Your Seahawks have now finished “Dress Rehearsal” week. Though most of the neckbeards already know that game provides the best insight as to who is winning positional battles. ‘The Purge’ as I (not Evan Hill) famously coined, has created opportunity for young blood to come forward, and so far, we’ve had pleasant surprises from our rookie draft class, as well as the sophomores. Mark your calendars for September 1st, as this is the deadline to cut rosters down to 53. Remember the league no longer cuts 90-75-53 anymore. It’s straight to 53 from 90. I often wonder how hard it is for an upbeat guy like Pete Carroll to fire ~37 people in about the same time it takes Jimmy Johns to deliver an 8-inch Gargantuan (no onion, add banana pepper) w/ kettle cooked salt & vinegar chips, to your door. As these Cold Cuts are served over the next week, here’s an extremely-correct projection that certainly won’t have any errors or make people #MadOnline.
Quarterback (2) Russell Wilson/Austin Davis
I’ve flopped a few times on this, but have landed at McGough getting stashed on the Practice Squad for a season and rolling with Davis one more time as backup. Disregard fake news trade rumors for Brissett. Not only would trading a 2nd round pick for a backup be bad, but the Seahawks don’t actually have a 2019 2nd to trade! I retort this way because while some may believe the Jacoby rumor was busted pretty quickly, the team could still look to add another guy. Important to know the difference in always “looking” but not always actively pursuing. McGough has looked good in spurts and clearly has the capability to be an NFL QB. He’s been showing a little more each week, not to mention decent athleticism minus any of the character concerns you might have had with Boykin. Loved seeing him direct traffic, command the huddle, and own it when he made errors. He won’t have an issue gaining respect from his teammates. Key here is the four years of club control. There’s no rush bringing him along. He’s done just enough to show he belongs, but let’s be strategic in how he’s groomed. Davis has more experience with Schotty than any other player on the team, let alone the QB room. To me, he has the capability to go .500 if QB1 went down. While I’m rooting for McGough to be the long term answer, I understand and respect the team’s decision if Austin is the short term plan.
Running Back (5) Chris Carson/Rashaad Penny/CJ Prosise/JD McKissic/Mike Davis
Though I’m not as confident, here’s what I think the team wants to do at RB. Last year the team carried six going into the season. Though circumstances may be different, albeit coordinators/personnel turned, the question remains how many do you carry, and will the team keep a FB? This team has been burned by RB durability for the past few seasons and they may need to act cautious with injuries to Penny and McKissic already. I don’t think IR designation for McKissic is the correct play, if he can be back inside week 4. That said, I think it boosts Davis’ chances tremendously, at least in the interim. Though you may keep both throughout the year anyway. Tre Madden OUT for now as we’ve cut all other FB’s, and are starting to see flex-TE play the position in-game. Perhaps the team will look to add a Fullback after cuts this week, but to this point, Madden’s only competition seem to be from guys like Vannett and Kyle Carter getting sprinkled in.
Wide Receiver (6) Doug Baldwin/Tyler Lockett/Jaron Brown/Brandon Marshall/ David Moore/Marcus Johnson
I previously mentioned in ‘Camp Crucial’ that WR4-6 appear to me as the open spots. Here, I’ve rounded out the bottom with Marshall, Moore, and Johnson. On episode 51 of the Podecast’ both John and I discussed Amara being a surprise cut for this season. Now though, the clavicle injury to Darboh may give the team a more favorable option. That would be using this injury to stash him on IR if he’s unable to get healthy before cut down day. If he plays in the Raiders game, I think he would have to be nothing short of spectacular to bump Marshall or Johnson. The IR stash allows you to maintain club control while keeping him off the active roster. This would be favorable to outright cutting him, though the team may be comfortable moving on from him regardless of the outcome. This may be a blessing in disguise as Darboh has yet to emerge, perhaps needing another year before he breaks through his plateau. My preference? Stash him before the Raiders game, while you can. None of the heroes from camp break though, though I expect Cyril Grayson to make the scout team.
Tight End (3) Ed Dickson (PUP)/Nick Vannett/Will Dissly/Tyrone Swoopes
We need to start having a conversation about Ed Dickson potentially starting the season on PUP with his groin-injury. If we project as such, Swoopes would be your 3rd TE, until Ed came back. The cool thing about that is, Swoopes can still be stashed on the PS if Dickson only needs a couple extra weeks to get 100%. Dissly may very well be your starting TE during Ed’s injury, cementing himself above Vannett in the depth chart. Though Dissly doesn’t fall under the same category as Jimmy Graham, this time you’re not trying to tow a boat with a McLaren P1. The Zach Miller-like identity has returned in a big way, with Dissly front and center, leading the charge.
Offensive Line (9) Duane Brown/Ethan Pocic/Justin Britt/DJ Fluker/Germain Ifedi/George Fant/Jordan Roos/JR Sweezy/Isaiah Battle
After all the hoopla, the starting 5 appears not to be shooketh’ up anywhere! Ifedi, finally showing a pulse, is still your best option at RT. The backup tackles are Fant and Battle, with the expectation of Jamarco being stashed to IR. The team will more than likely be on the lookout during cutdowns, but we got great information on Fant, who appears to be better than originally expected. Expect this battle to last into the season with George nipping the heels of Ifedi, who is on thin ice. Your backup guards end up being Roos and Sweezy. Key here is they’re being cross-trained to both sides. That makes them more valuable than guys like Odhiambo who is considered a “left side only” player. Your backup center would be Ethan Pocic with Joey Hunt landing on the practice squad, if he still qualifies. In small sample size, we’ve seen a more prepared group than in years past. Usually this is about the time Tom Cable would tell us, ‘it’s gonna take a few weeks to get these guys to gel. That’s just how it goes. Takes more time to get young guys up to speed. The college game has ruined everything’. Thing is, they do indeed need to continue to gel together, but at least they’re not mimicking the likes of well-oiled saloon doors. This OL actually looks… dare I say #good.
Defensive End (5) Dion Jordan/ Frank Clark/Rasheem Green/Quinton Jefferson/ Branden Jackson
Mutually parting ways with Marcus Smith made things a little clearer. The question at this point is finding out what’s going to happen with Dion. We got vague information on his injury. My guess is he has something close to shin splints based on what little we heard. The team decided to not put him on PUP though and that may indicate that he’s probably okay to return week 1-3. Green appears to be further along than anyone anticipated, including the team. Q-Jeff looks much improved in 3-Tech situations. Jackson the better 5-Tech and I’m not letting him get away with Dion’s durability still an issue. Bet your bottom doll-hair the team is going to be waiting to see if anything shakes free from cutdowns at this position.
Defensive Tackle (4) Jarran Reed/Naz Jones/Tom Johnson/Poona Ford
If the team is going to return to the playoffs this year, the unsung heroes in that effort will most likely come from this group. (Ed. Note: Hard to miss the playoffs at 12-3-1.) We anticipate this crew on paper to be a much better class of run defenders than last season’s. The question remains, can we expect any contributions from a pass rushing standpoint? We’ve seen Naz improve in this regard so far, but will Reed? Jones may be your DT1 by this time next year. The front office appears to have hit the bargain bin in free agency with the addition of Tom Johnson. Be on the lookout come regular season time, as Tom’s jersey may dawn a captain’s patch.
If somehow you don’t know who Poona Ford is by now, it’s time to wake up. He’s making this roster. Though for some of you reading, it may appear to come at the expense of Shamar Stephen. I’ve actually decided to leave Shamar out in an effort to keep Branden Jackson in. I think traditionally, you go 4 DE and 5 DT in a 4-3. This look would flip it to 5 DE and 4 DT.
Linebacker (6) KJ Wright/Bobby Wagner/Barkevious Mingo/Shaquem Griffin/Jacob Martin/Erik Walden
I believe the team is comfortable with KJ Wright as the backup MLB than to hold a roster spot for a guy like Austin Calitro. No disrespect to him, but the MLB position is a very important position that KJ simply plays better than any other LB on the roster, aside from 54 of course. The team allows itself to do that by hedging the WLB position. Shaquem Griffin — dude has been an absolute sensation to this point — has already shown the team he’s not just here to be patted on the back. With all the attention he’s gotten, he knows his story is just beginning. Guys like that just find a way to see the field. Whether I’m right or wrong on the depth chart aspect, at least on Griffin I’m sure of it. Mingo starts at SAM, but will also put his hand in the dirt like Jacob Martin. The wild card here is Walden/Pugh battle for SLB2. Walden made an early impression during the Vikings game, and with Pugh being a low-key rookie free-agent, he finds himself on my practice squad. The team doesn’t seem as limited as we originally presumed. The contributions of Mingo and Martin to this point have certainly been a pleasant surprise to me.
Cornerback (5) Shaquill Griffin/Byron Maxwell/Justin Coleman/Neiko Thorpe/Tre Flowers
The roles for Griffin and Coleman you know already. The rest boils down to who starts at RCB and NCB2. At RCB, Byron Maxwell may have seniority but your preference should go to Tre because the sooner that guy develops, the longer you’ll have him producing on the cheap. With cap space no longer an immediate issue, I’m not cutting Neiko no matter how team friendly it may look. A core special-teamer who can spot start outside or nickel in a pinch. If he’s already hit his ceiling, that’s fine. The long term vision for the starting 3 should be Shaq/Tre/Coleman. Beyond that, keep a salty vet at 4, while grooming a youngster at 5. Neiko over Johnson because he is the better nickel hedge/dime option. Mater of fact, Johnson may not impact Neiko at all, as he was brought in to compete for RCB. To which, he’d be supplanting Maxwell who I believe sticks around until Flowers steps in for the long-term.
Safety (5) Tedric Thompson/Earl Thomas/Bradley McDougald/Delano Hill/Maurice Alexander
The team knows there is going to be a dip replacing HOF Safeties. That doesn’t mean the players can’t be good. The skillset Kam used to bring to the table in a single man are now divided among multiple players. Coverage from Bradley. Box work with Mo and Delano. In the event that Tedric gets hurt, Bradley slides to FS and your starting SS would be Delano, though Mo is that Deon Bucannon/Mark Barron type hybrid they’ve been searching for. He may be a long shot and left out of most projections, but I’ve consistently kept him on mine for that reason. Left out of the 53 man, Lorenzo Jerome I have making the practice squad. Depending on what happens with Earl, he may find himself on the active roster sometime later this year.
SPT Unit (3) Sebastian Janikowski/Michael Dickson/Tyler Ott
Nothing to project here. The unit is set with Carew, Ryan, and Myers all OUT. Team expenses on the entire unit is is 2.7M. If you can keep it under 3M and be relatively efficient, you’re doing pretty good.
Potential Practice Squad Notables:
- Alex McGough – QB – Florida International
- Cyril Grayson – WR – LSU Track
- Tyrone Swoopes – TE – Texas (Upon Ed Dickson’s return)
- Joey Hunt – C – Texas Christian (Eligibility questions)
- Jacob Pugh – LB – Florida State
- Austin Calitro – LB – Villanova
- Mike Tyson – S – Cincinnati
- Lorenzo Jerome – S – Saint Francis
Feel free to @ me when this turns out to be utterly wrong…