Though training camp remains more than two months away, it's never too early to begin considering which players will make the Seahawks 53-man roster.
Seattle currently has 85 players on its roster with rookie minicamp and the start of OTAs right around the corner. While the team will certainly make a few more moves before the real bullets start flying in late July, the vast majority of offseason needs have been fulfilled with the initial waves of free agency and the draft in the books.
Which players will take the field when the Seahawks kick off their season in September? And which ones may be the odd players out?
Without further ado, here's my first crack at projecting the 53-man roster, starting on the offensive side of the football.
Starter: Russell Wilson
Reserve: Geno Smith
Final Cut: Danny Etling
The Seahawks will stick with the same quarterback duo they have had each of the past two seasons, with a seemingly happy Wilson ready to begin his 10th season as the starter and Smith preparing for potential overtime coin tosses while holding a Microsoft Surface on the sidelines. Expect to see Etling or Alex McGough retained on the practice squad as additional insurance.
Starter: Chris Carson
Reserves: Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer, Nick Bellore
Final Cut: Alex Collins
There's a logjam in the backfield with Carson's unexpected return and a fun competition should take place behind him and Penny during training camp. There will be some pressure on Dallas and Homer, who were day three selections for the Seahawks in the 2019 and 2020 drafts, with veteran Alex Collins as well as undrafted rookie Josh Johnson gunning for their roster spots. Dallas and Homer hang on due to their third down skills and special teams versatility in this projection, but neither should consider themselves as locks to make the team. Though Bellore will rarely ever be used on offense, he's an elite special teams player and retains his spot as a result.
Starters: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett
Reserves: D'Wayne Eskridge, Freddie Swain, Cade Johnson
Final Cut: Penny Hart
Returning for a third season together, Metcalf and Lockett remain one of the most feared receiver tandems in the NFL. Overall depth should be better behind them, as the Seahawks added another dynamic playmaker in Eskridge who can win vertically and also create yardage after the catch and as a ball carrier, while Swain will have a chance to build off a solid rookie season in a reserve role. After surprisingly going undrafted, the crafty Johnson will prove his worth out of the slot and on special teams, allowing him to beat out Penny Hart, John Ursua, and fellow rookie Tamorrion Terry for the fifth and final receiver spot. One or two of the players who don't quite make the cut should be prime practice squad candidates.
Starters: Gerald Everett, Will Dissly
Reserve: Colby Parkinson
Final Cut: Tyler Mabry
Offsetting the departures of Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister, Everett's jump from one NFC West rival to another should be a boon for Seattle's passing game. He ranked among the best tight ends at producing yards after the catch in 2020 and has a good shot at a career year rekindling with Waldron. After playing in 16 games for the first time last year, Dissly will enter the final year of his rookie contract aiming to return to his 2018/2019 form in the receiving department. Parkinson could be the biggest X-Factor for the Seahawks offense this year, as the athletic 6-foot-7 target presents a matchup nightmare for opponents, particularly in the red zone.
Starters: Duane Brown, Brandon Shell
Reserves: Cedric Ogbuehi, Stone Forsythe
Final Cut: Tommy Champion
With the decision to trade up and draft Forsythe, Seattle now has a contingency plan at either tackle spot beyond 2021. But for now, Wilson should be in good hands with Brown and Shell cemented as starters for the upcoming season. Barring injuries in front of him, Forsythe will be able to develop for a year and learn from Brown, while Ogbuehi provides the team with swing tackle capabilities and proved last year he can start in a pinch when needed. Tommy Champion and incoming undrafted rookie Jake Curhan could be considered as practice squad insurance.
Starters: Gabe Jackson, Damien Lewis
Reserves: Jordan Simmons, Jamarco Jones
Final Cut: Phil Haynes
Following the acquisition of Jackson, the Seahawks should be feeling great about their guard situation heading into the 2020 season and beyond. Pairing the veteran with Lewis may give the team the best set of guards they have had in the Pete Carroll era. There also should be some fun battles to watch for reserve spots, as Haynes will aim to buck injury issues to retain his spot. Under this projection, the former fourth-round pick comes up just short, with Simmons and the versatile Jones earning the two reserve spots behind Jackson and Lewis. It's possible Haynes could be brought back on the practice squad in this scenario.
Starter: Ethan Pocic
Reserve: Kyle Fuller
Final Cut: Pier-Olivier Lestage
Unexpectedly, the Seahawks opted not to address the center position in free agency or the draft, bringing back Pocic on a one-year deal and Fuller as an exclusive rights free agent. While Carroll has hinted those two will compete for the starting role in 2020, it would be a major upset if Pocic wasn't snapping to Wilson in Week 1. Those two players won't have much competition behind them, though Lestage might be a sleeper to watch if he can make quick adjustments to the level of competition coming from Canada as an undrafted rookie.