With the draft and free agency now in the rear-view mirror, the Seahawks will continue their virtual offseason program into June with sights set on returning to the field for training camp in late July and kicking off the regular season on time in September.
While camp remains nearly two months away - if it even starts when scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic - it's never too early to project which players will make Seattle's initial 53-man roster coming out of training camp and the preseason.
Thanks to some changes in the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, rosters will look a bit different compared to previous seasons. Teams will have the ability to elevate two practice squad players each week without actually promoting them to the 53-man roster, with a limit of two games per player. Practice squads will also be expanded from 10 players to 12 players.
Keeping that in mind, here's my first stab at projecting Seattle's first 53-man roster as well as forecasting practice squad candidates heading into the season opener against Atlanta on September 13.
Quarterbacks (2): Russell Wilson, Geno Smith
Practice Squad Candidate: Anthony Gordon
Coming off another impressive 31-touchdown campaign, Wilson will once again be in the mix for MVP contention orchestrating Seattle's offense. Behind him, Smith will remain the backup by beating out promising undrafted rookie Anthony Gordon, who the team will certainly try to stash on the practice squad.
Running Backs (4): Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas
Practice Squad Candidates: Anthony Jones, Patrick Carr
Recovered from a cracked hip, Carson will resume his role as the Seahawks' bell cow back, but Hyde will cut into his carries early in the season to keep both players fresh. Homer will see a few snaps a game as a third down back, while Dallas should excel on special teams right away and could be an option on kick and punt return duties. Entering the last year of his two-year contract, Nick Bellore isn't a lock to make the team and misses the cut here. Opening the season on the PUP list, Penny won't count against the 55-man roster for at least the first six weeks of the season.
Receivers (6): Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon*, John Ursua, Stephen Sullivan
Practice Squad Candidates: Freddie Swain, Will Fuller
There's no real surprises at the top with Lockett and Metcalf returning as one of the NFC's most dynamic receiving duos. Behind them on the depth chart, the speedy Dorsett should settle in as Wilson's third target. Without any guaranteed money on his one-year restricted free agent tender, the Seahawks could swap out David Moore for Gordon, who hasn't been reinstated from suspension by the NFL but could be in the near future. Ursua may be the wild card to watch due to his savviness out of the slot and Sullivan's vast athletic gifts will make him a player the Seahawks cannot afford to risk losing on waivers.
Tight Ends (4): Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Colby Parkinson
Practice Squad Candidate: Dominick Wood-Anderson
The battle at tight end should be a fun one to watch in training camp with an intriguing blend of veterans and young talents competing for roster spots. Coming back from injury, Dissly will team up with Olsen to form a quality one-two punch in Seattle's starting lineup, while Hollister and Parkinson will be utilized more as big receivers who can slide out to the slot. Thanks to the additions of Olsen and Parkinson through free agency and the draft, Luke Willson's second stint with the Seahawks will likely come to an end.
Offensive Line (9): Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, B.J. Finney, Damien Lewis, Brandon Shell, Phil Haynes, Jamarco Jones, Joey Hunt, Cedric Ogbuehi
Practice Squad Candidates: Tommy Champion, Khalil McKenzie
Aside from Brown, there's a good chance Seattle will break in four new starters in the trenches, including Finney taking over for Justin Britt at center, Lewis jumping into the lineup as a rookie replacing D.J. Fluker at right guard, and Shell supplanting Germain Ifedi at right tackle. The left guard spot remains the biggest question mark with Iupati competing against Haynes and potentially Jones for the starting role, but all three of those players should be on the opening roster. Building off a solid finish to the 2019 season, Hunt beats out former second-round pick Ethan Pocic for a final roster spot and Ogbuehi fills in for George Fant as the Seahawks' swing tackle.
Defensive Ends (5): Rasheem Green, Benson Mayowa, L.J. Collier, Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson
Practice Squad Candidates: Eli Mencer, Marcus Webb
There's still a chance Seattle isn't done adding to the defensive end position, though it seems more and more unlikely Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen will be coming to the Pacific Northwest. Assuming the group doesn't undergo any other significant changes, Green and Collier will compete for the starting base defensive end role and Mayowa should be the front runner to start at the LEO spot until Taylor is ready to eventually take over. Robinson should also see meaningful snaps as a rotational reserve during his rookie season.
Defensive Tackles (4): Jarran Reed, Poona Ford, Damon Harrison, Demarcus Christmas
Practice Squad Candidates: Bryan Mone, Cedric Lattimore
It may not happen for a few more weeks, but the Seahawks will inevitably add a veteran nose tackle to the mix at some point. Harrison has been linked to the team for some time and simply hasn't been in a rush to sign with anyone. Expect "Snacks" to eventually sign, providing invaluable experience behind Reed and Ford. Closing out the depth chart, Christmas will bounce back from a lost rookie season and earn a roster spot in a reserve role.
Linebackers (6): Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Jordyn Brooks, Bruce Irvin, Cody Barton, Shaquem Griffin
Practice Squad Candidates: Ben Burr-Kirven, Sutton Smith
Returning for their ninth seasons together, Wagner and Wright will remain in the starting lineup as Seattle's two primary leaders in the middle of the defense. Drafted in the first round, Brooks will have a chance to earn significant playing time right away at either the weakside or strongside linebacker position. Irvin should see some snaps at SAM linebacker while rushing off the edge on passing downs. Barton and Griffin may have a tough time finding the field on defense, but each will contribute as key cogs on special teams, while Griffin may be utilized again as a situational pass rusher.
Cornerbacks (5): Shaquill Griffin, Quinton Dunbar, Tre Flowers, Ugo Amadi, Neiko Thorpe
Practice Squad Candidates: Debione Renfro, Gavin Heslop
Currently dealing with armed robbery charges, Dunbar's status for the start of the 2020 season remains unclear. But if charges are eventually dropped, he and Griffin should be the starters on the outside. Flowers still could see extensive snaps, especially if Dunbar sees some snaps working out of the slot as he did with the Redskins. Seattle could deploy a by-committee approach in nickel packages, with Amadi as the frontrunner to be the primary slot cornerback. Thorpe will retain a roster spot due to his special teams prowess and locker room presence.
Safeties (5): Quandre Diggs, Bradley McDougald, Marquise Blair, Lano Hill, Chris Miller
Practice Squad Candidate: Josh Norwood
Compared to last offseason, the Seahawks should be in far better shape at the safety position with Diggs and McDougald manning the starting roles and Blair waiting in the wings for his starting opportunity. Depth behind those three may be a bit more questionable, as Hill will be entering the final year of his contract and Tedric Thompson was waived earlier this offseason. Finding a developmental safety should be a priority and the hard-hitting Miller could be the favorite among Seattle's undrafted free agents to steal a roster spot as a result.
Specialists (3): Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
Seattle hasn't made any additions on special teams, so there's little drama here. Myers will be aiming for a more consistent second season with the Seahawks, while Dickson hopes to return to his All-Pro form catching snaps from Ott.