Seattle Seahawks Roster Analysis - Part IV

Seattle Seahawks Roster Analysis - Part IV

Below is a position-by-position look at the Seattle Seahawks as they prepare for the fourth and final preseason game in 2008.

The numbers in () next to the positions indicate the number of players who were on the Seahawks active roster at the start of the 2007 season.

Quarterback (3)

Locks: Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, Charlie Frye
Long shot: Dalton Bell

Hasselbeck will be the starter and Wallace is the primary backup. The good news this preseason is that Frye has shown that he has enough of a grasp of the offense that Seattle could use Wallace as a punt returner or wide receiver if they want or need to.

Running back (4)

Locks: Julius Jones, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver
Looking good: Owen Schmitt
On the Bubble: T.J. Duckett, Justin Forsett
Long shots: David Kirtman

Jones and Morris are the "co-starters" at running back, with Weaver starting at fullback. These three have locked down their spots on the roster.

Rookie fullback Schmitt appears to have earned the backup fullback role and will be a core special teams player. Schmitt also saw time this week as a fullback in a "heavy" backfield with Weaver on short-yardage situations.

A week after stealing the show against Chicago, Forsett struggled against the Chargers and may be in a battle with Duckett for the final running back spot on the roster. Duckett looked good on Monday night, carrying the ball six times for 46 yards in the 4th quarter against San Diego's reserves. Seattle could make room for Duckett and Forsett on the 53-man roster.

Kirtman has seen quite a bit of playing time during the preseason, perhaps affording other teams a chance to see him on film.

Wide Receiver (6)

Locks: Bobby Engram, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch, Courtney Taylor, Jordan Kent
Looking Good: Ben Obomanu
On the Bubble: Logan Payne, Michael Bumpus
Longshots: Trent Shelton, Bryan Gilmore Waived/Released/Injured: Joel Filani (released 8/26)

Branch and Engram are locks, but both are injured and are not expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Seattle has the option of placing Branch on the PUP list, but no decision on that is expected until after the preseason finale. Engram is not PUP-eligible, and is expected back around the Seahawks' bye week (Week 4). Burleson remains the starting split end, while Taylor is penciled in as the starting flanker while Branch and Engram are out. Kent is the team's leading receiver this preseason (9 catches, 115 yards, 2 touchdowns) and has shown the ability to make plays down-field, in the slot and in the red zone.

Obomanu, Payne and Bumpus could be vying for one roster spot, possibly two if the Seahawks place Branch on the PUP list. Obomanu's experience within the offense gives him the edge in that race. Seattle would almost certainly want Payne and Bumpus on their practice squad if they can't find room for them on the 53-man roster.

Filani and Shelton are first-year players with practice squad eligibility, while Gilmore is a 9-year veteran who is auditioning for the other 31 teams.

Tight End (3)

Locks: Will Heller, John Carlson, Jeb Putzier
Long shots: Joe Newton
Waived/Released/Injured: Zac Alcorn (released - 7/26)

Heller, Carlson and Putzier remain locks at the tight end spot. Heller will stick around because of his blocking ability, while Carlson and Putzier are athletic, pass-catching tight ends that Mike Holmgren may use to off-set the absences of Branch and Engram in the passing game.

Newton appears headed towards the practice squad.

Offensive line (9)

Locks: Walter Jones, Mike Wahle, Chris Spencer, Rob Sims, Sean Locklear, Mansfield Wrotto, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Floyd Womack
On the Bubble: Kyle Williams, Pat Murray
Long shots: Ben Claxton, Nick Jones, Samuel Gutekunst
Waived/Released/Injured: Chris Gray (placed on IR - 8/4), William Robinson (placed on IR – 8/26)

Seattle has the 9 offensive linemen they'll enter the 2008 season with. The only question that remains is whether or not Spencer and Locklear can be ready for the season opener against Buffalo. If not, Vallos will start at center and Willis will start at right tackle.

Williams and Murray are practice squad candidates.

Claxton and Jones were brought in for depth at center. Gutekunst will be with the team all season as an international practice squad player.

Defensive ends (5)

Locks: Patrick Kerney, Lawrence Jackson, Darryl Tapp
On the Bubble: Jason Babin, Baraka Atkins
Long shots: Nu'u Tafisi

Kerney and either Jackson or Tapp will be the starters. All three will be on the field in the team's primary nickel package. Atkins and Babin are battling for the 4th defensive end spot, though Seattle might bring them both into the regular season if defensive tackles Tripplett and Cooper remain sidelined with injuries.

Tafisi is a practice squad candidate.

Defensive tackles (5)

Locks: Rocky Bernard, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant
Looking good: Craig Terrill, Howard Green
On the Bubble: Larry Tripplett, Chris Cooper
Long shots: Kevin Brown
Waived/Released/Injured: Marcus Tubbs (contract terminated 8/11)

Bernard and Mebane are the starters, and Bryant has returned to practice following arthroscopic knee surgery early on in camp. Their spots on the roster are locked.

Just as it was at the end of the 2007 season, Terrill and Green will be third and fourth in Seattle's tackle rotation, up until the coaches determine that Bryant is healthy and capable enough to work his way into the mix.

Tripplett and Cooper have yet to contribute in practice or in a game. Either could have pushed Green for a roster spot, but with only one game and four days for the Seahawks to decide on their 53-man roster, their window of opportunity to make this team may have already closed.

Brown is an undrafted free agent who hasn't looked out of place in his limited playing time and could land on the practice squad.

Linebackers (7)

Locks: Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson, Leroy Hill, D.D. Lewis, Lance Laury, David Hawthorne
Long shot: Dallas Sartz
Waived/Released/Injured: Wesly Mallard (placed on IR 8/5); Matt Castelo (released 8/11); Eric Wicks (contract terminated 8/13), Will Herring (placed on PUP – 8/26)

Tatupu, Peterson and Hill are three-down, Pro Bowl-caliber linebackers. Lewis can play all three linebacker positions, as he showed on Monday night by playing strong-side linebacker with the second-team defense and stepping in for Tatupu at middle linebacker when Tatupu left with a bruised knee. Lewis, Laury, and Hawthorne will be core players on special teams.

The newly signed Sartz has practice squad eligibility remaining. Herring was placed on the PUP list and will be eligible to return to practice after Week 6.

Secondary (8)

Locks: Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Deon Grant, Brian Russell, Jordan Babineaux, Josh Wilson
Looking good: Kevin Hobbs, CJ Wallace
On the Bubble: Jamar Adams
Long shots: Kelin Johnson, Marquis Floyd
Waived/Released/Injured: DeMichael Dizer (placed on IR 8/3); Derrick Johnson (released 8/11), Omare Lowe (released 8/26)

Trufant, Jennings, Grant and Russell are the starters. Babineaux is the nickel cornerback and backup safety. Wilson is the dime corner, who could also be the team's primary kick returner.

Hobbs and Wallace have the inside track on the final two spots in the secondary, though Adams could still sneak by one of them and onto the 53-man roster with a good showing in the preseason finale. If Adams doesn't make the roster, they'll certainly try to sign him to the practice squad.

Johnson, an undrafted rookie free agent, could be a practice squad candidate. Lowe and Floyd do not appear to be in the team's long-term plans.

Specialists (3)

Locks: Ryan Plackemeier (P)
Looking Good: Tim Lindsey (LS)
On the Bubble: Brandon Coutu (K), Olindo Mare (K)
Long shot: Reggie Hodges (P)
Waived/Released/Injured: Tyler Schmitt (placed on IR – 8/26)

Plackemeier's strong showing last night, as both a punter and holder, solidified his position on the roster. With Schmitt being placed on injured reserve, Lindsey is the only long-snapper on the roster. It's possible that Seattle could bring in a few guys to compete against Lindsey. Seattle has until Saturday to make a decision on whether or not to go with a veteran (Mare) or a rookie (Coutu) at kicker this season.

Brian McIntyre writes about the Seahawks and blogs about the NFL. You can reach him here.

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