By Jared Stanger
On the day before the day before the final preseason game of 2017, and by Twitter poll demand, here is my projection of this year’s opening week 53-man roster.
Unfortunately, with this year’s change in cutdown process, I have a feeling there will be a spot or two on the 53 occupied by players currently on other teams’ 90-man rosters. That day will be a kind of crazy we haven’t seen before.
In the meantime, this is what I’d do to fill out the roster from currently known names.
Actually, first, let’s look at the recent history. In 2016, the roster breakdown went:
That’s 24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists. Cassius Marsh was counted as DL, Dewey McDonald was counted as DB.
We need to make some changes. We probably can spend the fourth TE to keep a FB. We’d probably like to take back a spot from defense so that we can keep a sixth WR (or whatever the hell JD McKissic is). In 2016, with Kam and Earl coming back from offseason surgeries; the team carried six safeties. I think they probably do a similar thing this year at WR where Tyler Lockett is coming back from surgery. That’s McKissic…at least to start the season.
Boykin has had his off-field issues this offseason, and the overall snapshot of his on-field preseason is not as good as what Davis has done.
Davis has gone out and posted a 123.4 passer rating while going 14×19 (73.7%), 10.2 YPA, 1 TD, 0 INT. Boykin is going to give you the run ability, but, interestingly, Davis has only taken 2 sacks to Boykin’s 3 sacks.
(Sidenote: QB may be a spot where the team focuses at cutdowns…likely looking for someone they can practice squad.)
This is straight up the hardest position to call. The guys that should be locks are hurt. The guys that are on the bubble have actually played better than the incumbents. In a just world, Chris Carson has played himself into the RB1 spot, Mike Davis has been RB2, and JD McKissic has been the better (slash available) 3rd down back. And yet we need to sit here and figure out what to do with Thomas Rawls, CJ Prosise, and Eddie Lacy.
I have no loyalty or obligation to Lacy. With his age, size, and club control; I still maintain he is a guy I’d look to trade before eventually cutting. I’ll take Carson and Davis’ club control on cheap rookie deals.
Prosise is going to infuriate us until the day he is no longer on the roster. It’s just a fact. The best option at this point is to IR-return him until midseason when Lock can retake return duties from McKissic, and cut McKissic to bring back Prosise.
The easiest call, for me, to make is: Collins is gone.
IR- CJ Prosise
From the hardest spot, to the easiest spot. Due to airballing on TE in the draft, I don’t see any option (on 90-man) other than:
Another interesting spot. You’d think the team had brought in players to challenge Jermaine Kearse for his spot, but none have really stepped up. Kasen Williams has played well enough to have the lead for WR5 over Tanner McEvoy (who began 2016 as the WR5), but I don’t think he’s ahead of Kearse. And the most recent depth chart I believe confirms Kearse is still WR4.
That same recent depth chart had Kenny Lawler and Kasen listed as the third WR on either left or right side, respectively. McEvoy and Amara Darboh were the fourth WR’s on either side. If they keep six WR, I think the final guy in is McEvoy, with Darboh going to IR for the year (I don’t think they IR-return a rookie WR).
If you asked me three weeks ago, I would have put Lawler on the team over McEvoy based on what he showed at camp. McEvoy gives you unique size. He gives you a guy that could act as a sort of TE4, if needed.
Because we’ve added to the RB room and WR room, but only cut from TE; we need to take that 26th defensive player from the 2016 roster to keep 9 on the OL. I thought there was an outside shot they’d keep only 8 OL back before Fant was hurt, but now I can’t imagine they do that.
Ignoring that I think Cable is using multiple guys outside their best position (what a shock); I think the starting OL right now is: Odhiambo-Joeckel-Britt-Aboushi-Ifedi.
You NEED a backup LT, so the new signee Matt Tobin is in until they find someone better at cutdowns. Then, you need to pick three from the list of: Jordan Roos, Ethan Pocic, Mark Glowinski, Darrell Brown, Tyrus Thompson.
I believe Tobin can play some RT, as can Pocic, so both Brown and Thompson are immediately the obvious two cuts, to me.
Again, before Fant’s injury, I would have cut Roos because I think Odhiambo is a very good LG candidate, but post ACL I see no reason (and really no other LG option) to cut Roos. I’m not getting into the Glow back to LG conversation. Let’s not.
Pocic is your new Center backup. And that will be his primary spot this year. What the future holds for him with Britt now extended is beyond me. A 2nd round pick for a bench utility player is not a great use of resources.
Six of these nine spots remained unchanged: Bennett, Avril, Clark, Rubin, Reed, Marsh. It’s possible Quinton Jefferson makes seven unchanged.
If QJeff stays; you’re looking for two bodies from the list of David Bass, Christian French, Nazair Jones, Marcus Smith, Rodney Coe, Tylor Harris, Garrison Smith, Greg Milhouse. It would have to be Jones and Bass from that list, right?
I’ve read this week that John Clayton thinks Marcus Smith makes the team…I just don’t see it. You need interior players more than edge. I don’t think any of: Bennett, Avril, Clark, Marsh are really debatable. Smith would have to take Bass or Jefferson’s spot, but both of those have been used both inside and outside. And I don’t think you can steal from the linebackers, who will be special teams centric, to keep Marcus.
Until the team makes a trade for a DL:
Pretty straightforward. Needing more nickel players, you only keep five LB.
This where you finally steal from to make up the missing 25th offensive player. Last year they carried extra DB’s. This year, there is room for eleven.
Your base secondary sees only one change: Jeremy Lane starts at RCB in place of injured Deshawn Shead. Shaquill Griffin is your new third CB in nickel defense (Lane rotates to slot, though).
For backups, Bradley McDougald is your #1 safety backup at either spot (but primarily FS). Delano Hill has made a great first impression and should be fine as SS2. I think you keep Neiko Thorpe for his special teams play. Those are locks. That’s eight of the eleven spots.
The three remaining spots are between: Tramaine Brock, Deandre Elliott, Pierre Desir, Demetrius McCray, Mike Tyson, Tedric Thompson, Marcus Cromartie. It’s not an impressive group (though, keep in mind Shead should eventually return from PUP to claim one spot).
Honestly, I think Pierre Desir has looked better than the rest of the guys in this tier (they really should have drafted CB in the 1st round AND in the 3rd round). I don’t know that either of the guys that look like backup slot CB’s (Brock, Elliott) have run away with that gig. And I’m not entirely sure there’s a fifth safety on this roster that deserves to stay.
Does that mean maybe borrowing a roster spot from the secondary to keep an extra DL? Is that how you keep Marcus Smith?? Or is safety a spot that they look for at cutdowns?
Ultimately, I think the Seahawks need to find help via trade for the DL, and they can improve via waiver claim at cutdown for FS (watch Pats cuts). At QB/TE they will wait to see which players clear waivers, then PS them.