As our Seahawks player countdown continues we are now getting to players who enter training camp potentially ticketed for roster spots — and potentially significant roles — on the 2021 team.
Let’s get to it, rating players 60-51 on the 90-man roster with camp set to begin July 28.
60. Aldon Smith
Position: Defensive end.
Potential role in 2021: The Seahawks signed the well-traveled Smith to a one-year, veteran minimum deal in April aiming to see if he still has games in him like his three-sack outing against Seattle last year, and add back end depth to the pass rush.
Why he’s ranked here: Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they have yet to see Smith on the field as he did not take part in the offseason program with coach Pete Carroll saying he didn’t think he was ready yet. After signing, Smith also almost immediately got into an alleged altercation in New Orleans that resulted in a second-degree felony battery charge (the legal process remains unresolved and the Seahawks have said only they would let the process take its course before making any comment or decisions on Smith’s status). Smith is obviously talented. But he is now 31 and had just two sacks in the 15 games other than against Seattle last year. Anything Seattle gets out of Smith might be a bonus. Fortunately, his contract is as low-risk as can be.
59. Stone Forsythe
Position: Offensive tackle.
Potential role in 2021: The sixth-round pick out of Florida will vie for a backup spot at tackle and specifically behind Duane Brown on the left side, while also attempting to show the team he could be an heir apparent for Brown.
Why he’s ranked here: In the wake of the draft, Forsythe was called by many as the prototypical boom-or-bust prospect (though any sixth-round pick has fairly high odds of making it big). Seattle will be happy if Forsythe progresses well enough that at cutdown time the Seahawks decide they can’t waive him and risk another team claiming him.
58. John Ursua
Position: Wide receiver
Potential role in 2021: The 2019 seventh-round pick out of Hawaii may have just one shot left to forge a spot on the roster, especially with the influx of other receivers over the past two years.
Why he’s ranked here: There was a lot of excitement about Ursua in the preseason of 2019. But he’s played just 11 snaps in three games in two years (all in 2019), and the drafting of Dee Eskridge, in particular, didn’t seem to bode well for Ursua.
57. Phil Haynes
Potential role in 2021: Like Ursua, Haynes, who was a fourth-round pick in the same 2019 draft, is entering a critical year in his career. With the guard spots seeming set, Haynes joins the crowd hoping to earn a spot as a swing backup inside.
Why he’s ranked here: There was a lot of excitement about Haynes when he was drafted. But injuries have contributed to him playing just one regular season offensive snap in two seasons. This feels like make-or-break time.
56. Jordan Miller
Potential role in 2021: The one-time Husky standout appeared to be working mostly as a slot corner in the offseason program, where the Seahawks also are using Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi. Showing he could be serviceable depth both inside and out could be the key to him earning a roster spot.
Why he’s ranked here: Miller was a fifth-round pick of the Falcons in 2019 but has played just 24 defensive snaps in two seasons and remains a pretty unknown commodity. The first few weeks of camp will be key to begin opening some eyes.
55. Cedrick Lattimore
Position: Defensive tackle.
Potential role in 2021: Lattimore, who was on the practice squad all of last season as an undrafted rookie out of Iowa before being activated for the playoff loss to the Rams, enters camp appearing to be the fourth base-down defensive tackle after Poona Ford, Al Woods and Bryan Mone. Seattle usually keeps three on its 53-man roster. But a spot on the practice squad would also mean being close by whenever needed.
Why he’s ranked here: Lattimore impressed in the playoff game with six tackles, playing 26 snaps, 19 against the run. The goal in camp will be to build on that and force the team to make a tough decision with its tackle spots.
54. Pierre Desir
Potential role in 2021: Desir, who was on Seattle’s practice squad the second half of the 2016 season, returns to join the crowded cornerback competition. Desir, who has 44 career starts, has ample experience at both left and right corner and might most logically be viewed by the team as a veteran who could provide gameday depth on either side.
Why he’s ranked here: Desir was ranked as the 15th best corner in the NFL in 2018 when he was with the Colts. His play has fallen off markedly the past two years. But if he can return to that level at age 30 then he’s got every chance to make the roster.
53. Jamarco Jones
Position: Offensive lineman.
Potential role in 2021: Jones has seven career starts in two NFL seasons including playoffs, with three at right guard, two at left guard and one each at right tackle and left tackle. Logically, earning a spot as a swing backup able to help out everywhere but center may again be his best shot at the roster.
Why he’s ranked here: Jones was once regarded as a potential heir apparent at either tackle spot. This might be his last camp to show he has that kind of future with Seattle.
52. Damarious Randall
Potential role in 2021: Randall got 35 snaps in 2020 as a backup safety and in specialty packages. But when he re-signed in the offseason, the team announced he was now a cornerback, the position where he started 30 games for Green Bay from 2015-17. Throw him into the crowded corner mix and let’s see what happens.
Why he’s ranked here: It’s worth remembering Randall was a first-round pick in 2015, and in 2016, he had two of Green Bay’s five interceptions off Russell Wilson in an infamous Seattle loss at Lambeau in 2016. So he can’t be discounted too easily from the corner competition.
51. Ben Burr-Kirven
Potential role in 2021: Burr-Kirven, a former UW standout now entering his third NFL season, seems ticketed to another year as a backup inside and a core special teamer.
Why he’s ranked here: Barring injury, it’s hard to see Burr-Kirven earning a starting job. But he’s been a special teams stalwart in his first two seasons, and there’s a lot of value in that.