After three preseason games, the Seahawks’ roster looks pretty set through about 45 positions.
With only Thursday’s game against Oakland left, the Hawks seemingly are set everywhere but their last few cornerbacks, including the starter on the right side, plus their sixth receiver, their last offensive and defensive linemen and maybe their final linebacker. (UPDATE: Backup QB was up in the air until the Seahawks acquired Brett Hundley on 8/29.)
Injuries will play into a couple of decisions. The Hawks probably won’t put fifth-round tackle Jamarco Jones (high ankle sprain) or J.D. McKissic (broken foot) on IR because they don’t want to lose either for the season. So expect the team to keep them both and then possibly use short-term IR on one or both after Week 1.
That will affect the keepers on the offensive line and at running back, where the Hawks might forgo a fullback (as they did in 2016).
Here’s our roster projection through three games (updated with comments from Pete Carroll):
Keep: Russell Wilson, Brett Hundley
Why: The Hawks traded for the QB we thought they should have drafted in the fourth round in 2015. The coaches obviously were not satisfied with Austin Davis as the backup. Alex McGough has shown some promise the last couple of games, but the Hawks surely will put him on the practice squad (no one is going to pick him up).
Carroll on Hundley: “He’s played quite a bit and started a bunch of games last year. We’ve been able to see him and really see how he developed, and we liked him coming out of college as well. He’s big, he runs well, he’s got a good arm, he’s got good vision of the field, he’s made a lot of big throws and big plays. He really gives you the thought that he can come into a game and keep it moving. It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Keep: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, J.D. McKissic, C.J. Prosise
Why: Before the Vikings game, Brian Schottenheimer made it sound like Prosise is a keeper. Tre Madden didn’t play vs. the Vikings and the offense looked fine without a fullback. Nick Vannett stepped in for a few plays, which shows the Hawks might feel OK going without one. They added Daniel Marx on Sunday, but it would not be a surprise if they kept five tailbacks and then perhaps considered putting McKissic on short-term IR after Week 1 and adding a fullback. McKissic (broken foot) is projected to be healthy around Week 4. It is very hard to see the Hawks keeping five tailbacks AND a fullback.
Carroll on the fullback spot: “It’s been a nice return to the opportunity and potential to play with a back in the backfield in front of the tailback. We’ve always liked that. We just ran out of guys last year and weren’t able to, but we’re happy to have a back. That’s why we got a couple of guys in the program, and it’s an area of focus for us.”
Keep: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall, David Moore, Amara Darboh
Why: The first five are locks, so the only question is what the Hawks do with the sixth spot. Darboh still seems to be the favorite, based entirely on his draft stock, but Keenan Reynolds showed some savvy with Wilson vs. the Vikings and Marcus Johnson offers good special-teams ability (and made a nice deep catch vs. Minnesota). The Hawks always could put Darboh on IR or the practice squad (assuming no one claims him off waivers), but odds are they will give him another shot. The Hawks already started paring this unit by waiving Tanner McEvoy, who had a terrible 2017 season after controversially being kept over Kasen Williams (who obviously wasn’t nearly as good as Sea Dawgs thought anyway).
Carroll on Baldwin: “He’s back in action. It’s really good to see him back out there running around and feeling great. He’s had a really good ramping up to get to this point. He’ll work the rest of the week with us, he won’t play in the game, but he’ll be ready to go next week.”
Keep: Nick Vannett, Ed Dickson, Will Dissly
Why: Dickson will be there eventually. Tyrone Swoopes or another position player could take his spot for Week 1-2.
Carroll on Dissly: “Will is just getting going. A lot of things we’ve done, he’s only repeated them a few times on the field. He’s got a lot of growth in him. He’s really smart, it makes sense to him. He’s very accountable, and he’s just going to keep getting better. Physically he’s good enough to really be a factor, so that’s a big improvement us. I think it’s a great pick. John (Schneider) was on this one right from the start. He really brings something that we’ve needed.”
Keep: Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Jordan Roos, Jamarco Jones, Rees Odhiambo
Why: The top eight seem set, although Jones could go on short-term IR after Week 1. Roos has played well enough to merit a spot, and we’d keep the flexible Odhiambo over Isaiah Battle (especially with Fant now the No. 2 right tackle). J.R. Sweezy, who has been out with a high ankle sprain, could be brought back after Week 1, if Jones is placed on IR. Such a move also would mean Sweezy’s 2018 salary wouldn’t be guaranteed.
Carroll on Ifedi: “I think he’s doing well, he’s doing really well. He’s really cleaned up his game; he’s playing hard. He’s got some technique things that he’s working on that show up — you can tell that he is. I think he’s responding well. … He played a very solid game (at Minnesota).”
Keep: Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones, Rasheem Green, Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Quinton Jefferson, Branden Jackson, Poona Ford, Erik Walden, Dion Jordan (PUP)
Why: The top seven or eight are set. Unless Jordan comes off PUP (unlikely), the Hawks probably will keep Walden, who had two sacks with the backups in Minnesota, to help with the outside pass rush. They also seem likely to keep Ford; someone would him up scoop otherwise. K.J. Wright called this the best D-line he has played behind, so we’re going with 10 linemen and dumping a corner in this projection.
Carroll on Ford: “He’s been really good on the line of scrimmage. He’s got his own style. He’s short (5-11), but he’s got the real long arms (80-inch wingspan) and his leverage is really an asset for him. But beyond that, he’s very instinctive. That’s why he was such a big player at Texas. He made so many plays, he was recognized as the player of the year — you can see why. He’s just really instinctive and then he’s got that kind of unique style about him. He’s done really well.”
Keep: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Barkevious Mingo, Shaquem Griffin, Jacob Martin, Austin Calitro
Why: Wright is having arthroscopic knee surgery, and is uncertain for the start of the season. Griffin will start in his place if he misses the opener (or more). Martin and Calitro seem like easy calls for the fifth and sixth guys. As usual, the Hawks are fairly thin at linebacker and relying on Wagner and Wright to stay healthy (and not off to a great start there).
Carroll on Calitro: “He played really well the first week. Second week, (he) wasn’t quite as sharp. And then he came right back and had a terrific game this last game — big hits, coverage was really solid. His command of what we’re doing really jumped this week, and you could see him just gaining confidence. He was really part of the juice that was out on that field throughout the second half (at Minnesota) and was really leading the charge. He’s done a really good job. He’s been effective on special teams, shown really good toughness, and he’s really settling in.”
Keep: Shaquill Griffin, Bradley McDougald, Justin Coleman, Tedric Thompson, Delano Hill, Maurice Alexander, Tre Flowers, Byron Maxwell, Dontae Johnson
Why: The four safeties are set, but half the corner spots are unclaimed, with Maxwell, Johnson, Akeem King and Neiko Thorpe all in the mix for two or three spots. King had a rough game vs. Minnesota, so we’ve taken him off the list. If Thorpe’s wrist doesn’t allow him to play this week, he could end up on IR. And Maxwell is still trying to come back from a hip injury. Because Carroll has not seen much from this corner crew outside the top three, it might be better to keep just five so they can keep 10 guys on that deep D-line. And it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pull off a minor trade or pick up a corner off waivers.
Keep: Sebastian Janikowski, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
Why: Janikowski and Dickson both quickly justified their permanent roster spots, kicking very well against the Vikings. Janikowski hit a 55-yard field goal, showing he still has NFL-caliber leg strength. And Dickson was spectacular, landing two punts at the 3 after 50-plus yards and then making the tackle after a 60-yard punt. This crew is ready to roll.