawks can save $5 million by cutting Ryan. Unless he significantly outplays the rookie Dickson, another fixture in Seahawk blue will be gone. Myers doesn’t have the leg of Janikowski and is likely to loose the kicking competition to the former Oakland Raider. Ott is exactly what you want in a long-snapper, consistent.