Following an eventful second mock scrimmage CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, the Seahawks now have less than three weeks remaining to prepare for the upcoming 2020 season.
With only a handful of training camp practices and one scrimmage game left on the schedule before Seattle must be trim the roster from 80 to 53 players, the next couple weeks will be critical for players on the bubble vying for a spot on the team. Every snap will be under the microscope, particularly without preseason games to help with the evaluation process.
Closing in fast on their September 13 opener in Atlanta, here's my latest projection on which 53 players will be on the Seahawks roster in Week 1.
Quarterbacks (2): Russell Wilson, Geno Smith
Though he wasn't quite as sharp in Wednesday's scrimmage as normal, Russell Wilson has performed like a legitimate MVP candidate throughout training camp and looks poised for another phenomenal season under center for the Seahawks. Behind him, Geno Smith only played on series on Wednesday, but that's because he's all but locked up the backup job thanks to an excellent camp. He completed all 11 of his throws in two mock scrimmages and has consistently impressed on the practice field, further distancing himself from Anthony Gordon and recently signed veteran Danny Etling.
Running Backs (4): Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas
PUP List: Rashaad Penny (knee)
Though he has missed most of training camp addressing personal issues, Carson returned to the team on Wednesday and should be back in the starting lineup for the season opener. But in Hyde, the Seahawks have a proven veteran who rushed for over 1,000 yards with the Texans last season and can step in as a starter in the pinch. Both Homer and Dallas have had strong camps, with the latter being especially impressive displaying his prior receiving background out of the backfield. Each player offers value on special teams and while it remains unclear who holds the advantage as a third down back candidate, both should be on the roster to open the season. Once Penny returns from the PUP list, some tough decisions may need to be made.
Receivers (6): Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Phillip Dorsett, David Moore, John Ursua, Freddie Swain
There's no real surprises at the top with Lockett and Metcalf returning as one of the NFC's most dynamic receiving duos and both being viable threats to surpass 1,000 yards this year. Behind them, Dorsett has been nursing a sore foot, but he appeared to have a strong connection with Wilson developing before the injury and should be fine by season opener. Behind those three, Paul Richardson and Josh Gordon could both be veteran options for the Seahawks to consider adding to the mix, but for this projection, Moore remains the No. 4 receiver after a solid third week of practice, while Ursua and Swain give the team two athletic, savvy route runners from the slot who could also return kicks this season.
Tight Ends (4): Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Stephen Sullivan
Non-Football Injury List: Colby Parkinson (foot)
With Greg Olsen looking spry at 35 years old, Dissly fully recovered from Achilles surgery, and Hollister picking up where he left off finishing third on the team in receptions last season, the Seahawks have a talented trio of tight ends atop the depth chart. Behind them, things might get tricky for the coaching staff, as Parkinson could return to action before training camp ends and though he's a major project, Sullivan presents a rare blend of size and athletic tools for the position. Luke Willson still offers plenty of value given his experience and blocking ability, but Seattle may not be able to sneak Sullivan to their practice squad given his upside, which is why I have him receiving one of the final roster spots for this projection. With a few weeks until cut down day, keep an eye on surprising undrafted rookie Tyler Mabry as well.
Offensive Line (10): Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Justin Britt, Damien Lewis, Brandon Shell, Phil Haynes, Ethan Pocic, Jamarco Jones, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jordan Simmons
Going into camp, B.J. Finney was expected by many to be the favorite to take over as Seattle's starting center. But instead, Ethan Pocic has re-emerged as the front-runner and on Wednesday, Britt reportedly visited the Seahawks, opening the door for the long-time starter to return. If Britt re-signs as projected here, the organization may make the difficult choice to eat the money paid to sign Finney, who has struggled during his first camp with the team and hasn't stood out as a reserve guard option either. Instead, behind Lewis and Iupati, Haynes and Simmons present better fits in terms of the size and physical playing style line coach Mike Solari prefers in the interior. The tackle spots seem set with Brown and Shell as the starters and Jones and Ogbuehi offering steady backup alternatives.
Defensive Ends (6): Rasheem Green, Benson Mayowa, L.J. Collier, Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson, Branden Jackson
Non-Football Injury List: Darrell Taylor
Throughout camp, Green and Mayowa have been two of Seattle's most consistent, productive performers and are locks to start in Week 1 at the 5-tech and LEO defensive end spots respectively. Along with playing snaps at the base end position, Collier has seen plenty of action in camp reduced inside and should have a role as a situational interior pass rusher for the Seahawks. Exceeding expectations early, Robinson bulked up to north of 270 pounds, which gives him the flexibility to play either end spot as a rookie. Taylor has yet to practice as he continues to work back from surgery to repair a broken leg and based on recent updates from Carroll, it's starting to look unlikely he's ready for the start of the season. As a result, Jackson takes the last roster spot for now, assuming he bounces back from a concussion suffered in the first mock game.
Defensive Tackles (4): Jarran Reed, Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, Demarcus Christmas
Much to the dismay of some Seahawks fans, the team hasn't brought in another veteran to help replace Al Woods and Quinton Jefferson thus far in camp. While it's still possible someone like Damon Harrison or Marcell Dareus could be signed at the last minute, Carroll has expressed confidence in the development of the team's young defensive tackles, most notably gushing about Mone's performance in camp. Recently signed second-year player P.J. Johnson has also looked good in his first week with the team, giving him a chance to sneak onto the roster. But even if he does end up making it, the Seahawks will enter the season with a young, untested group behind Ford and Reed, with Collier, Green, and Jackson all offering enough versatility to play inside on passing downs.
Linebackers (7): Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Jordyn Brooks, Bruce Irvin, Cody Barton, Shaquem Griffin, Ben Burr-Kirven
Returning for their eight seasons playing alongside one another, Wagner and Wright will remain centerpieces of Seattle's defense, while Irvin has the strongside linebacker role on lock-down, at least for now. Behind those three talented veterans, the Seahawks have impressive depth headlined by Brooks, who has started to look more comfortable in recent practices, as well as Barton and Griffin. All three of those players have a chance to see some defensive snaps in a reserve role right away, with Griffin also contributing as an edge rusher much as he did late last season. Thanks to a quality camp, Burr-Kirven snags one of the final roster spots and will be a key special teams contributor.
Cornerbacks (4): Shaquill Griffin, Quinton Dunbar, Tre Flowers, Ugo Amadi
Non-Football Injury List: D.J. Reed
Officially cleared of armed robbery charges and off the commissioner's exempt list, Dunbar has gradually been seeing more work on the practice field by day and the next few weeks will be pivotal determining whether it will be him or Flowers starting across from Griffin in Seattle's opener. This trio of cornerbacks gives the Seahawks the best depth they've had on the outside since the "Legion of Boom" dissolved. At the nickel position, Amadi and Marquise Blair will both see action depending on the opponent and situation, eliminating the need to keep a fifth corner on the roster. Neiko Thorpe may still be under consideration due to his special teams prowess and standing in the locker room, but he's 30 and coming off two injury-marred seasons.
Safeties (4): Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Marquise Blair, Lano Hill
As evidenced on the practice field, Seattle should have a top-five safety duo with Adams joining forces with Diggs in the secondary. Their skill sets compliment one another quite well, as Adams offers elite blitzing skills and can blow up runs in the backfield, while Diggs displayed his ball hawking savvy with three interceptions in just five starts for the Seahawks last season. Blair has emerged as one of the most improved players in training camp and even if he doesn't get many snaps at safety, he's earned a significant role as a nickel defender in three-safety packages. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Hill will make the team primarily due to his game experience and special teams value.
Specialists (3): Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
Seattle doesn't have any other kickers, punters, or long snappers on the roster currently, so there's no drama here. With that said, Stephen Hauschka was just released by the Bills, and since 2020 has proven there's no such thing as a shortage in surprises, maybe the Seahawks will take a look at bringing him back.
Practice Squad (16): Danny Etling, Cody Thompson, Penny Hart, Aaron Fuller, Tyler Mabry, Chad Wheeler, Kyle Fuller, Eli Mencer, P.J. Johnson, Cedrick Lattimore, Debione Renfro, Ryan Neal, Chris Miller, three players from outside rosters*