The NFL draft may be over, but the roster building never ends.
The Seahawks are avidly pursuing more defensive linemen and particularly rush ends (such as Ziggy Ansah, who visited this week) and have enough cap space to pursue some other free agents who may become available along the way (such as last year’s spring pickup of Brandon Marshall). There’s also the constant churn at the bottom of the roster (as will likely happen next week after this weekend’s rookie minicamp, when the Seahawks may sign a player or two among those who try out).
So, trying to guess what the Seahawks’ 53-man roster will look like when the season begins is admittedly an impossible task.
But what the heck? With the draft over, we do have a pretty good sense of how the roster projects.
With that in mind then, let’s take a shot at what a 53-man roster for the Seahawks might look like if the season started today, which if nothing else serves as a good way to review each position.
Keep: Russell Wilson, Paxton Lynch.
Comment: No drama here. Wilson is the starter and Lynch appears set to be the backup. The Seahawks have also signed undrafted free agent Taryn Christion of South Dakota State and may bring in someone else. But Wilson-Lynch — a combo that has worked well for the Seahawks before, if in a different package — appears pretty set here.
Keep: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, C.J. Prosise, Bo Scarbrough.
Comment: The Seahawks have just six running backs on its roster if you include J.D. McKissic, officially listed by the team as a return specialist. McKissic may be the odd man out here even if the Seahawks keep five — as they did last year and as I have them doing here — especially since Seattle also may have a lot of other options as returners this year.
Keep: Will Dissly, Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett.
Comment: The other viable contender for a spot is recently acquired Jacob Hollister, for whom the Seahawks gave the Patriots a 2020 seventh-round pick earlier this week. But I’m not sure Seattle would keep four tight ends, especially with George Fant’s ability to serve tight-end roles when needed. But this figures to be a competitive spot. Assuming he’s healthy, Dissly is a sure thing. But Dickson makes just enough that if the Seahawks thought Vannett and Hollister were better options they could think about saving some money. Vannett is in the fourth and the final season of his rookie contract, so his margin for error for making the team is slim.
Keep: Duane Brown, D.J. Fluker, Justin Britt, Mike Iupati, Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Jordan Simmons, Phil Haynes, Ethan Pocic.
Comment: Among those I have not making it here are 2018 fifth-round pick Jamarco Jones, Joey Hunt, Jordan Roos and Elijah Nkansah. And I can hear the push back already — why keep Pocic? The reason is that he can play center and can back up at every spot along the line. Hunt is the only other backup with significant experience playing center. But Pocic has more versatility, and I think the Seahawks would be reluctant to part with a second-round pick after just two years. But the battle for those backup spots will be intriguing, to be sure. If Jones can pick up where he left off last summer before he was hurt, he could well earn a spot. I’m keeping Simmons because of the job he did last year filling in at guard, and Haynes was drafted just high enough I think the Seahawks would be worried about losing him if he was waived.
Keep: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings, David Moore, Jaron Brown.
Comment: I’m going to assume Doug Baldwin won’t be around. Of that five, Brown would be my least-sure thing — Seattle could save $2.75 million by releasing him. Also, the Seahawks might want to keep six — maybe at the expense of one of the OLs or RBs I kept above — such as Amara Darboh, Keenan Reynolds, Malik Turner or John Ursua. It will be especially intriguing to see how the slot receiver spots develop if Baldwin does leave. Do they use Lockett there more as they did last season (he played 60 percent of the time in the slot while Baldwin was out, according to Rotoworld.com)? Or do they leave Lockett on the outside and have Jennings and Metcalf play the slot? Maybe they keep someone such as Reynolds, who they have been grooming for the slot position for a year? Lots of fun questions to ponder.
Keep: Jarran Reed, L.J. Collier, Poona Ford, Jamie Meder, Quinton Jefferson, Jacob Martin, Rasheem Green, Nazair Jones, Cassius Marsh.
Comment: This spot is almost certain to have a key addition or two over the next few weeks/months as the Seahawks bring in another edge rusher or two and maybe a tackle. Not counting undrafted free agents, the Seahawks have 12 DLs on the roster, so the three I have not making it are Branden Jackson, Nate Orchard and Demarcus Christmas. Christmas would undoubtedly be a player the Seahawks would keep on their practice squad and as a sixth-round pick, would likely get through waivers. I admittedly have a little bit of a strange mix in my nine above — only three true early-down tackles in Ford, Meder and Reed, though the Seahawks list Jefferson and Jones as tackles (they play a role in which they can move inside for passing downs). At this point, Reed, Ford, Collier, Green and Martin might be about the only sure things.
Keep: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Barkevious Mingo, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, Shaquem Griffin.
Comment: The odd man out here is Austin Calitro. Mingo’s salary — the team could save $4.1 million against the cap if he is released — also puts him firmly on the bubble (though it’s worth remembering he was a huge special-teams contributor last year). But neither of the draft picks, nor Griffin, have been talked about playing the strongside linebacker spot where Mingo started last season, though Kendricks could move out there. The Seahawks don’t have to rush to make that decision since the savings on Mingo are the same whenever he is released. The team has said the plan is to use Griffin more in some specialty pass-rush situations, a development that will be intriguing to watch during camp.
Keep: Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Kalan Reed, Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe.
Comment: Going with a 26-24 defense-offense split allows me to get five corners and five safeties on the roster. The Seahawks have often gone with nine defensive backs. One of Reed or King appears the front-runner at the nickel spot.
Keep: Bradley McDougald, Tedric Thompson, Delano Hill, Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi.
Comment: The odd man out here is Shalom Luani, who played just 10 snaps on defense last year, though he was a regular on special teams. Blair and Amadi seem like givens to make it, and while one or the other could beat out Hill and/or Thompson for the right to start alongside McDougald, you’d assume Hill and/or Thompson would still make the roster.
Keep: PK Jason Myers, P Michael Dickson, LS Tyler Ott.
Comment: These are the only kicker, punter and snapper the Seahawks have on the roster, so the special-teams battery appears set.