The Seattle Seahawks finished a second consecutive undefeated preseason by defeating the Oakland Raiders 22-6 on Thursday night. In going 4-0 in this preseason, the Seahawks outscored their opponents 110-36. Talk about dominant.
Now the preseason, is the preseason so every number and statistic should be taken with a grain of salt. However, you can look at large trends. Trends like the Seahawks defense holding opponents to an average of nine points per game. Trends like the Seahawks forcing 10 turnovers while giving away two. Or trends like Seattle never being more than a field goal behind.
What the preseason usually also tells you is which team is deeper and more talented than the other. After two undefeated preseasons — the scoring differential likewise considered — it’s clear that the Seahawks have as much talent throughout its current 75-man roster as any team in the league.
Unfortunately, the regular season isn’t played best 75 versus best 75. Each NFL team must redact its roster to 53 by come 3 p.m. PST Saturday and may only ever play its best 30 of those 53 for the majority of the season.
The fact that Seattle’s 75-man roster is so deep just makes it all that much harder to pare down this roster. Many teams around the league less talented will be watching the transaction wire closely to see if they can scoop up a talented player or two for themselves.
Here’s an idea, mine, as to what the Seattle roster will look like heading into Week 1.
Quarterback (2) – Russell Wilson, Tavaris Jackson. Jackson has won the backup job over Brady Quinn and with so many other players fighting to make this roster, keeping just two quarterbacks will be a key.
Running back (5) – Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Michael Robinson, Spencer Ware. Michael has made a statement this season and regardless of whether he becomes the backup over Turbin (who has also shown well) all three will see significant action this season. In the battle for the backup fullback role, I’m projecting Ware who brings more talent as a runner and pass catcher than Derrick Coleman, no he isn’t the ex-Syracuse Orange and NBA hoops star.
Offensive line (8) – Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan, Alvin Bailey, Michael Bowie. This is one of the weaker areas of the team (tight end being the other), with Okung, Unger and Carpenter providing the only above average talent. Sweezy could be decent this year but is still a major project and Giacomini is a disaster waiting to happen (too out-of-control). The depth is OK with McQuistan, Bailey and Bowie being solid backups at this point, but nobody else on the roster is currently worth keeping.
Tight end (3)* – Zach Miller, Luke Willson, Sean McGrath. Miller is the mainstay, Willson looked quite good over the final two preseason games and the bearded-wonder that is McGrath should stick for at least one extra day while the team scours the waiver wire for a better option. I’m confident they will find one.
Wide receiver (5) – Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Stephen Williams. Remember Percy Harvin is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list which makes this cut a little easier. Here the only loss is 4th round pick Chris Harper is a likely practice squad addition.
Defensive Line (11) – Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, O’Brien Schofield, Cliff Avril, Benson Mayowa, Jaye Howard, Jordan Hill, Michael Bennett, Clinton McDonald. Here I am projecting Clemons and Avril to be active, left off the PUP list, because I think they will be able to contribute by week 2, week 3 and the team needs their services as quickly as they can get them. A lot of talent in this group with Schofield and Howard major sleepers.
Linebacker (6) – K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Mike Morgan, Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford, Heath Farwell. I have Morgan in the LB group and believe that Farwell hangs onto a roster spot for the first month as the team awaits Bruce Irvin’s comeback from suspension.
Defensive back (10) – Richard Sherman, Walter Thurmond III, Earl Thomas III, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Byron Maxwell, Antoine Winfield, Jeremy Lane, Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos. The secondary depth is probably the best in the league even with a borderline keep in Maragos. Walter Thurmond should eventually emerge as the starter opposite Sherman. Browner isn’t good enough to hold him off of that spot.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3) – Steven Haushka will be the team’s kicker, Jon Ryan will be the team’s punter and Clint Gresham will be the long snapper.
Notes: Look, the cuts won’t really get too painful until Irvin comes back from suspension and Harvin, Scruggs and Simon come off the PUP list. As it is, I could see players like linebacker John Lotulelei, safety Winston Guy, fullback Derrick Coleman and defensive tackle Sealver Saliga joining Will Blackmon as players cut by the Seahawks but find jobs elsewhere around the league. And as mentioned I see McGrath in particular, as a player who makes initial roster but will be cut in subsequent days when the team finds another tight end on the waiver wire. Another instance could be Maragos at safety and Winfield at corner.