The 53

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:

2 QB
4 RB
0 FB
5WR
4 TE
9 OL
9 DL
5 LB
12 DB
3 ST

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.

Quarterback

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.)

Russell Wilson
Austin Davis

Running Back

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.

Chris Carson
Thomas Rawls
Mike Davis
JD McKissic
Marcel Reece
IR- CJ Prosise

Tightend

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:

Jimmy Graham
Luke Willson
Nick Vannett

Wide Receiver

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.

Doug Baldwin
Paul Richardson
Tyler Lockett
Jermaine Kearse
Kasen Williams
Tanner McEvoy

Offensive Line

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.

Rees Odhiambo
Luke Joeckel
Justin Britt
Oday Aboushi
Germain Ifedi
Matt Tobin
Jordan Roos
Ethan Pocic
Mark Glowinski

Defensive Line

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:

Mike Bennett
Cliff Avril
Frank Clark
Cassius Marsh
David Bass
Jarran Reed
Ahtyba Rubin
Naz Jones
Quinton Jefferson

Linebackers

Pretty straightforward. Needing more nickel players, you only keep five LB.

Bobby Wagner
KJ Wright
Terrence Garvin
Michael Wilhoite
DJ Alexander

Defensive Backs

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?

Richard Sherman
Jeremy Lane
Shaquill Griffin
Neiko Thorpe
Pierre Desir
Deandre Elliott

Earl Thomas
Kam Chancellor
Bradley McDougald
Delano Hill
(Waiver claim)

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.

Advertisements

2018 Seattle Sea-Mock 1.0

By Jared Stanger

Welcome to August. We’re roughly four days into NFL preseason, and meaningful football is 20 days away in college and I think I counted 32 days away for NFL. It’s about time for my first Seahawks 2018 mock draft.

I’m not entirely sure where Seattle stands on total draft picks. I suspect they will forfeit a pick for the skirmish that ended with Frank Clark punching Germain Ifedi. Probably a 3rd rounder. But I will figure that out later. Right now, I’m just looking to primarily make some sense of what the team needs to do this year. This will just be 7 picks for 7 rounds.

We hear John Schneider talk a lot about the “three-year plan”…I sketched out a pretty basic two-year plan just to give myself a big-picture view. Then, I’m factoring in my early sense of what is coming in this next draft in terms of positional strengths/weaknesses.

1st Round

I glanced at maybe three national writers’ 1st round mock drafts and I think all three gave Seattle an offensive tackle in the first. I don’t think they realize what the team thinks about George Fant. Or, at least, how much the team values Fant’s pricetag for the next two years. Now, in 2019, it’s probably a different story.

If anything on OL; 2018 probably needs to be more about drafting an interior OL. Joeckel, Aboushi, and Britt are in contract years, and Glow has two years left. But…Odhiambo could be a hedge at LG, Pocic a hedge at OC, and Glow/Ifedi have time remaining as potential RG.

On the other hand, after the 2017 season, your potential OT’s will have (respectively) 1 year left plus RFA, 2 years left, and 3 years left. I don’t see it as a priority.

From an inventory standpoint, depending on underclass declares, either 2018 or 2019 will pop as a really good OT class. You sort of hope that the 2017 Juniors stay in school and the good class is in 2019, after Fant has played out his UDFA contract.

If the good class is this year…I don’t know. Drafting late in rounds from making the playoffs means you need to take advantage of deep position groups. I may retract my thought to pass on OT this year (at which point, I’m looking hard at Tyrell Crosby from Oregon as a guy with nice tape and low enough draft buzz to be there late 1st).

I think the two biggest needs for the 2018 draft are DE and TE. Tightend is kind of already a problem with both Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson in contract years. Defensive end will see (potentially) 3.5 losses in the next two years.

I think one of Cassius Marsh and Marcus Smith make the 2017 roster, and both are free agents next year. Then, in 2019, both Cliff Avril and Frank Clark are FA. Not all of these guys walk. But, arguably, you need two DE in the next two years.

If the top two needs are DE and TE, I think it’s pretty easy to prioritize…historically, you don’t need to draft a TE in the 1st round. Sack artists always get drafted early. Go with DE first.

For now, I’m putting Kansas DE/OLB Dorance Armstrong here. I think he’s a really cool player, but one that not everyone is buying yet. But at 6’4″/246lbs during his sophomore year in 2016, Dorance posted 10.0 sacks and 20.0 TFL. Pretty good production in a defense that isn’t exactly rife with NFL talent.

I think Dorance has more innate passrush ability than many higher-touted guys with better athleticism. I like guys that can get sacks/pressure on an island. No scheme, no stunts, just individual performance.

2nd Round

I think you next go straight to the glaring problem at TE. 2017 was a pretty nice TE class, and the team should have drafted one…probably could have had one in the 4th…but here we are. Maybe artificially forcing TE earlier than you’d like.

I think the Penn State TE, Mike Gesicki, is the most comparable to Graham in this class. But he’ll be gone. Some think the Oklahoma kid, Mark Andrews, is the next guy…I think he has problems. Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin is solid, but potentially too similar to Nick Vannett.

I like the small-school player: Dallas Goedert, from South Dakota State. Listed 6’4″/260 lbs, but he clearly moves like a lighter receiver, and he has great hands.

3rd Round

If they ARE considering OG, I think this is where you start looking. I think this has been a lucky round for them to target WR, and they do need to spend a top 3-round pick on WR in the next two drafts. Or, believe it or not, you consider CB.

Shead is a FA this year. Sherm is a FA after 2018. And we don’t know which Lane we’re going to see going forward, nor if he sees completion of his current deal.

I’m prioritizing CB over the other spots because CB is the spot I look at at training camp and think, “that position group is too shallow”. It needs numbers and it needs another “hit”.

I just found Dee Delaney in the last week. He’s got the right size at 6’1″/193lbs. He has good technique and physicality. And his production, though at a small school to this point, has been good.

4th Round

In the 4th round, I have more of the idea of what I want to do than the actual answer. Seattle has been throwing all kinds of outside players at the SAM linebacker spot since Bruce Irvin left. Names like Garvin, Wilhoite, McDonald, and Alexander are all new to the system, but are also all (potentially) short to be in the system. All four of those will be in and out in the next two years. They need something more longterm, in my opinion.

They might, also, need a new backup to Bobby at the MIKE spot.

I’m curious about college names like Kenny Young, Lorenzo Carter, Elijah Lee.

For now, I will slot in Kenny Young because I think he can play all three LB spots.

5th Round

In rounds 5th-7th, the picks can be less about need and more about interesting upside flyers. With Lacy on a one-year deal and the potential that Collins doesn’t make the team; I can see the team take a late-round pick on a RB.

Jordan Scarlett is a 5’10″/213lb back without a ton of wear, with great speed, and who finishes runs really aggressively.

6th Round

As I described earlier, I think there is potential that Seattle has hedged all of its OL positions so as not to need any early picks on the line. This will be a depth/future pick.

Ike Boettger from Iowa is a 6’6″/307lb LT that I will project as a guard due to his performance in run game, and degree of struggle in pass pro.

7th Round

Paul Richardson is a FA after this year, so it would be good to draft someone with some great deep speed. Maybe someone like Allenzae Staggers at SoMiss or Van Jefferson at Ole Miss.

I’m mocking Michael Gallup from CSU for his all-around game. He won’t last this long, though.

Recap

1st- DE Dorance Armstrong
2nd- TE Dallas Goedert
3rd- CB Dee Delaney
4th- LB Kenny Young
5th- RB Jordan Scarlett
6th- OL Ike Boettger
7th- WR Michael Gallup