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 also pursue some other free agents who may become available along the way (such as last year’s spring pickup of Brandon Marshall). And then there’s also the always the constant churn at the bottom of the roster (such as will likely happen next week after this weekend’s rookie mini-camp, when Seattle may sign a player or two among those who try out).
So, trying to guess at this point what Seattle’s 53-man roster will look like when the season begins is an admittedly impossible task.
But what the heck? With the draft over, we do at least have a pretty good sense of how the roster in general 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. Seattle has also signed undrafted free agent Taryn Christion of South Dakota State and may well bring in someone else at some point. 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: Seattle has just six running backs on its current 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 Seattle 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.
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, as you may have noticed, are 2018 fifth-round pick Jamarco Jones as well as Joey Hunt, Jordan Roos and Elijah Nkansah. And I can hear the pushback 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 still be reluctant to part easily with a second-round pick of just two years ago (2017).
Keep: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings, David Moore, Jaron Brown.
Comment: For now, I’m going to assume Doug Baldwin won’t be around, which if nothing else allows us to take a peek at what a Baldwin-less receiving corps might look like. Of that five, Brown would be my least-sure thing -- Seattle could save $2.75 million by releasing him. Also, Seattle might well 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 there in games Baldwin was out, according to Rotoworld.com)?
Keep: Jarran Reed, L.J. Collier, Poona Ford, Jamie Meder, Quinton Jefferson, Jacob Martin, Rasheem Green, Nazair Jones, Cassius Marsh.
Comment: As noted above, this spot is almost certain to have a pretty key addition or two over the next few weeks/months as Seattle brings in another edge rusher or two and maybe a tackle, as well. Not counting undrafted free agents, Seattle currently has 12 DLs on its roster, so the three I have not making it are Branden Jackson, Nate Orchard and Demarcus Christmas. Christmas would undoubtedly be a player Seattle would keep on its 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 also list Jefferson and Jones as tackles (each plays a role in which they can move inside and play there in passing downs).
Keep: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Barkevious Mingo, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, Shaquem Griffin.
Comment: The odd man out here the way I have it constructed 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, too). But neither of the draft picks, nor Griffin, has been talked about specifically playing the strongside linebacker spot where Mingo started last season, though Kendricks could move out there. Seattle doesn’t have to rush to make that decision since the savings on Mingo are the same whenever he is released.
Keep: Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Kalan Reed, Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe.
Comment: Going with a 26-24 defense-offense split allows me for now to get both five corners and five safeties on the roster -- Seattle has often gone with just nine total defensive backs. One of Reed or King for now 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 the way I have it is Shalom Luani, who played just 10 snaps on defense last year, though he was a regular on special teams. But 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, for now you’d assume Hill and/or Thompson would still make the roster.
Keep: PK Jason Myers, P Michael Dickson, S Tyler Ott.
Comment: These are the only kicker, punter and snapper Seattle has on the roster, so for now, the special teams battery appears set.