Here are five players to watch in Saturday's Seahawks-San Diego preseason game.

Share story

The preseason starts to get as interesting as it possibly can this weekend.

For one, the Seahawks will play their starters into the third quarter — the longest they will play in the preseason.

And then the team will have to make its first cuts, from 90 to 75, by Tuesday at 1 p.m. Pacific time (though some could come earlier).

Those cuts will be relatively easy (which is no disrepect to the players being released, just a comment that the first cuts tend to be pretty obvious).

The game will also be a further audition for those hoping to survive the cut from 75 to 53 — the deadline to set the initial 53-man regular season roster is Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. Pacific time.

Here are five players worth keeping a particular eye on Saturday:

1. WR B.J.Daniels: At this point, Daniels appears to have a better than 50-50 shot to make the team. Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Ricardo Lockette and Chris Matthews seem pretty set as the first five. At the moment, Daniels would seem like the sixth, a number that seems reasonable to expect (Seattle had seven WRs at cutdown date last year and actually had eight for the first game against Green Bay). While Daniels has had a couple of drops in the first two preseason games, these have also been the first two games he has played at receiver at any point in his career (something coach Pete Carroll noted this week, a comment that felt like a vote of confidence for Daniels). Despite those drops, he is tied for the team lead in receptions with five and at the moment is also the team’s backup kickoff and punt returner and can serve as an emergency quarterback, if needed. His versatility, to this point, combined with showing enough at receiver feels like enough to get him on the roster. Another good performance or two could cement that spot.

2. DT Jesse Williams: The return of Williams to the field following surgery in late May to remove a cancerous kidney, as well as knee injuries that held him out the last two one of the feel-good stories of camp for the Seahawks. But the cut-throat reality of the NFL is that the Seahawks will have to make a business decision on Williams at some point based on whether he can help the team this season. It was expected there would be some rust for Williams to kick off the first few weeks. Carroll on Thursday, though, talked optimistically of what Williams has done so far, saying: “He’s got a chance to help us. We’ve always looked for the big steady dude in there to get in the combination of our rotation. He’s got a chance to do that. He’ll get a good chance again this week.” Williams is helped by the fact that it seems like the last few spots on the line remain somewhat muddled with a lot of players having been in and out with nagging injuries, meaning a good performance or two could also mean a quick move up the depth chart (Williams is listed fourth at one DT spot behind Ahtyba Rubin, D’Anthony Smith and David King on the depth chart given to the media/public though those listings need to be taken with a little grain of salt).

3. OT Terry Poole: The game marks a homecoming for Poole, who played on the same field at San Diego State before being taken in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. Poole struggled mightily early when used inside at guard. He has seemed to get more comfortable since being used exclusively the last few weeks at tackle (where he played in college) drawing high grades from Pro Football Focus. He’s also getting a lot of time at both tackle spots right now with the position low on depth due to injuries to Jesse Davis and Kona Schwenke. So figure Poole will get lots of snaps in his old position on his old field, as good a setting as any to make a good case for himself.

4. SS Ryan Murphy: A seventh-round pick out of Oregon State, Murphy had a good first few days to training camp before suffering a high ankle sprain on a play when he leapt high in the end zone to defend a pass to Kasen Williams. After missing the first two preseason games, he’s now back and healthy and should be given lots of snaps to show he deserves a seat at the table of candidates to fill in for Kam Chancellor for as long as that may be necessary (and to be a backup if/when Chancellor returns). “This is really important for Ryan,” Carroll said Thursday.”He just has had few limited opportunities to make a sense of anything so we’re anxious to see if he can get out there to do some stuff. Special teams as well. He looks like a good football player, we just got to see what happens.”

5. DE Greg Scruggs: Scruggs’ play down the stretch in 2012 (two sacks included) elicited excitement over what he might become. But he suffered a knee injury that cost him 2013 and another that held him out of all but three games last season, and his hold on a roster spot now seems tenuous, at best — he’s listed fourth on the depth chart at left defensive end (or, the end in the base defense) behind Michael Bennett, Frank Clark and Demarcus Dobbs. Scruggs has one sack in the first two games but may need to show more to survive the final cut.