Here's a look at five Seahawks' veterans whose jobs, if not roster spots, appear more at risk now after the additions the team made in the NFL draft last weekend.
The Seahawks added 10 players in the NFL draft last weekend, all of whom will arrive this week to begin their careers with a rookie minicamp.
And with each rookie added to the roster, there is a veteran whose job could be more at risk.
Here’s a look at five veteran players whose roster spots — or at the least, the roles they have held — could be most impacted by the additions from the draft, in no particular order:
RB Christine Michael: The Seahawks drafted more running backs than any NFL team — three — doubling the number they had entering the draft and making that spot as competitive as any on the roster. Assuming he returns to full health as the Seahawks expect, Thomas Rawls is likely to be the No. 1 back entering the season.
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Third-round pick C.J. Prosise fits the profile of third-down role held last season by Fred Jackson and likely is close to being a lock for a roster spot.
The Seahawks weren’t the only ones surprised to see Alex Collins drop to the fifth round. If Collins shows he has improved his fumbling issues, he’d seem hard-pressed not to make the roster He also seems like a player another team would sign before the Seahawks could get him back on the practice squad after releasing him.
Last year the Seahawks kept three tailbacks and two fullbacks — Derrick Coleman and Will Tukuafu — on the roster. The Seahawks don’t have anyone on the roster who is specifically a fullback, though they have some players they could try there (such as USC’s Tre Madden, who was signed as an undrafted free agent) and some players at other spots who could fill fullback roles (such as tight end Brandon Cottom, a college fullback).
Depending on how the fullback situation shakes out, Seattle could have room for a fourth tailback.
But it could easily be that Michael, Prosise and Collins (as well as seventh-rounder Zac Brooks) are battling for two roster spots behind Rawls.
Michael, who signed a one-year contract worth $725,000 for the 2016 season, showed vast improvement last season in his return to the team. But that he hasn’t historically done much on special teams,. which could come into play, as well as which of the backup tailbacks shows the most as a receiver.
TE Cooper Helfet: Helfet has been the team’s third tight end the past two seasons, playing in 24 of a possible 32 regular-season games and four playoff games (starting three). But that role is up for grabs with the drafting of Ohio State’s Nick Vannett in the third round.
The perception of Seattle’s tight ends — Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson and Helfet — is they are better receivers than blockers. Vannett is billed as a block-first guy who would play much more on the line of scrimmage, which could give the Seahawks flexibility in how they use their other tight ends.
One caveat is Graham’s health — if he doesn’t make it back as quickly from a season-ending patellar-tendon injury as the team expects, it could be Willson, Vannett and Helfet as the three tight ends to start the year. Vannett also could fill some of the fullback blocking roles to create roster flexibility.
But assuming Graham is healthy and the Seahawks construct the roster in the same manner as past years, the final roster spot at tight end could be a Helfet/Vannett battle.
DL Jordan Hill: The Seahawks traded up to take two defensive tackles — Jarran Reed in the second round and Quinton Jefferson in the fifth. Though Reed projects more as a Brandon Mebane-type nose, Jefferson appears more of a three- and five-technique type. Hill was Mebane’s listed backup last year but can play the other two spots. Ahtyba Rubin seems a given to start at the three-tech spot again, and Reed seems a lock to make the roster. Seattle typically keeps four to five tackles, so that could have Hill, Jefferson, free-agent signee Sealver Siliga and A.J.Francis, who was signed late last season and was Rubin’s listed backup, battling for the final two or three spots.
This looms as a key year for Hill, a 2013-third round pick who will be a free agent after the 2016 season. He has battled nagging injuries, playing in just 27 of a possible 48 regular-season gamesand two of a possible eight playoff games.
C Patrick Lewis: The Seahawks seemed pleased with the role Lewis played in the offensive line’s improvement the second half of the season — its play picked up markedly after Lewis became a full-time starter following the bye after the eighth game. But little on the line seems set.
The Seahawks added to the mix at center by drafting Joey Hunt. Hunt lasted until the seventh round, but he also was the first player listed as a center taken by the team since Max Unger in 2009. He becomes the fifth player listed as a center on the roster along with Lewis, Kristjan Sokoli (a seventh-round pick in 2015 who made the conversion from defense last year), Drew Nowak (the starter at the beginning of last season) and Will Pericak (another DL-to-OL convert who spent last season on the practice squad but has drawn raves from the coaches). Lewis signed a one-year qualifying offer that will pay him $1.67 million and includes no dead salary-cap money.
OG Justin Britt: When the draft ended, it appeared the Seahawks had taken a tackle (Germain Ifedi) and a guard (Rees Odhiambo). That led to the conclusion that Odhiambo likely would battle for the open right-guard spot, which J.R Sweezy manned last year before signing with Tampa Bay, with second-year player Mark Glowinski.
But since then, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have said Ifedi will start his career at right guard and Odhiambo at left guard, where Britt last year started all 16 games last year. Since then, the team has published a photo from a workout showing Glowinski playing left guard.
That has led to speculation about the Seahawks’ plans for Britt –- if he stays at left guard to battle for the job with Odhiambo and maybe Glowinski, or if they plan to have him again try tackle, where he started in 2014, or maybe even center, a spot he tried briefly in college at Missouri.
The safest bet is that there will be a fairly constant shuffling of bodies and experimenting of combinations throughout the offseason and early training camp before anything is set.