Analysis: Which Seahawks UDFAs Have Best Chance of Making 53-Man Roster?

In the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era, the Seahawks have given many undrafted free agents the platform to jumpstart their NFL careers. It's paid big dividends in the past, and with a strong UDFA class, that could be the case once again in 2021. But which players have the best chance of making Seattle's active roster?
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Seahawks general manager John Schneider has never been one to take what he's given in the NFL Draft. That changed, in a way, last weekend. Clearly uncomfortable with the uncertain nature of this year's draft, Schneider and company entered the event with three picks and exited with three prospects.

They'd make a couple minor trades, dropping back from pick No. 129 to 137 in the fourth round, then using the selection added in that deal to help come up for Florida offensive tackle Stone Forsythe in the sixth. Other than that, it was a rather straightforward draft for a team that has made the annual event anything but in years past.

Seattle felt good about its chances to recruit undrafted prospects after the final pick was turned in Saturday afternoon. After all, they had filled just three roster spots over the weekend and had plenty of space remaining. Thus, the Pacific Northwest became one of the more attractive destinations for players who not only hope to land with a team, but to stick with them for the long haul as well.

Head coach Pete Carroll's 'Always Compete' philosophy has allowed for many players on the back-ends of rosters to make their statement. Because of this, the Seahawks have had one of the highest success rates in terms of converting UDFAs into legitimate NFL players over the past decade. From players like Doug Baldwin to Poona Ford, Seattle hasn't merely found solid contributors; it's identified actual impact players/borderline stars. 

Given the richness of this class, the Seahawks may be able to replicate that magic. They didn't see a single UDFA make their initial 53-man roster in 2020 and just one the year before: Bryan Mone. That's going to change this summer, but to what degree? Let's take a look.

WR Cade Johnson

He may be undersized at 5-foot-10, 184 pounds and tested poorly at his pro day, but Johnson did everything you could ask of him in his two years as a starter in college. Dominating one-on-one drills in the Senior Bowl with crisp route running that left defensive backs on the ground multiple times, there was some thought he could go as early as day two in the draft. Instead, the aforementioned negatives dragged his stock all the way down into free agency and into the arms of the Seahawks. That said; he should be a sight to behold in camp and in the preseason, assuming his talent on the field continues to vastly outweigh his limitations. 

Likelihood: 40 percent

DT Jarrod Hewitt

Hewitt lacks some strength, but he was an effective interior defender in four years for Virginia Tech. After going sackless in his first two seasons, the former Hokie registered 9.5 sacks between his junior and senior campaigns. Considering the uncertainty of the Seahawks' depth behind Ford and Al Woods, Hewitt has a solid chance to land a backup 3-tech role. 

Likelihood: 25 percent

WR Connor Wedington

This may come as a surprise to see Wedington this high, especially given all the intriguing receivers the Seahawks have on the back-end of their roster. But fans shouldn't overlook the Washington native, who Seattle aggressively pursued post-draft. He wasn't a spectacular receiver at Stanford, but his willingness to do the little things, like run blocking, and his ability to do so effectively is going to stand out to Carroll and his staff. Add in his experience as a kick returner and special teams player and there will be many ways in which Wedington can impress the Seahawks' brass this camp.

Likelihood: 25 percent

WR Tamorrion Terry

As strange as it may seem to find Wedington as the third-highest player on this list, it may be even more jarring seeing Terry a spot down from him at a five percent decrease. While Terry is perhaps the most recognizable player of their entire UDFA group after a mostly wonderful career at Florida State, the Seahawks are big on their third-string receivers being all-around contributors and Terry may not be there just yet. He'll need to show them something in regards to run blocking and special teams to earn his way on over the likes of Johnson, Wedington, Cody Thompson, Aaron Fuller, and others.

Likelihood: 20 percent

LB Jon Rhattigan

Drafted out of Army, Rhattigan will need approval from the Pentagon before he can participate in football activities with the Seahawks. If he does, however, he's going to have a decent chance to compete for a roster spot as the team's linebacking corps currently stands. Of course, this may all change in a flash if veteran K.J. Wright is retained, but Rhattigan may have enough to push the likes of Ben Burr-Kirven on special teams and give Seattle some much-needed depth at strongside linebacker. 

Likelihood: 15 percent

RB Josh Johnson

No other UDFA has taken 'Seahawks Twitter' by storm like Johnson, and for good reason. The Louisiana-Monroe running back boasts a great energy and personality, and backs that up with some excellent play on the field. In 2019, he put up nearly 1,300 yards with an explosive running style that feeds off contact. He'll have an uphill climb to make the roster over players like DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer, but he should add some fun to the second halves of Seattle's preseason games.

Likelihood: 15 percent

G Jared Hocker

Behind the newly acquired Gabe Jackson, Seattle's interior offensive line unit has remained relatively intact. That may not be for the best, however, as the team's primary backups at guard, Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons, don't necessarily boast the cleanest bill of health. The 6-foot-6, 327-pound Hocker should be able to give them a good run for their money with a strong camp and preseason, coming off a successful collegiate career in the SEC.

Likelihood: 10 percent

OL Greg Eiland

Coming in at 6-foot-7, 321 pounds, Eiland presents great size for an offensive lineman. However, his technique is going to need some time to refine, making him more of a practice squad play in 2021. If he does show significant progress on that front though,  he'll have the same opportunity as Hocker to push one of Haynes or Simmons at backup guard. 

Likelihood: 5 percent

IOL Pier-Olivier Lestage

Signed out of Montréal, Québec, Canada, Lestage has become another favorite of the Seahawks' fanbase for his unique background. The limited tape of him is certainly impressive for what it is, but there's no telling how the French-Canadian will be able to transition to NFL competition. If his physical, schoolyard bully-type play style translates well, however, things could get interesting for Ethan Pocic, Kyle Fuller, and Brian Lundblade. It's a big 'if,' but one that would be a welcome sight for a team that could use more competition at center. 

Likelihood: <5 percent

OT Jake Curhan

Curhan showed some upside as a pass protector at California, but his athletic limitations were put on full display in the run game. He'll be a name to watch as a potential long-term development project, but that will most likely be on the Seahawks' practice squad if he makes his way there. Making this team as an offensive tackle is going to be a near-impossible feat with Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi, Stone Forsythe, and Jamarco Jones ahead of the pack.

Likelihood: <5 percent

CB Bryan Mills

A strong performer at small-school NC Central, Mills has the size the Seahawks tend to like at the cornerback position. He'll have to be a practice squad project though, give his very raw toolset that was greatly exposed at the Senior Bowl. 

Likelihood: <1 percent

RB BJ Emmons

Emmons is a fun lottery ticket, offering solid burst and great physicality as a ball-carrier. He doesn't have a ton of tread on his tires in terms of game action, but that's due to the several injuries he suffered throughout his collegiate career. That's a big cause for concern, as well as some of the caps on his athletic ability. Could be an interesting depth piece on the practice squad, but there shouldn't be much of an expectation for him factoring into the 53-man roster discussion.

Likelihood: <1 percent