Minus Preseason, Undrafted Seahawks Rookies Could Struggle to Earn Roster Spot
With training camp scheduled to begin later this month, the Seahawks will likely be faced with some tough decisions regarding several of their undrafted free agents as the team looks to trim their 90-man roster.
While nothing is confirmed just yet, the NFL Players Association has revealed they’d prefer to cut rosters down to 80 players before training camp begins, according to Pro Football Talk. For Seattle, that means they could be forced to cut 10 players from their roster before their coaching staff is even able to watch them in action.
To make matters worse, the NFLPA is arguing to have the preseason wiped out completely, after already having it cut down to just two games last week. If this occurs, players competing for a roster spot wouldn’t be able to showcase their talents during live games. Instead, they’d be limited to proving themselves during practices and intrasquad scrimmages.
In particular, the cancellation of the preseason would largely affect undrafted free agents who already weren’t able to participate in OTAs or minicamp. Following the 2020 NFL Draft, the Seahawks signed 17 undrafted rookies to their 90-man roster, including Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon.
Unfortunately, a larger number of those players will likely be cut from the team if rosters shrink to 80 players this month. With that said, there’s still a chance they could pass through waivers and be signed to Seattle’s practice squad, which will be expanding to 14 players and could be even larger to help teams combat COVID-19.
While unlikely, it’s not impossible for a few undrafted players to potentially break camp with the Seahawks heading into next season. Looking at the team’s overall depth, there’s definitely a chance for defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore and defensive end Marcus Webb to play onto the roster.
Starting with the Iowa product, Lattimore broke out during his senior season, playing in 12 games and producing 44 total tackles, 24 solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and he also recovered one fumble as well. Additionally, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle also received Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors in 2019.
As for Webb, the Troy product emerged as one of the top defensive linemen in the Sun Belt Conference, producing 23 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks over 10 games as a sophomore. Despite struggling during his first season transitioning from a defensive end to a defensive tackle, the 22-year old bounced back as a senior in 2019, recording 27 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 7.0 sacks through 10 games.
Since Seattle only has three defensive tackles with NFL experience on their current roster, Lattimore will likely have a legitimate chance to compete for a reserve role behind starters Poona Ford and Jarran Reed, while Webb could be an intriguing option at base defensive end. Even without exhibition contests, their skill sets could potentially catch the attention of Seattle’s coaching staff in camp.
Along with Lattimore and Webb, there’s a chance undrafted free agents Tyler Mabry and Dominick Wood-Anderson could battle against each other for a roster spot. As a result of rookie tight end Colby Parkinson’s broken foot, he’ll likely be forced to start next season on the PUP list, potentially opening the door for one of these young players to avoid the waiver wire.
Chris Miller from Baylor will also be worth keeping an eye on, as the hard-hitting safety could carve out a reserve role in the secondary if he's able to shine on special teams throughout camp.
Needless to say, general manager John Schneider and his staff will have their work cut out for them if the Seahawks are forced to trim the roster before conducting a single practice. While none of these decisions will be easy to make, these are the types of issues all 32 organizations will be facing playing during a global pandemic and an already difficult task will be even more challenging for undrafted players trying to make a team.