Josh Jones. Michael Jackson. Myles Adams. Vi Jones.
Four of the biggest surprise standouts in Seahawks training camp are ones earning spots on The News Tribune’s projected 53-man roster for Seattle due to the NFL by Tuesday.
Each team has until 1 p.m. Tuesday to cut its roster from 80 down to 53.
That’s merely the initial roster for the regular season. The Seahawks’ and every other roster will change multiple times after that, until Seattle’s opening game Sept. 12 against Russell Wilson’s Denver Broncos at Lumen Field.
The first changes will come with the waiver deadline of Wednesday afternoon. By then, teams can claim the hundreds of players waived across the league in Tuesday’s roster cuts.
Inside linebacker is perhaps Seattle’s thinnest position. The team will seek to add there, and to other positions such as perhaps offensive and defensive lines, through waivers by Wednesday.
We project cornerback Tre Brown, a starter as a rookie in 2021 until November knee surgery, to join special-teams linebacker Jon Rhattigan on the physically-unable-to-perform list to begin the season. Only players on the PUP list to begin training camp are eligible to start the season there and be roster exempt. PUP-list players must miss at least the first four games.
Rhattigan, an undrafted free agent from Army West Point last year, is already on PUP following his major knee surgery last winter.
Per NFL rules, players put on injured reserve at or before a team sets its initial 53-man roster must miss the entire season.
If a team believes injured players can return during the season, they get carried on the initial 53-man roster, then go onto injured reserve. Those players on IR after the initial 53-man roster is set may return after missing a minimum of four games.
Defensive lineman Alton Robinson, who injured his knee in Seattle’s preseason finale Friday night at Dallas, could be a candidate for IR after making the initial 53 — depending on the severity of the injury, which Carroll did not know immediately after the game.
The practice squad can have up to 16 players. The Seahawks will set their first one after cuts and the end of the first regular-season waiver period Wednesday.
The TNT’s Seahawks 53-man roster
Starters in bold.
Smith won the job after Lock’s turnovers scared coach Pete Carroll, who wants risk aversion from his QB. The Seahawks will seek to get Jacob Eason through waivers unclaimed and onto the practice squad. If another team claims Eason, they’ll claim a third quarterback for the practice squad.
Carroll says he really likes this group.
Penny takes over as the lead back after Chris Carson’s neck issue forced the 27-year-old bruiser to retire. Over his four-year career, Penny has yet to prove he can stay healthy for consecutive months. That makes depth key at this most attrited position in the sport.
Carroll has made it sound possible Walker returns from his hernia procedure by the opener. The rookie second-round pick impressed in training camp. He and Penny, preserved all August and now coming back from having COVID-19 last week, are set to be the 1/1A tandem to run on early downs and short yardage. If Walker misses more time, the bulked-up Homer will share that role with Penny, with Dallas back in his third-down roles. Johnson for special teams.
Goodwin, 31, still has speed and showed a veteran savvy to be the third receiver. Eskridge needs to prove he can stay on the field. He can return punts. So Freddie Swain gets cut. Swain was poor throughout the preseason, dropping numerous passes. Bo Melton, the rookie sixth-round pick, dropped too many, as well. They should be able to get Melton through waivers onto the practice squad. Young is bigger and faster, traits that are tough to get through waivers.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, acquired this month from Philadelphia in a trade of defensive back Ugo Amadi, earned only practice-squad work in scrimmages since his arrival.
Tight ends (3): Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson.
Fant struggled catching passes at times in camp. The 6-foot-7 Parkinson is much improved entering his third season and will be a new third-down and red-zone target as offensive coordinator Shane Waldron employs far more two- and three-tight-end formations.
Tyler Mabry would the fourth tight end, but his injury in practice last week sends him onto injured reserve.
Offensive line (9): Charles Cross, Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, Abe Lucas, Phil Haynes, Jake Curhan, Kyle Fuller, Stone Forsythe.
Lewis’ sprained ankle could sideline him for the opener and make Haynes the fill-in starter at left guard to begin the season. If Lewis’ sprain is likely to keep him out through September he’s an IR candidate after the initial roster gets set. The quick, athletic Lucas was fantastic in run and pass blocking all preseason. The third-round pick from Washington State and Everett had five “pancake” blocks flattening foes in three preseason games. He joins Cross as rookie starting tackles to begin the season, an NFL rarity.
Curhan and Fuller can play multiple positions, an asset for game-day depth.
Defensive line (7): Poona Ford, Al Woods, Shelby Harris, Bryan Mone, Myles Adams, Quinton Jefferson, Alton Robinson.
Seems like too few to keep, but Seattle is going to more of a 3-4 defense with only three D-linemen. Ford and Harris, acquired from Denver in the Wilson trade, have flanked Woods as tackle/ends more outside than in past seasons. Ford can also join Mone at nose tackle to rotate with the 35-year-old Woods. Adams showed new quickness and drew coaches’ raves this month.
Robinson’s injury could open another spot here. The team will seek more veterans off waivers for the defensive line.
Linebackers (7): Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu, Cody Barton, Boye Mafe, Nick Bellore, Vi Jones.
This new scheme that features speed off the edge is tailored for Brooks, the increasingly speedy, swaggy Taylor and Nwosu, signed in the offseason from the Chargers’ 3-4 system. Barton often played recklessly this preseason. He has one career NFL start in three seasons.
Mafe was an impressive pass rusher early in camp, then the second-round pick got injured. Bellore is a special-team mainstay. Jones played his way onto the team in August. He beats out Muse and Tacoma’s Lakiem Williams, a practice-squad candidate. They’ll seek more linebackers off waivers.
Rookie fifth-round pick Tyreke Smith has been injured almost all preseason. He’s a candidate to go on injured reserve.
Cornerbacks (6): Sidney Jones, Tariq Woolen, Artie Burns, Justin Coleman, Coby Bryant, Michael Jackson.
Jones, a starter last season, had a concussion linger throughout much of August. He’s trying to return to practice this week. If he’s still affected, Burns is ready to start opposite the wowing Woolen. The “Avatar,” as his coaches and teammates call the rookie former wide receiver, is 6-4 and has run a 4.26 40-yard dash. He stuck to Metcalf, Lockett, Goodwin and everyone in training camp and preseason games.
Coleman is back to be the fifth, nickel DB. He re-signed after a couple years away. The rookie Bryant is challenging him to be the primary slot cornerback.
Jackson earned a roster spot and special-teams roles because of his tackling this month.
Safeties (5): Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Josh Jones, Marquise Blair, Ryan Neal.
Jones not only makes the roster, he may be a regular. Seattle practices a lot of three-safety looks in training camp. It frees Adams to play nearer the line of scrimmage as a pass rusher while still having two safeties deep in coverage, Jones with the Pro Bowler Diggs.
Jones feels reborn after having his thyroid removed last year.
Blair struggled in the preseason tackling, which is why the Seahawks drafted him in the second round in 2019. Neal has been injured since early August but has told Carroll he’s playing in the opener. He was a play-making sixth DB and safety last season.
Specialists (3): Michael Dickson, Jason Myers, Tyler Ott.
Dickson may be the team’s best player at what he does — which is boom un-returnable punts he then seems to control to the goal line.