Seahawks Insider Blog

Forecasting the 53-man roster due to be set by Saturday: Surprises, tough choices

Tenacity in tasks such as blocking and special teams is why I believe former University of Washington Huskies WR Kevin Smith makes the Seahawks’ 53-man roster coming out of the preseason.
Tenacity in tasks such as blocking and special teams is why I believe former University of Washington Huskies WR Kevin Smith makes the Seahawks’ 53-man roster coming out of the preseason. AP

After waiting every one of the preseason practices from July 31 through Tuesday plus all four preseason games, here’s how I see the initial regular-season roster that is due to the league by Saturday at 1 p.m.

A reminder: This 53-man is only the initial one for the regular season, not the final one. The Seahawks have made a recent habit of signings, trades and/or waiver pickups in the days after the final preseason cuts and before the regular season.

QUARTERBACK (2)

Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson

Cut: R.J. Archer onto practice squad

WR B.J. Daniels’ versatility as an emergency third QB means Seattle doesn’t have to use a roster spot on one. Jackson will be back next week from a high-ankle sprain, though Seattle counts on Wilson to take just about every snap.

RUNNING BACK (5)

Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Derrick Coleman, Christine Michael, Thomas Rawls

Cut: Will Tukuafu, Rod Smith onto the practice squad

I know, he carries the ball in the wrong arm. He fumbles. He sometimes pouts. But Michael still makes it because coaches are seduced by his cuts like last week’s on a 27-yard run at San Diego, thinking he will finally become consistent now. Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday the team still doesn’t know how long Turbin’s high-ankle sprain will keep him out. If it’s a long time, free agent Fred Jackson suddenly becomes a bigger option here. Tukuafu can also play TE, DL, but loses out in one of the team’s final cuts because Coleman is back off a broken foot last season at fullback. Rawls gets the last spot because of his 87 yards rushing against Oakland Thursday, and Carroll loves to reward game performance. Smith, an undrafted rookie from Ohio State, runs hard and was impressive.

WIDE RECEIVER (7)

Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Chris Matthews, Ricardo Lockette, B.J. Daniels, Kevin Smith.

Cut: Kasen Williams onto practice squad

Physically-unable-to-perform list: Paul Richardson

They keep seven because of Daniels’ versatility. I just about cut Lockette, but keep remembering how much this coaching staff values his special-teams play. Matthews has not seized on his Super Bowl breakout, and Lockette could be out if Seattle keeps only six. Daniels had a fantastic summer, selflessly changing positions from QB after initially not being too thrilled over it. Coaches will reward that. Smith makes it over Williams, barely, because of special teams. Williams did all he could have -- except make more tackles on the kick coverage teams. That’s how small the margin here is. Williams over Smith wouldn’t surprise me, though.

TIGHT END (3)

Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Anthony McCoy

Cut: Cooper Helfet, RaShaun Allen.

Helfet can’t stay healthy, and is basically a speedy clone of the more productive and healthier Willson. McCoy gives this position needed bulk for run downs. Graham is a tight end in name only. He’ll be like he was with the Saints -- all over the formations, inside and outside.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy, Garry Gilliam, Alvin Bailey, Patrick Lewis, Mark Glowinski, KeaVon Milton

Cut: Kristjan Sokoli to practice squad, Will Perciak, Terry Poole.

The new starting five, plus swing man Bailey, backup center Lewis, athletic rookie Glowinski and Milton. Bailey has been far from great, but playing multiple positions saves him. Tough to cut Milton three weeks after he was the first-team LG, but it may happen if they think Sokoli is improving more rapidly than it seems. Poole was the top-drafted lineman of this rookie class, in the 4th round, but is a big disappointment. He looked lost, slow and overmatched in practices and preseason games.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane, Ahtyba Rubin, Jordan Hill, Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh, Demarcus Dobbs, Jesse Williams

Cut: Obum Gwacham onto practice squad, T.Y. McGill, Julius Warmsley, David King.

So much deeper than it was in February’s Super Bowl, when Landon Cohen was playing a couple weeks after parking cars as a valet in South Carolina. Hill looks great after January calf injury. Clark was unblockable all summer. Dobbs being able to play inside at DT and outside at end proves valuable. Marsh’s speed is too enticing not to keep. Williams is one I am rooting for. If his cancer has indeed spread and the Seahawks know this by Saturday at 1 p.m., he could go on the injured-reserve/non-football-injury list. That would end his season but he’d still get paid his $435,000 salary for this year. I’d say he deserves the 24-year-old deserves that.

LINEBACKER (6)

Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Brock Coyle, Eric Pinkins

Cut: Mike Morgan, Tyrell Adams, Alex Singleton

Pierre-Louis is pushing for plenty of first-team time this season. Pinkins’ value on special teams gets him the final spot over Morgan, who has a hamstring injury and may be waived-injured.

CORNERBACK (6)

Richard Sherman, Cary Williams, Will Blackmon, Tharold Simon, DeShawn Shead, Tye Smith

Cut: Douglas McNeil, Marcus Burley, Mohammed Seisay

PUP list: Jeremy Lane

Williams is the starting corner and Blackmon is the nickel back -- for now. Neither has yet convinced anyone they will start all season. If Simon, only fully healthy from offseason shoulder surgery two weeks ago, gets consistent he could challenge for Williams’ right-cornerback job. Rookie Smith’s new experience as a nickel inside, too, makes Burley expendable. Shead’s best position is corner, but his ability to play safety and special teams is why he’s on the team. Seisay, who cost Seattle a sixth-round draft pick in 2016 in a trade with Detroit last month, has the size. But he lost his chance to make it with injuries then a very poor preseason finale.

SAFETY (3)

Earl Thomas, Dion Bailey, Steven Terrell

Cut: Ronald Martin onto practice squad, Keenan Lambert onto practice squad, Ryan Murphy,

Reserve, did-not-report list: Kam Chancellor

If Chancellor ever shows up from his 36-day holdout, Terrell is out. Bailey starts for Chancellor for now. Shead can play strong or free safety. Martin almost makes it. Chancellor won’t be happy when the team cuts his half-brother Lambert, who can hit but is still raw in coverage. Murphy, the seventh-round draft pick from Oregon State, showed up late in June waiting for his college class to graduate per NFL rules, then was injured for almost all of August.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham

All returning in one of the league’s more solid kicking units. I mean, c’mon, how many punters are also American Ninja Warrior contestants, as Ryan was this spring? And how about that “tackle” attempt by boom-legged Hauschka in the preseason finale Thursday night. His teammates are likely still laughing about that.

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