Here’s a closer look at the Seattle Seahawks roster heading into this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
I have the Seahawks at 92 players on the roster with two draft picks currently unsigned in fourth rounders Robert Turbin and Jaye Howard, so the team still has some wiggle room on the 90-man roster.
You can check out the roster on this excel spreadsheet here New_2012_Seahawks_Roster.
QuarterbackNumber kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: FourAverage number kept since 2008: ThreeLocks: Matt Flynn, Russell WilsonLooking good: Tavaris JacksonLonger odds: Josh PortisComment – This position experienced an extreme makeover from last season, with Seattle adding what it hopes are significant upgrades in Flynn and Wilson to increase the overall performance from this position. My opinion is even though Jackson is in the final year of his contract, if he does not win the starting job the Seahawks likely will keep him. Seattle believes this team is on the cusp of a deep playoff run, and you can’t do that without having two veteran quarterbacks that can step in and win games for you. I think this will be mostly a learning year for Wilson. And don’t count out Portis; the organization still likes him as a player and he’ll be given a chance to prove he can be a part of the equation moving forward.
Running backNumber kept last season: FourCurrently on roster: SevenAverage number kept since 2008: 4.75Locks: Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington and Michael RobinsonLooking good: Robert TurbinLonger odds: Kregg Lumpkin, Tyrell Sutton, Vai Taua, Comment – Turbin and Lumpkin will compete for the backup spot behind Lynch. Both are big, physical backs that should provide a similar running style when Lynch is out of the game. Lynch carried the ball a career-high 285 times for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, earning his second career Pro Bowl nod. The Seahawks would like to lessen his carries this season so that Lynch is healthy should they make the playoffs. Washington is penciled in as the third-down back with Justin Forsett presumably not returning. But Sutton also provides some competition with a similar skill set. Taua spent most of last year on the practice squad and did a nice job giving the first-unit defense a good look on the scout team, but he’ll have to prove he’s more than a moving tackling dummy in his second season with Seattle.
Wide receiverNumber kept last season: SixCurrently on roster: 13Average number kept since 2008: 5.25Locks: Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Ben Obomanu, Golden Tate.In the hunt: Kris Durham, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette, Mike Williams.Longer Odds: Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse, Phil Bates, Lavasier Tuinei, Raymond Webber. Comment – I believe the overall talent level is above-average at this position. The problem is, that talent is largely unproven, leaving more questions than answers, which is why most league observers don’t understand why Seattle didn’t draft a receiver. Rice has only played all 16 games once in his five-year career, and he’s coming off two shoulder surgeries and concussion issues that cut short his 2011 campaign. Williams also struggled with injuries last season, and needs to get back to the conditioning level that helped him lead the team in receptions in 2010. Baldwin’s out to prove he’s more than a dependable slot receiver. Obomanu is versatile and steady, but had a chance to make some big plays late last year and came up short. Tate has the talent to be a No. 2 receiver, but in his third he needs to prove it. Lockette, or “Ch. 83”, has to prove he’s more than a track athlete and not revert to his Edward Scissorhands-like performance in training camp last year. Butler (Penn State’s all-time leading receiver by the way) has to continue to show he’s physical enough to consistently get off press coverage. Durham has to stay healthy long enough to prove his athleticism and ball skills were worthy of a fourth round selection.
Tight endNumber kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: FiveAverage number kept since 2008: 3.25Locks: Zach MillerLooking good: Anthony McCoy, Cameron MorrahIn the hunt: John Nalbone. Longer odds:Sean McGrathComment – Miller finished with a career-low 25 receptions in his first year in Seattle, but part of the reason for his drop in performance is the Seahawks needed him to stay in and protect Tarvaris Jackson in passing situations. Miller, Morrah and McCoy all struggled with drops this season, but McCoy had the most with five drops. Morrah is the most explosive of the three, and has the ability to line up as a receiver on the perimeter. McCoy has the most talent, but has yet to live up to his potential. Nalbone is a smooth athlete with enough speed to work the middle of the defense, but also enough bulk to be an effective run blocker. He’s a name to watch for in the tight end battle.
Offensive lineNumber kept last season: 9Currently on roster: 15Average number kept since 2008: 9.5Locks: Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, John Moffitt, James Carpenter, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Breno GiacominiLooking good : Deuce Lutui, Frank Omiyale, Allen Barbre, Brent Osborne.In the hunt: Paul Fanaika, J.R. SweezyLonger odds: Rishaw Johnson, Jon Opperud.Comment – With offensive line coach Tom Cable at the helm, Seattle finally figured out how to run the zone blocking scheme after four years of trial and error. Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini both proved their value by capably filling in for injured tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter when they went down with injuries for the year, and were brought back in free agency. McQuistan is penciled in at left guard and Giacomini at right tackle. Carpenter had ACL knee surgery in November and might not be ready in time for training camp, but Okung (torn pectoral muscle) and starting right guard Moffitt (MCL knee surgery) should be ready. Cable turned this group, considered a weakness of the team, into one of the deeper units in terms of depth for Seattle.
Defensive lineNumber kept last season: EightCurrently on roster: 16Average number kept since 2008: 9.25Locks:Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Alan Branch, Brandon Mebane, Clinton McDonald, Bruce Irvin, Jason Jones, Jaye Howard.In the hunt:Pep Levingston, Dexter Davis, Pierre Allen, Jameson Konz, Greg Scruggs.Longer odds:Adrian Taylor, Cordarro Law, Monte Taylor.Comment – Don’t get it twisted. Bryant may talk with a easy-going country twang and you’re lucky to get more than a handful of words out of the earnest Mebane – but that duo along with Clemons will gangster-slap you for your lunch money. The Seahawks only gave up 3.8 rushing yards a carry – fourth in the league. Seattle’s stout defensive line sets the tone for the entire defense. Clemons once against proved he’s one of the better pass rushers in the league with a team-high 11 sacks last season. Seattle hopes they’ve added another solid edge rusher and an eventual replacement for Clemons by drafting Bruce Irvin in the first round. Bryant finished with three blocked field goals and an extra point, and is stout against the run on the edge of the defense. Bryant has more value to Seattle than other teams throughout the league because of his ability to stuff the run. Jones should provide more of an inside pass rush on third down. Carroll expects Davis and Konz, if both are healthy, to provide more speed off the edge in pass rush situations along with being core players on special teams LinebackersNumber kept last season: SevenCurrently on roster: NineAverage number kept since 2008: 6.25Locks: K.J. Wright, Leroy Hill, Bobby Wagner, Heath Farwell, Korey Toomer.In the hunt: Barrett Rudd, Matt McCoy, Mike Morgan, Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford, Adrian Moten.Comment – I get it. Pete Carroll and John Schneider do not value the middle linebacker position as highly as their predecessor Tim Ruskell. It’s why Seattle released a hobbled Lofa Tatupu rather than pay him $4.35 million in base salary in 2011. And it’s the reason the Seahawks let David Hawthorne, the team’s leading tackler the past three seasons, sign with New Orleans in free agency. But hey, even with a nasty front that does a nice job of keeping the linebackers clean, someone has to scrape, fill the right gap and make the tackles. Along with doing that the past three seasons, Hawthorne was considered one of the more cerebral players on the team. And he also made game-changing plays, evidenced by his seven interceptions and six sacks in three years as a starter. Second-round draft choice Bobby Wagner has some big shoes to fill. I know he finished with 445 tackles as a four-year starter at Utah State, but that was largely against teams like Idaho, Colorado State and Hawaii – not the Niners, Cowboys and Packers. Wagner also had four career interceptions and 4.5 sacks in 48 games for the Aggies. The Seahawks could move Wright to middle linebacker if Wagner struggles to pick up the defense. Barrett Ruud and Matt McCoy also are veteran options to man the middle. And another player to watch is Allen Bradford, a thumper who played running back at USC but is being converted to a middle linebacker by Pete Carroll. Second-year pro Malcolm Smith could provide the coveted speed Carroll is looking for at linebacker, but needs to stay healthy.
CornerbacksNumber kept last season: SixCurrently on roster: 11Average number kept since 2008: FiveLocks: Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell. Looking good: Marcus Trufant, Roy Lewis, Jeremy Lane.On the bubble: Phillip Adams.Longer odds: Ron Parker, Coye Francies, London Durham. Comment – Cornerback Brandon Browner made the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl for the 2011 season, finishing with a team-high six interceptions, including one returned for a franchise-record 94-yard touchdown to seal a win over the New York Giants 35-26 in Week 5 of the 2011 season. Browner also returned an interception at Chicago 42 yards for a score, and finished with a franchise-record 220 interception return yards. He led the league in pass deflections with 29. Second-year pro Richard Sherman isn’t far behind, finishing with four interceptions and 55 tackles in just 10 starts as a rookie. Veteran Marcus Trufant returns on a one-year deal and will be used in nickel situations, along with special teams player Roy Lewis. The Seahawks had one of the better tackling cornerback tandems, only giving up 6.9 yards per completion, tied for 10th overall in the league.
SafetiesNumber kept last season: FiveCurrently on roster: FiveAverage number kept since 2008: 4.25Locks:Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor.In the hunt: Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos, Winston GuyComment – The Seahawks have perhaps the best young safety tandem in the league with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Both are good cover guys in the slot and are thumpers in run support, providing Seattle with scheme versatility because the Seahawks do not have to flip flop the safeties from strong to weak side to adjust to formation shifts. Maragos finished second on the team with 11 special teams tackles and did a nice job backing up Thomas. Johnson played well during training camp to earn the backup job at strong safety, and is emerging as a special teams player. Guy could work himself on the field in certain sub packages as an in-the-box safety.
SpecialistsSpecialists kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: FourAverage number kept since 2008: 3.25Locks: (P) Jon Ryan, (LS) Clint Gresham.Looking good: (K) Steven Hauschka. Longer odds: (K) Carson WiggsComment: After a solid first season, Seattle’s special teams had some struggles in year two for special teams coach Brian Schneider. The Seahawks gave up two punt returns for touchdowns and a kickoff return for a score, which heavily contributed to losses at San Francisco and at home against Cincinnati in 2011. And after a spectacular first season in Seattle that included three touchdowns on kickoffs, Leon Washington managed just a long of 54 yards last season. However, kicker Steven Hauschka was solid in his first season in Seattle, finishing 25 of 30 in field goals attempts with a long of 52 yards. Hauschka recently signed his restricted free agent tender and was at OTAs last week. And the Seahawks had the seventh-best special teams unit according to Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News’ annual comprehensive overview. Seattle finished fourth overall last year. Wiggs is a strong-footed kicker out of Purdue. Wiggs hit a 67-yard field goal during Purdue’s Spring game in 2011.