Predicting the 53-Man Roster
So with the draft complete and undrafted free agents being picked up around the league now would be a good time to look at the roster as a whole and try and accurately predict who will make the 53 man roster.
In terms of signed players and drafted players, that comes to 76 guys in total. It isn’t yet clear which of the undrafted free agents that have been linked to Seattle are actual signed guys or simply rookie minicamp invites (which takes place this weekend by the way). However I have fairly accurately guessed which ones are actual contract signings and which are just camp invites.
An UDFA will sign a 3-year deal, as opposed to the standard 4 if you’re a drafted player. Let’s get on to predicting the roster -
The starter at QB is obviously set, however there is going to be an interesting camp battle for the backup spot. We will witness Austin Davis, Stephen Morris, Alex McGough (rookie) and Troy Williams (UDFA) in a 4 way battle for the second QB slot. I did think for a while that Seattle would do something they rarely do and carry 3 QB’s on the active roster, but I bet they manage to stash rookie Alex McGough on the practice squad and let him develop there.
Khalid Hill (FB)
The running back group is going to be very interesting to watch unfold this year. The only two locks to the roster, in my opinion, are Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson. The rest is a case of the best man wins the job. I’m 99.9% sure new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will insist on carrying a fullback on the active roster, Khalid Hill (UDFA) will end up winning this spot. After those three, J.D. McKissic is by far the best option followed by Mike Davis. Davis didn’t exactly set the world alight last season but he was available, and availability matters in today’s Roster limited NFL. Which brings me on to my next point, C.J. Prosise. He has never shown he can be available. With the emphasis on smart/tough/reliable this offseason, I’m not convinced Prosise fits into a single one of those categories. The talent is all there, but the availability isn’t and for that reason, Prosise doesn’t make the roster.
Taj Williams (UDFA)
I am far more confident in this group than many. I’m expecting Jaron Brown, signed this offseason to have a big year in Seattle. He will not have a 1000-yard season but Seattle doesn’t need that, I can see him replacing 90% of what Paul Richardson offered last year but at a fraction of the price. The team is also very high on David Moore, he spent much of his time on the practice squad last season and was activated to the 53 when a team tried to steal him. They’re obviously high on him and I believe he will crack the roster and be one of the guys that plays far above expectations.
Taj Williams is another interesting addition. He’s a 6” 4 receiver listed as 193 lbs. He’s one of those guys that I ‘just have a feeling about’, I may be wrong and I likely am, but I think he cracks the 53 and whilst he won’t have a huge year in terms of yards and touchdowns, he will be a solid rotational piece who can be used in the redzone on fade routes.
Ed Dickson and Will Dissly are predominantly expected to be blocking tight ends rather than pass catchers, however…I think both of them are going to have far more yards at seasons end than many are expecting. Between the three guys I’ve decided on here, I think they combine for around 1000 yards, with only 200 or so of those coming from Nick Vannett. Both Dickson and Dissly will have a primary blocking assignment, but many of the plays will have an added responsibility at the end, be available in the passing game. They will start with an initial block then break off into a short/intermediate route and possible ‘dump off’ target for Russ. Once either of them gets the ball in their hands, expect large chunks of yardage to be picked up. Don’t be surprised if their average yards per reception are off the charts.
This is an interesting group and by far the most intriguing to me. I believe new line coach Mike Solari is going to quickly turn into a fan favorite with what he does with this group of large men. It won’t happen straight away, but it will happen, I’m certain. This group is far too talented; all it needs is correct coaching to unlock the potential just sitting there. Don’t be at all surprised when Germain Ifedi or Jamarco Jones are by far the second best lineman on the roster behind Duane Brown.
The defensive line is one of the most different looking groups on the roster. No Michael Bennett and no Cliff Avril is an odd sight but it was inevitable. This is the unit with the most potential but equally the least proven, that’s a perfect recipe to cook together a superstar or two! Watch out for Naz Jones having a fantastic year, I’d expect him to line up as a pass rushing 3 technique in base formations, he looked really solid in his rookie season before suffering an injury, expect him to bounce back with spectacular fashion. Everyone is going to know his name by the end of the season. Poona Ford is another interesting acquisition; he’s an UDFA and very, very short for a defensive tackle (5” 11) and will likely get knocked about in year one but a year in an NFL conditioning program will do wonders and unleash some fierce pass rush up the middle. What he won’t do is look great on stat sheets, what he will do is increase the production of his defensive ends.
One of the most rounded units on the team, albeit with minimal depth. There’s a reason why I only selected 4 linebackers in total. With base formations being used less and less and teams lining up in nickel formation more and more, depth at this position isn’t as key as before. The coaching staff could shuffle all the players around accordingly in the event of an injury and I’d expect them to carry one or two linebackers on the practice squad as insurance should there be a total disaster and two of the four find themselves on the injury report. Mingo and Griffin will both be used when the situation dictates it (3rd down predominantly) and their main focus will be on spying the QB when facing those pesky active guys that like to make a break for it and rushing the passer, and both will excel at it.
The cornerback class only consists of one rookie in Tre Flowers. He is converting over from safety and has all the measurables to excel in this system. The rest are veteran guys that know the system. The obvious starters will be Shaquill Griffin and Byron Maxwell with Justin Coleman covering the slot. This is exactly the same lineup as last year. We will quickly find out how much we miss Richard Sherman long term, but as long as these guys have Earl Thomas covering their arse when they mess up, the defense will continue to be the powerhouse that they’ve built a reputation for over the years.
Another solid group with good depth. I still have a feeling the Earl Thomas saga is yet to be finished, If a team makes a push for him towards the end of training camp expect Bradley McDougald to slide into his spot and Delano Hill to take over at strong safety. It’s weird not seeing Kam in the lineup and while he will still technically be on the roster, he will be on the PUP list thus not taking a valuable roster spot. Mo Alexander potentially brings the same versatility as McDougald does in that he can most likely play both spots if needed. Versatility on any time is an added bonus for sure.
It’s clear to anyone that Jon Ryan’s time in Seattle is done. The team had the opportunity to get younger, cheaper and better at a position and took it, good for them. I for one am sad to see a Seahawks legend and the longest standing Seahawk (he was on the team before Pete and John came along) go, but it was inevitable, if not this coming season, then next.
Saying the word kicker to a Seattle fan will likely send shivers down their spine, lets hope the veteran Janikowski can make us a bit more comfortable on field goals and extra point attempts. I don’t think I will ever truly relax when a kicker is on the field ever again thanks to Blair Walsh, but I’d expect Janikowski to ease the anxiety somewhat. Slowly, but surely.
You may well not have even heard of this guy. He was signed as an UDFA and I believe will replace Tyler Ott at the position. Not exactly the most riveting camp competition, but a competition nonetheless.
Offensive players – 25
Defensive players – 25
Special Teams – 3
Rookies that made the roster - 7
Undrafted free agents that made the roster - 4
Free Agents that made the roster - 9
New players that weren't on the roster last season - 20
The offense and defense isn’t always split 50/50 like I have, typically Pete carries one more defensive player however with the commitment back to the running game I have substituted a defensive back for an extra running back, the DB group has depth across the board (including a backup nickel corner) so it was an obvious choice.
So how does this final roster look from a cap perspective?
It looks great, actually. With the above 53 players all accounted for, Seattle will be left with a grand total of $12,889,232 in available cap space.
Once you account for the practice squad, all the other charges and leaving back some money for emergencies, the team could, quite comfortably, afford to extend both Frank Clark and Duane Brown.
Although this is the 53 man prediction, the final roster will likely look different come game one of the regular season as Seattle will likely pick up several cut players from other teams and remove names from the bottom of the roster, it is all about maximizing the depth for later in the season and having to deal with the inevitable injuries.
For those interested in looking at the names that didn’t make the 53, you can find them below. Some names really hurt like C.J. Prosise, Michael Tyson and Noble Nwachukwu but you can’t have everyone. Each and every year teams have to make very tough choices and each and every year they’re forced to cut players they know will succeed in the league yet be forced to ‘give them’ to the competition, but there is nothing they can do about it,
John Franklin III
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