Seahawks 2010 Pre-Season Roster Analysis

NorthwestFootball.net
Posted Aug 13, 2010


On the eve of the 2010 pre-season opener, Brian McIntyre of NorthwestFootball.net takes a position-by-position look at the locks, bubble players, and long-shots on the Seattle Seahawks roster.

Quarterbacks

Locks: Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst, J.P. Losman
Bubble: N/A
Long-Shots: N/A
Departures (since camp opened): N/A

Little has changed at the quarterback position. Hasselbeck remains the starter, as Whitehurst and Losman compete for the top back-up job.

Running Backs

Locks: Justin Forsett, Leon Washington
Bubble: Julius Jones, Quinton Ganther, Owen Schmitt
Long-Shots: Louis Rankin, Adrian Peterson
Departures (since camp opened): Ryan Powdrell (Waived/injured)

Forsett and Washington are the most talented runners the Seahawks have, so they’re spots are secure. Jones, Ganther, and Schmitt are probably safe, though neither is assured of a roster spot at this point. If Washington is healthy, and Forsett is effective, Jones and his $2.45 million base salary may be axed. Ganther’s versatility as a runner, blocker, and special teams player threaten Schmitt’s value to an offense that will use a lot of single-back formations. Rankin and Peterson will need to excel on special teams, and an injury or two, to make the 53-man roster.

Wide Receivers

Locks: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Golden Tate, Deon Butler
Bubble: Deion Branch, Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, Ruvell Martin
Long-Shots: Kole Heckendorf, Mike Hass
Departures (since camp opened): Sean Morey (retired), Isaiah Stanback (Waived/injured), Matt Simon (waived), Marcus Maxwell (IR)

Houshmandzadeh is entrenched as a starter, and Tate and Butler are the young guys with dynamic play-making ability that Seattle’s offense has lacked the last few seasons. A strong pre-season could earn Williams the starting job opposite Houshmandzadeh, which combined with the need to get Tate and Butler on the field in 3-WR sets with Houshmandzadeh and John Carlson, would allow the ‘Hawks to shed Branch and his $5.47 million salary from the books. Obomanu and/or Martin are safe bets for the one or two special teams/backup receiver spots on the roster, and will face challenges from Heckendorf, Hass, and any street free agents the front office brings in during August and into the regular season.

Tight Ends

Locks: John Carlson, Chris Baker
Bubble: Anthony McCoy, Cameron Morrah
Long-Shots: Nick Tow-Arnett
Departures (since camp opened): Jameson Konz (Waived/injured)

Carlson and Baker are the locks, and both veterans will see considerable playing time in Jeremy Bates’ offense this season. Under Mike Holmgren, and then Jim Mora, the Seahawks tended to keep three tight ends on the roster. With Bates’ new system using multiple tight ends with more frequency, it would not be a surprise if four were kept around, especially with the amount of upside that McCoy and Morrah possess. Don't sleep on Tow-Arnett, who caught 37 passes last season in a University of Minnesota offense coordinated by current Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch. Tow-Arnett can play fullback or tight end, and might be a p-squad option.

Offensive Line

Locks: Russell Okung, Ben Hamilton, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Sean Locklear, Ray Willis
Bubble: Steve Vallos, Mike Gibson, Mansfield Wrotto, Chester Pitts, Joe Toledo
Long-Shots: Jeff Byers, Mitch Erickson, Gregg Peat, Jacob Phillips
Departures (since camp opened): Adrian Martinez (waived, claimed by Indianapolis)

The six locks will form the starting offensive line, from left to right. Willis will compete with Locklear for the right tackle, but is likely ticketed for the “swing” tackle role, which is not unimportant role on a line with an inexperienced left tackle (Okung) and a right tackle (Locklear) who has battled injuries the last two seasons. Vallos and Gibson have the inside track on reserve positions along the interior, while Wrotto’s experiment at tackle could him versatile enough to stick around for another season. If not, Toledo could get that ninth spot as a spare tackle. Pitts is on “Active/PUP” and could open on “Reserve/PUP”, which would buy Pitts six-to-nine additional weeks to recover from a serious knee injury.

Defensive Line

Locks: Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Chris Clemons, Lawrence Jackson, E.J. Wilson, Kevin Vickerson
Bubble: Ricky Foley, Nick Reed, Dexter Davis, Craig Terrill
Long-Shots: Rob Rose, Quinn Pitcock, Jonathan Lewis
Departures (since camp opened): N/A

Bryant, Mebane, Cole, and Clemons are penciled in as the first-team defensive line in base packages. As a former first-round pick—this has nothing to do with USC, as LenDale White showed there are no more scholarships—Jackson should be safe, as are 2010 fourth-round pick Wilson and Vickerson, a massive presence that will be rotated into the middle of the defensive line. Foley, Reed, and Davis are vying for opportunities as the “Leo”, with Foley and Davis adding versatility as linebackers. All three will need to show that they’re capable of being core special teams players. Terrill’s spot is fairly safe, as he’s proven to be a good fourth tackle, and his knack for blocking field goals should not be overlooked.

Linebackers

Locks: Aaron Curry, Lofa Tatupu, David Hawthorne, Will Herring
Bubble: Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy, Alvin Bowen, Tyjuan Hagler
Long-Shots: Joe Pawelek
Departures (since camp opened): Anthony Heygood (Waived/injured)

No surprises among the locks and a combination of those four, preferably the first three, figure to be the linebackers on the field with the base defense on September 12. Hill’s legal issues and latest injury jeopardize his future with the Seahawks. Already suspended for one game, if the guarantees on Hill’s $6 million base salary are voided, it would not be a surprise if he were released. McCoy is a versatile back-up/special teams player who should be able to hold off challenges from the newly signed Bowen, Hagler, and Pawelek, a promising middle linebacker who has missed some valuable training camp time with an injury.

Secondary

Locks: Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, Josh Wilson, Walter Thurmond
Bubble: Jordan Babineaux, Kevin Ellison, Kam Chancellor, Jamar Adams, Roy Lewis
Long-Shots: Kennard Cox, Cord Parks, Marcus Brown, Josh Pinkard
Departures (since camp opened): Chris Richards (Waived), Marcus Udell (Waived), James Brindley (Waived)

Trufant (LCB) and Thomas (FS) are the only two players assured starting spots entering the pre-season. Jennings and Wilson will duke it out for the right cornerback spot, while Milloy, Babineaux, Ellison, and Chancellor will compete for the “Thumper” strong safety job. There is a possibility that the strong safety position could be shared, with a solid run defender (Milloy, Ellison, Chancellor) splitting time with a safety more adept at pass defense (Babineaux). Thurmond has future starter potential at cornerback, and if can stay healthy, will vie for the nickel role and return kicks.

Specialists

Locks: Olindo Mare, Jon Ryan
Bubble: Clint Gresham
Long-Shots:
Departures (since camp opened): Matt Overton (Waived)

Mare is playing the season under the one-year franchise tag, and Ryan signed a six-year, $9.1 million contract in January, so they’re safe. Gresham, an undrafted free agent out of TCU, was claimed off waivers from the New Orleans Saints on the first day of training camp. The front office won’t hesitate to make another move if Gresham stumbles during the pre-season.

Breakdown

Locks

Offense: 16
Defense: 17
Special teams: 2

Bubble

Offense: 14
Defense: 13
Special teams: 1

Long-shots

Offense: 9
Defense: 8
Special teams: 0

In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.


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