As we continue our countdown of the Seahawks’ 90-man roster with players 40-31, we are starting to get to some of the core players on the team — if not starters, at least players who might have significant roles this season.
The countdown also helps illustrate that the Seahawks will have some good battles for roster spots this training camp, as there are a few players I have ranked here who aren’t guaranteed to be on the 53-man roster when the season begins.
On to the ratings:
40. Alex Collins
Position: Running back
Potential role in 2021: Backup and complementary running back, and insurance in case of injuries to others, and particularly if Rashaad Penny has any issues getting all the way back from his 2019 ACL injury.
Why he’s ranked here: A Seahawks draftee in 2016, Collins was brought back at midseason when injuries hit and had a few decent moments with 77 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Seattle has five running backs on the roster who saw action last season but will likely keep only four heading into the season.
39. Bryan Mone
Position: Defensive tackle
Potential role in 2021: Ticketed to be the third tackle in the rotation up front behind Poona Ford and Al Woods.
Why he’s ranked here: It might be worth remembering that the Seahawks thought more highly of Mone’s play last season than they did of Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison, which helped lead to Harrison’s eventual departure. Mone showed much greater pass-rush efficiency last year and the Seahawks are hoping that trend continues.
38. Cody Barton
Potential role in 2021: Backup linebacker and core special-teams player.
Why he’s ranked here: Barton has started six games at strongside linebacker and will compete with Darrell Taylor to take over that spot this year. But the Seahawks seem really excited about the potential of Taylor, who’s the front-runner for the job if he stays healthy. This could relegate Barton to again serving as basically the fourth linebacker. His special-teams prowess shouldn’t be overlooked. He was second in the NFL last year with 16 special-teams tackles, the most for any Seahawk in 10 years.
37. Kyle Fuller
Potential role in 2021: Fuller enters camp competing with Ethan Pocic for the starting center job, but could again be a backup at all three interior spots.
Why he’s ranked here: This ranking might seem high for Fuller given he played in only two games last year and started only one — the defeat against the Rams in Los Angeles in which he unfortunately suffered a high ankle sprain. But the Seahawks say he’ll get every chance to win the center job, which is a pretty important position.
36. Rashaad Penny
Position: Running back
Potential role in 2021: Backup, and maybe competition for starting running back Chris Carson, but at the least a complementary piece in the backfield.
Why he’s ranked here: Penny’s Seattle career has not gone the way anyone figured it would after he was taken in the first round in 2018. The team did not pick up his fifth-year option, meaning he is entering the final year of his rookie contract, hoping for a bounce back.
35. Ugo Amadi
Position: Safety/nickel corner
Potential role in 2021: Amadi enters camp competing with Marquise Blair for the starting nickel job after taking over in 2020 when Blair suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game.
Why he’s ranked here: It’s easy to assume Blair will step back into the nickel role, but Amadi played pretty well there a year ago. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 66.8, the best of any Seahawk cornerback other than D.J. Reed, and 41st in the NFL.
34. Cedric Ogbuehi
Position: Offensive tackle.
Potential role in 2021: Enters camp as competition, but more likely as a backup, to Brandon Shell at right tackle.
Why he’s ranked here: Coach Pete Carroll said in the spring he wants to give Ogbuehi a legitimate shot at the right-tackle spot, where he started four games last year when Shell was injured. After a rough first start against Philadelphia, Ogbuehi rebounded and allowed no sacks and only one QB hit in his last three starts, which included the division-clinching victory against the Rams.
33. Freddie Swain
Potential role in 2021: Enters camp competing with rookie Dee Eskridge for the third receiver spot while also battling Penny Hart and others to keep at least the fourth or fifth spot.
Why he’s ranked here: Swain played at least 12 snaps in every game last season and as many as 34, but his production tailed off with just three catches for 25 yards in the last seven games. Seattle has a bevy of intriguing free agents competing at the receiver position, so Swain will have to fight to earn a roster spot again this year.
32. Jordan Simmons
Potential role in 2021: Simmons essentially was Seattle’s third guard last season and ended up playing 593 snaps, fifth-most of offensive linemen, with six starts. With Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson ticketed to be the starters, Simmons seems headed to another year as the third guard.
Why he’s ranked here: Seattle’s trade for Jackson relegated Simmons to backup status for another year. But Simmons has shown to be trustworthy in that role.
31. Tre Flowers
Potential role in 2021: Enters camp among the handful of corners vying for a starting spot, but more likely might be relegated to being a third or fourth corner.
Why he’s ranked here: Flowers has become a convenient target of fans for some spotty performances the past few years. And his contract situation makes clear he is far from certain to make the team — his $2.183 million base salary for this season is not guaranteed, and even if he makes the team that deal might have to be reworked. But Flowers always has seemed something of a personal favorite of Carroll’s, and the Seahawks coach spoke highly in the spring of how Flowers has responded to the challenge of losing his starting job and having to fight for playing time. And at 6 feet 3, 203 pounds, he remains the most “Seahawky’’ looking corner the team has.