Analysis of Seattle’s initial 53-man roster

The bottom of the roster is going to change over the next week and beyond, but once the Seahawks finally announced their initial 53 (and the corrections that followed), a few things were immediately clear:

**They powered up their defensive line with former first-round picks Sheldon Richardson and Marcus Smith, who replaced Ahtyba Rubin and Cassius Marsh. But they have only eight linemen for now.

**They switched up at backup quarterback, going with the safer Austin Davis over the mercurial Trevone Boykin.

**They kept 10 offensive linemen for now, with undrafted guard Jordan Roos making it and the Hawks acquiring Isaiah Battle from Kansas City. That seems likely to change.

**Seattle upset a few people by not keeping local favorite Kasen Williams. He and Pierre Desir were initially listed as waived/injured, but the team apparently screwed up. Both were just waived — no injuries.

The Seahawks flummoxed many (especially Sea Dawgs) when they waived Williams, who had a stellar preseason and seemed a lock for one of the top five receiver spots in a deep competition.

Even Richard Sherman was dismayed over the Williams move, tweeting, “There is no explanation for this!”

After all the talk about their depth at the position, the Hawks kept just five receivers. Third-round pick Amara Darboh, who did little in preseason, made it — as expected. And Tanner McEvoy, a 6-foot-6 former QB who can also block kicks, beat out Williams, too.

Of course, Swiss army knife J.D. McKissic can function as a receiver as well, even though he technically counts as a running back these days.

The Hawks kept nine of their 11 draft picks, waiving David Moore and Mike Tyson (Malik McDowell and Justin Senior are on injured lists). Fourth-rounder Tedric Thompson was the one question mark, and he made it as the Hawks kept five safeties and five corners.

The biggest move on this roster over the last couple of days was the trade for Richardson, a deal that made Rubin expendable. Rubin had started the past two seasons and had signed a three-year, $12 million contract in 2016. Seattle basically let him go a year earlier than most figured, saving his $2.2 million salary this year and $3.8 million in 2019.

Seattle did the same with Marsh, who was in a contract year, and received a good return: a fifth and seventh. The Patriots apparently had been asking about Marsh for a month and originally had offered a sixth-rounder.

John Schneider made five trades over the past two days, and, pending more deals, the Hawks’ 2018 draft stock now includes these picks by round: 1, 3, 4, 5, 5, 7, 7, 7. That does not include the conditional pick for Battle — probably a 7.

Here’s a look at the roster, by position:

QUARTERBACK
Kept (2): Russell Wilson, Austin Davis
Cut: Trevone Boykin
Analysis: The Seahawks decided to go with discretion over valor, as Davis offered more savvy and security, even if he’s not splashy. Boykin simply did not progress in his 16 months with Seattle. He is still inaccurate, fails to read the field well and makes poor choices. His mobility was not enough to overcome all of those deficiencies.

RUNNING BACK
Kept (6): Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic, Tre Madden
Cut: Marcel Reece, Mike Davis, Alex Collins
Analysis: The Hawks decided to keep McKissic for all of the things he can do, especially with Tyler Lockett slowly coming back from his broken leg. Collins, a fifth-round pick in 2016, was outplayed by Carson, this year’s seventh-rounder who might end up as the starter shortly. At fullback, Madden made it over Reece, although the veteran could be brought back after Week 1, when his contract will no longer be guaranteed.

WIDE RECEIVER
Kept (5): Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Amara Darboh, Tanner McEvoy
Traded: Jermaine Kearse
Cut: Kasen Williams, Kenny Lawler, David Moore, Cyril Grayson, Darreus Rogers, Rodney Smith
Analysis: The Kearse trade was the big move here as the Hawks moved on from the likable overachiever who was part of some major moments over the past five years. Williams had a great preseason, but the decision to keep just five receivers ruined his chance to stay in Seattle. The Hawks preferred McEvoy, who last year showed his value. Darboh didn’t show much during preseason, but the third-round pick gave the coaches more to see in practice and never really seemed in danger. The big question for Week 1 in Green Bay: How much will Lockett contribute?

TIGHT END
Kept (3): Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Nick Vannett
Cut: Tyrone Swoopes, Steve Donatell
Analysis: No surprises here, although some thought Swoopes might somehow sneak onto the roster. The bigger question: Will the Seahawks extend Graham in the next week? Or at any point before the season is over?

OFFENSIVE LINE
Kept (10): Luke Joeckel, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi, Mark Glowinski, Oday Aboushi, Ethan Pocic, Rees Odhiambo, Matt Tobin, Jordan Roos, Isaiah Battle
Cut: Joey Hunt, Will Pericak, Darrell Brown, Tyrus Thompson
Injured: George Fant (IR)
Analysis: The Hawks kept 10 players for now, although Battle is a conditional acquisition who may not make it to Week 1. Roos drew early raves from Pete Carroll and made it over Hunt, the center the Hawks “had to have” in the sixth round last year. Tobin also stuck after being acquired from Philadelphia on Aug. 21. It looks like the starting line for Green Bay will be Odhiambo, Joeckel, Britt, Glowinski and Ifedi. Pocic, a second-round pick, bumped Hunt as the backup center, and Pocic will work as a reserve on the right side, too. The versatile Tobin figures to be the primary reserve left tackle unless Battle shows better.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Kept (8): Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Nazair Jones, David Bass, Marcus Smith
Traded: Cassius Marsh
Cut: Ahtyba Rubin, Quinton Jefferson, Garrison Smith, Tylor Harris, Jeremy Liggins, Greg Milhouse
Injured: Malik McDowell (NFI), Dion Jordan (NFI), Rodney Coe (waived), Christian French (waived)
Analysis: The big Richardson trade bolstered an already excellent group, and the Hawks decided to let the 31-year-old Rubin go after they could not trade him. Richardson almost surely will step up alongside Bennett, Avril and Reed in the base, with Jones rotating in on running downs and Clark replacing Reed on passing downs to create a hellish pass rush with Bennett, Avril and Richardson. Bass and Smith made Marsh expendable. Bass made a big play in every preseason game, and Smith finally showed in the last two games some of the talent that made him a first-round pick in 2014. The Hawks made a big move to get Jefferson in the 2016 draft, but Carroll recently said he was still playing catchup from a knee injury that knocked him out last season. The Hawks are light at defensive tackle after letting Rubin go and might look to add a ninth player on the line before the season.

LINEBACKER
Kept (6): Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Michael Wilhoite, Terence Garvin, Dewey McDonald, D.J. Alexander
Cut: Mike Morgan, Kache Palacio, Rodney Butler, Otha Peters
Analysis: The only real question with this group was whether Alexander would make it — he didn’t play much in the preseason after being acquired from Kansas City on July 28. Carroll loves him though. “He is an extraordinary special teams player,” Carroll said, “and to add him into the group we already have could make it a very, very good group.” Wagner and Wright will have three new guys in the room this year — apparent upgrades over Brock Coyle, Mike Morgan and Kevin Pierre-Louis.

SECONDARY
Kept (10): Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Bradley McDougald, Jeremy Lane, Shaquill Griffin, Neiko Thorpe, Delano Hill, Justin Coleman, Tedric Thompson
Traded: Tramaine Brock
Cut: Pierre Desir, Mike Tyson
Injured: DeShawn Shead (PUP), DeAndre Elliott (IR), Demetrius McCray (waived), Marcus Cromartie (IR)
Analysis: Desir and Brock lost out in the final four-man competition, and the Hawks added Coleman via trade with New England instead of keeping Desir. Thompson, a fourth-round pick, made it in as the 10th DB. Assuming Coleman is a keeper, this group seems likely to stay together all season.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kept (3): Jon Ryan, Blair Walsh, Tyler Ott
Analysis: Walsh was the big question, but he responded with a great preseason (9 for 11).

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One thought on “Analysis of Seattle’s initial 53-man roster”

  1. The DL looks awfully good. From everything I read and hear, Bass, Jones, and Smith represent a major upgrade in depth. Plus, they now have a four-man rush on passing downs.

    I’m thinking that Griffin starts at CB. They don’t appear to have much confidence in Lane, plus Seattle has been willing over the years to invest in early season learning curves.

    Like

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