We've got two preseason games left, so it's time for another roster analysis. Here’s a closer look at how the Seattle Seahawks' roster is shaping up as the team inches toward reaching an 53-man roster, with the first cuts down to 75 players happening on Aug. 31, and final roster cuts taking place on Sept. 4.
QuarterbackNumber kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: ThreeAverage number kept since 2002: ThreeLocks: Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst,Looking good: J.P. LosmanComment – Hasselbeck’s performance against Green Bay put to rest any talk about a quarterback controversy. And although he struggled against the Packers, Whitehurst appears to be the clear No. 2. I’m still interested to see what Seattle’s does four games into the season if the Seahawks start slowly. Will Carroll have a quick trigger on Hasselbeck? It appears that Carroll firmly believes in Whitehurst as a potential quarterback of the future for this franchise.
Running backNumber kept last season: FiveCurrently on roster: SixAverage number kept since 2002: 5.2Locks: Justin Forsett, Julius Jones, Leon WashingtonIn the hunt: Owen Schmitt, Quinton GantherLonger odds: Louis RankinComment – Both Julius Jones and Justin Forsett have struggled as starters with the first unit, with the offensive line still getting comfortable with Alex Gibbs’ new system. Carroll said Washington might get the start this week, so I’m interested to see how he performs against a pretty stout run defense in Minnesota on Saturday. Ganther continues to show his versatility by playing solid at fullback. Jones certainly is feeling pressure here, but Seattle likely will need all three runners over the course of the season.
Wide receiverNumber kept last season: FiveCurrently on roster: 9Average number kept since 2002: 5.8Locks: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Golden Tate, Deion Branch, Mike Williams.In the hunt: Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu, Ruvell MartinLonger Odds: Kole Heckendorf, Brandon Jones Comment – I think Williams has done enough to prove that he can contribute and help create mismatches for Seattle this season. The Vincent Jackson speculation has been interesting, but it appears the Seahawks have moved on by picking up Jones. Obomanu continues to prove that he belongs with each game, and I believe has nudged ahead of Martin if Seattle keeps six receivers. Heckendorf could be a practice squad guy, but if he doesn’t start making some plays in the preseason games the Seahawks may look elsewhere for a young receiver to groom for the future.
Tight endNumber kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: FiveAverage number kept since 2002: ThreeLocks: John Carlson, Chris BakerOn the bubble: Anthony McCoy, Cameron MorrahLonger odds: Nick Tow-ArnettComment – They could keep four tight ends because Bates likes to run two-tight end sets, but that seems unlikely. Morrah has looked better catching the ball, and would be a good fill-in for Carlson if he suffered an injury. McCoy is probably the better overall prospect, but his play has been inconsistent. If the Seahawks decide to put either McCoy or Morrah through waivers to get them on the practice squad and lose one of them, they have a fall-back option in Tow-Arnett. Offensive lineNumber kept last season: NineCurrently on roster: 15Average number kept since 2002: 9Locks: Russell Okung, Ben Hamilton, Sean Locklear, Chris Spencer, Ray Willis, Max Unger, Mansfield Wrotto, Chester Pitts (PUP).In the hunt: Steve Vallos, Mike Gibson, Joe ToledoLonger odds: Mitch Erickson, Jeff Byers, Jacob Phillips, Gregg Peat. Comment – Mansfield Wrotto, who moved from guard to tackle this season, actually played OK in place of Okung when the Oklahoma State product went down with an ankle injury against Green Bay. However, Seattle could still use another body at tackle. It will be interesting to see if Chester Pitts is allowed to start practicing with the team this week. He has played tackle in the past and could provide some depth there if he can go. If not, the Seahawks will be looking for a tackle when teams cut down to final rosters on Sept. 4.
Defensive lineNumber kept last season: NineCurrently on roster: 15Average number kept since 2002: 9Locks: Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Kevin Vickerson.In the hunt: E.J. Wilson, Craig Terrill, Nick Reed, Dexter Davis, Quinn Pitcock, Kentwan Balmer.Longer odds: Ricky Foley, Rob Rose, Jonathan Lewis, Amon Gordon.Comment – Clemons has gotten pressure at times, but Seattle still doesn’t have a sack against a starting quarterback so far this preseason. And the defense is giving up an average of 4.4 yards-per carry in exhibition play. Having a healthy Brandon Mebane and linebacker Lofa Tatupu should help, but still the performance of the defensive line has been underwhelming during preseason play. Dexter Davis has played well against backups, with two sacks so far. LinebackersNumber kept last season: SixCurrently on roster: EightAverage number kept since 2002: 6.6Locks: Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne, Will Herring.In the hunt: Leroy Hill, Tyjuan Hagler, Matt McCoyLonger odds: Joe PawelekComment – The play of Tyjuan Hagler could give Seattle some tough choices to make come September. Hagler has been all over the field in the second half of games making plays. Hagler has started 17 games in his five years in the league – all with Indianapolis – so he has a pretty good pedigree. With Hill’s court settlement, the team now has to wait on the league to see if he will get further punishment. So his status on the team remains uncertain. It will be nice to finally see Tatupu on the field and see how much that elevates the play of the first-unit defense, which has struggled so far during the exhibition season. Pawelek has had his moments and could be a practice squad guy.
CornerbacksNumber kept last season: FourCurrently on roster: 9Average number kept since 2002: 4.5Locks: Marcus Trufant, Josh Wilson, Walter ThurmondIn the hunt: Kelly Jennings, Roy Lewis.On the bubble: Kennard Cox, Marcus BrownLonger odds: Cord Parks, Josh Pinkard (PUP).Comment – Lewis has been one of the pleasant surprises of the camp, with his ability to play physical in the nickel package. He’s also one of the best special teams players for the Hawks. Jennings still struggles against bigger receivers, with the latest being Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley. Thurmond’s play has tailed off a bit, but he still has enormous potential and would not make it through waivers if Seattle tried to put him on the practice squad. Cord Parks and Marcus Brown are likely competing for a practice squad spot.
SafetiesNumber kept last season: FourCurrently on roster: SixAverage number kept since 2002: FourLocks:Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Kam ChancellorIn the hunt: Jordan Babineaux, Jamar AdamsLonger odds: Kevin EllisonComment – This is one of the most competitive units in camp. Babineaux could be on the outside looking in come September, but if Seattle does not keep him they will not have a lot of experience at the position besides Milloy. In his third year, Adams only has four career tackles to his credit. Babineaux also adds versatility, with his ability to play corner and in the slot in nickel situations. And you can’t count out Ellison. He started nine games as a rookie for San Diego last season.
SpecialistsSpecialists kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: ThreeAverage number kept since 2002: ThreeLocks: (P) Jon Ryan, (K) Olindo Mare, (LS) Clint Gresham.Longer odds: (K) Clint StitserComment – Stitser is serving as a camp leg while Mare rests a sore calf. Ryan continues to impress, averaging 50 yards a punt against Green Bay, including three inside the 20-yard line. A Texas Christian product, Gresham was the only long snapper invited to the combine this year.