As they prepared for their final preseason game, the Seahawks seemed to have made some key roster decisions.
The report that they are looking to trade Jermaine Kearse basically confirms that J.D. McKissic will be on the 53-man roster after Saturday’s cuts. It also could mean they are clearing a spot for Tanner McEvoy to join receivers Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Kasen Williams and Amara Darboh.
With the do-it-all McKissic now counting as a running back, the Seahawks seem locked in on these positional numbers: QB 2, RB 6, TE 3, DL 9, LB 6, ST 3. And most of the decisions are made at those spots, with backup QB maybe the only position of contention (if David Bass and Marcus Smith are the final two D-linemen and D.J. Alexander is a keeper at linebacker).
So the fluid positions appear to be WR (5 or 6), OL (8 or 9) and DB (9 or 10) — with one of those groups destined to go light a player.
In other words, this final game could boil down to a competition for four spots among McEvoy, guard Jordan Roos and defensive backs Neiko Thorpe, Tramaine Brock, Tedric Thompson and Pierre Desir.
McEvoy should make it — as he showed in his rookie year in 2016, he offers so many skills (catching and throwing, blocking kicks, etc.). That would leave Roos and the four DBs fighting for three spots.
The trade for Matt Tobin might have knocked Roos out, because Tobin can play guard or tackle.
Pete Carroll said Wednesday, “I’m really fired up about the flexibility (on the line). Ethan Pocic gives us really a good deal of flexibility in that he can play guard, he can play tackle and he can play center. That’s a big deal. He can play on both sides for us. For us to be able to do that is a big deal. But also, Matt Tobin has come in here and shown us that he can … play guard and tackle. It’s just a real positive force as we figure this thing out and put the roster together.”
If the flexibility of Pocic and Tobin, along with the presence of veteran guard Oday Aboushi, is enough for the Hawks to be comfortable with eight linemen, then Roos is already out and the Hawks will go with 10 defensive backs. It would then just be a question of which three get the final spots.
Of course, John Schneider and his pro personnel staff surely have eyes on some guys who could bump a couple of Seattle’s lower-end players. They apparently are still hunting for a pass-rushing defensive tackle; they reportedly checked out former Cleveland D-lineman Desmond Bryant last weekend and have their feelers out.
“We are already in the anticipation of who else is going to be released and that kind of stuff,” Carroll said. “John does a marvelous job. Those guys are all over it, and they are all just hard at it right now.”