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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Real Seahawks Roster Analysis

I've posted the same Seahawks 53-man roster prediction twice (on 5/2 and 6/4), and I didn't see anything in the two minicamps that convinced me enough to make any changes just yet. As noted previously, CB Kevin Hobbs is the one player I didn't include that is making the biggest push to earn a roster spot. It also looks like Olindo Mare is winning the kicker battle, but that should be expected at this point.

A series of posts went through the roster position-by-position, but lets take a look at what we know for sure and what is left to be decided during training camp.

Offense
Quarterbacks (2-3)
Locks: Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, Charlie Frye
TDB: Is the coaching staff comfortable enough with Charlie Frye to allow Seneca Wallace a more expanded role at receiver or as a return man? As of right now, the answer to that question is no. By the end of training camp, things could be different. Jordan Kent might be the player most directly affected.

Backfield (5-6)
Locks: Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver
TDB: Can David Kirtman hold off Owen Schmitt and keep the backup fullback job? Can Justin Forsett make a big enough impact on special teams to earn a roster spot? The answer to both of those questions is probably no. However, it is important to realize that Schmitt has to take Kirtman's spot, not the other way around. As for Forsett, keeping a 4th halfback doesn't usually make a lot of sense.

Receivers (5-7)
Locks: Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor
TBD: Will Deion Branch be healthy enough to be on the active roster on August 30th? That doesn't mean he has to be ready to play in Week 1, but rather ready enough to be valuable over the first six weeks. That being said, it looks like he will most likely land on the PUP. That has a big impact when it comes to crunching the numbers at several positions.

Logan Payne looks like a safe bet to be the sixth receiver (counting Deion Branch). I have Jordan Kent as the last player making the 53-man squad. That is mainly due to Branch's injury, Bobby Engram's holdout, and uncertainty about Charlie Frye. If those concerns sort themselves out, then Kent will be headed back to the practice squad to make room for a 9th DB, a 10th offensive or defensive linemen, or possibly even a 6th RB.

Tight Ends (3)
Locks: John Carlson, Jeb Putzier, Will Heller
TBD: Who will start? Or does that even matter? We can expect to see more two tight end sets, and all three tight ends should get a decent amount of action. Putzier is probably the most likely to see the least amount of playing time this year.

Offensive Line (9-10)
Locks: Walter Jones, Sean Locklear, Mike Wahle, Chris Spencer, Rob Sims, Chris Gray, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto
TBD: Can Floyd Womack stay healthy enough to make the team? He is a lock unless his minor injury concerns turn into something major before August 30th. Given the health issues across the board on the offensive line, this might be a year the Seahawks keep 10 guys. Right now, Kyle Williams is that 10th guy, and Steve Vallos is the 11th. It will probably take an injury (to one of the 9 guys ahead of them) for either of them to jump from the practice squad to the active roster. Otherwise, it will depend on if another position can sacrifice a spot.

Defense
Defensive Ends (4-5)
Locks: Patrick Kerney, Darryl Tapp, Lawrence Jackson, Baraka Atkins
TBD: How does Lawrence Jackson fit into the rotation? Jackson is probably a better first and second down DE and Tapp is a better third down DE. I would expect Jackson to eventually play more at DE in running situations, and Tapp more in passing situations. Jackson is also going to see time at DT when the Seahawks are looking to put a lot of pressure on the passer. Will a 5th DE make the team? I doubt it, which isn't good news for Jason Babin or Chris Cooper.

Defensive Tackles (4-6)
Locks: Rocky Bernard, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, Craig Terrill
TBD: Who else makes the team, if anyone? Marcus Tubbs, Larry Tripplett, Howard Green, and Chris Cooper are all worth mentioning. It's hard to think Tubbs will be ready to contribute at the start of the season, if at all this year. I put him on the PUP list by default. I don't think Chris Cooper will get much of an opportunity to line-up at DT during training camp. Injuries will play a major role here, but I think it really comes down to Larry Tripplett vs. Howard Green for one spot. That will be decided during training camp, but I think Tripplett is the better player and better fit for this defense.

Linebackers (7)
Locks: Lofa Tatupu , Julian Peterson, Leroy Hill, D.D. Lewis, Lance Laury, Will Herring
TBD: I think Wesley Mallard is a lock as well, but just to keep it interesting, I am going to at least mention Matt Castelo as someone with an outside chance to make the team. I think he has a good chance to land on the practice squad.

Defensive Backs (7-9)
Locks: Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Josh Wilson, Jordan Babineaux, Deon Grant, Brian Russell
TBD: Will health concerns keep either Mike Green or C.J. Wallace from making the squad? Is there room for Kevin Hobbs? Those two questions are directly related and might also depend on what happens at other positions. Hobbs is still on the outside looking in until things clear up, but it feels like one way or another he is going to make it impossible for the Seahawks to cut him. Kelin Johnson doesn't look up to the task of making a run at the roster, but he could land on the practice squad. Jamar Adams speed, or lack thereof is a major issue, and he'll have trouble making the practice squad.

Special Teams (3)
Locks: Tyler Schmitt
TBD: Will Ryan Plackemeier's torn pectoral muscle heal in time for the start of the season? The Seahawks will be signing a veteran any day now as an insurance policy, which means Plackemeier is no longer a lock to make the team. Brandon Coutu still has some time to make his case that he is as good as Olindo Mare, but if everything remains as is, then it will be Mare that makes the team. If Mare can comeback fully from his injury, then he is the favorite. That should be fun to watch during the preseason games. Pay attention to both kick-offs and field goals.

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