With the regular season about to begin I take a look at the final roster vs predictions and where I still see the need for improvement.
Roster(2): Wilson, Hundley
Prediction(2): Wilson, Hundley
Practice Squad: McGough
I predicted these two to make the roster, because it just made sense. No way around Wilson and you don’t trade a 6th round pick for a guy only to cut him shortly after. Hundley also makes sense because he has a very similar playing style to Wilson and got playing time last year when Rodgers went down.
McGough may be the guy for the future – I certainly like what he did in preseason and was glad that he went to the practice squad as expected – but having a guy with experience to back Wilson up is priceless.
Davis was never going to make the cut, I thought he played terrible when fighting McGough for the backup spot. Only when Hundley was signed and the decision made, i.e. the pressure was off, did he play really well against the Raiders. I don’t think that paints the picture of I guy I want to trust my offence with if QB1 goes down.
Roster(4): Carson, Penny, Davis, Prosise
Prediction(4): Carson, Penny, Davis, Prosise
Practice Squad: Coleman
Injured: McKissic (IR)
Cut: Stockton, Holmes
No surprises here either from a unit that looked pretty good in the preseason. I wasn’t very impressed by Prosise, who seemed to play scared, and I think this is the make or break season for him. I thought they might give Holmes a shot on the PS after he showed some good play in the final preseason game, but instead they opted to pick up former Washington Husky Lavon Coleman.
After watching some tape on him I think that he could be quite exciting. He plays with speed, can catch the ball and has very good body control / balance through contact. He also moves through traffic very well, adjusting his run to where different people are moving. Mid- to Long-term I think that he could replace Davis in the active roster, making him an interesting trade piece for teams that need RB depth – possibly in return for one of the rookies I mention later.
Injured: Hill (IR)
Potential addition: Aaron Ripkowski (free agent)
Want to annoy me? Talk about this waste of a roster spot. I thought Madden had an awful preseason and hasn’t shown much in the last seasons either. Why they keep him, when a quality blocking/carrying beast like Ripkowski is a free agent is a mystery to me. I choose to see him as a placeholder for Khalid Hill.
Roster(3): Vannett, Dissley, Daniels
Prediction(3):Vannett, Dissley, Dickson
Practice Squad: Marcus Lucas
Injured: Dickson (NFI)
Cut: Carter, Wilson, Swoops
Vannett and Dissley were locks from the get go. I don’t think that either one of them was flashy in preseason but Vannett showed some potential in the passing game and Dissley didn’t make too many mistakes (discounting the block in the back that negated one of Carson’s TDs), which is what you want from your rookie. He also blocked well.
Dickson was kept on NFI, which he wasn’t happy about, but problem is that he just didn’t get fit. The Seahawks also traded for Daniels who is a freak athlete and figures to be a bit of a project to see if they can coax his potential out of him. If they can then he could be the pass-catching / play-making TE who I have previously said is missing from the group.
Roster(5): Baldwin, Lockett, Moore, Marshall, Brown
Prediction(7): Baldwin, Lockett, Moore, Marshall, Brown, Reynolds, Greyson
Practice Squad: Reynolds, Scott
Cut: Greyson, Turner, Bracy, Darboh (Patriots -> FA + season ending surgery), Stringfellow (Titans -> “left team” -> retires[?]), Johnson (traded to Colts for TE Daniels)
Potential addition: Quadree Henderson (rookie free agent)
Ok, so maybe 7 WRs was bit over-enthusiastic, but in my defence there was just a pretty good depth of quality. The 5 who were kept, were also the locks in my prediction, with Reynolds and Greyson making it in though special teams acumen.
I thought that Greyson was a pretty good returner and could have made the roster based on the fact that McKissic will miss time, apparently not. The only guy on the active roster who took snaps as a returner in the preseason was Moore I believe. Or do they decide to go back on what they said about Lockett and continue to have him there? At least he is listed as the returner on the depth chart.
If not, I think that there is a really good potential addition in rookie free agent Quadree Henderson waiting on the market, who I really liked pre-draft and is a return specialist. You could bring him into the team for Madden – if Ripkowski isn’t signed, alternatively he could be put on the PS first.
As to surprises I guess that there were two, which in the end didn’t surprise. Darboh being cut was a bit shoking, but he has now gone on to have season ending surgery. And there was clearly some personal issues surrounding Stringfellow, because even though he played a really strong preseason and was signed by the Titans after being cut, he has since seemingly chosen to retire.
Roster(3): Brown, Ifedi, Fant
Prediction(7): Brown, Ifedi, Fant, Battle
Practice Squad: Elijah Nkansah
Injured: Jones (IR)
Cut: Battle, Beavers
The Seahawks decided to only keep three tackles, which I found quite surprising when you look at the whole picture. Opposite Brown at left tackle – who is ageing but an absolute stud and leader – you have Ifedi who has been playing mediocre in his best games. Backing the two up is converted basketball player Fant who has yet to stay fit for a whole season but has shown great promise and the Hawks like what they see.
At best you have a Pro-Bowler, first-rounder and intelligent freak athlete. At worst you have an old guy (possibly past his prime), an unteachable flag monster who will not live up to his potential and an injury prone player with very limited American Football experience.
Jones would have probably won the starting spot at right tackle because he was showing real promise, but then he got injured. We will see if Nkansah shows enough to come from the PS if needed, but he seems to be a solid young player. RT is the weakest spot in an otherwise improved OLine.
Roster(4): Pocic, Fluker, Sweezy, Simmons
Prediction(4): Pocic, Fluker, Philips, Odhiambo
Practice Squad: Roos
Cut: Philips, Odhiambo
Inside the Hawks kept three top options in Pocic, Fluker and Sweezy. All three are starter level. Pocic was voted into the rookie OL of his rookie season. Fluker is special purely from his size: the man is a mountain and has shown the positive impact he can have in the run game. Sweezy has proven in his first stint that he can be a starting level guard – oh yeh and the Seahawks became Super Bowl champion with him there.
They must have seen something in Simmons to drop last year’s back up Roos. For starters it might have been size because Simmons has very similar measurable to Fluker, only slightly less in each: 6’4″ / 6’5″ and 339 pounds to 342. This unit definitely looks solid, more so than the tackles.
Roster(2): Britt, Hunt
Britt has seen it all across the line, having played both guard positions before going to centre. In my eyes this experience makes him the perfect leader for the middle of the line while Brown is the leader of the tackles. Hunt is a good backup centre and the great advantage of keeping him is that Pocic can focus fully on guard without having to keep an eye on the possibility of filling in as a backup centre.
Roster(4): Clark, Jordan, Green, Jefferson
Prediction(3): Clark, Green, Jefferson
Practice Squad: Jackson
Injured: Ali’ifua (IR)
This group was pretty much set from the beginning, with Green and Jefferson both playing very well in the preseason.
Jordan missed the entire preseason injured, but showed what an impact he can have at the end of last season, let’s hope he picks up where he left off. I din’t have him in my prediction because I thought he would miss the beginning of the season. His getting healthy is a good boost because he is a level above Jackson, who in turn was brought back for the PS.
Clark is expected to become the leader of the group and step up into the space vacated by the departure of Avril and Bennett. He certainly has the potential. If everyone in this group steps up it could be a very very good group, the problem is that they are all a bit unproven as starters.
Roster(5): Reed, Johnson, Jones, Stephen, Ford
Prediction(5): Reed, Johnson, Jones, Stephen, Ford
Practice Squad: Frank Herron
Cut: Ivie (Chiefs Practice Squad)
This group was set from the start of camp in my eyes, Ivie’s look in was minimal.
Reed has been developing into a leader on the line for a while now and Jones is a beast when healthy and unleashed, I can’t wait to see more from him. He was already a leader at North Carolina.
The Free Agent addition of Johnson and Stephen was also a great move, the pair are starter / top-end rotational pieces as they proved together in Minnesota.
Ford not being drafted was very surprising in my eyes, he has the potential to be great – even if he doesn’t have “typical” NFL size for the position. The fact that he has a ridiculous wingspan will help him win a lot in the trenches and with his size he will soak up multiple defenders, leaving space for others.
Herron is listed as a DT but seems to be in a similar mold to Jefferson whose versatility sees him both inside and outside.
Roster(7): Wagner, Wright, Mingo, Martin, Griffin, Calitro, Grace
Prediction(7): Wagner, Wright, Mingo, Martin, Griffin, Calitro, Walden
Injured: Beal (IR)
Cut: Pugh, Forrest, Walden, Alexander (Eagles 53-man-roster)
Potential Additions: Nick DeLuca (rookie Jaguars Practice Squad)
Wagner and Wright were locks to make the squad for obvious reasons. Mingo’s contract essentially also made him a definite. Martin was, in my opinion, almost better than Mingo, but will serve as the backup until he takes over the position in the future.
Griffin was the story where everyone wanted him to make it into the squad, but he proved that he should not just be there for his story but for his performance as he led the team in tackles in the preseason. With Wright recovering from surgery Griffin will start week 1 vs Denver. Calitro also made himself un-cutable with strong performances and big plays in the preseason.
I thought they would keep Walden because he played quite well off the edge, in then end I am happy they didn’t and instead continue to inject youth. Grace was picked up from the Browns, who picked him up from the Falcons where he was last year under Dan Quinn. He was a leading tackler in his team at college, but is said to be built like a safety. I wonder whether they will try to turn him into a Kam Chancellor type LB/S.
I would have preferred for us to pick up Nick DeLuca who was released by the Jags and then signed to their practice squad. He is not as hyper-athletic as the Seahawks traditionally like, but he has excellent footballing instincts and is a special teams ace. After the departure of Alexander I think he could have been / could still be a great addition in place of Grace.
Roster(5): Griffin, Flowers, Coleman, Thorpe, King
Prediction(6): Griffin, Maxwell, Flowers, Coleman, Thorpe, King
Cut: Boykins, Reed, Battle, Maxwell, Thomas
Potential Additions: Levi Wallace (rookie Bills Practice Squad)
This group was also pretty straight forward. Griffin is a stud and has taken the mantel from none other than no.25. Coleman was one of the best nickle corners in the league last season and Thorpe is a special teams ace who was named co-special-teams-captain with Janikowski.
Flowers is an exciting prospect moving from safety to corner and has already shown that he can make plays. If he continues to develop the way he has been, he could take a similar path to Griffin, quickly establishing himself as the unquestioned starter at right CB.
I initially had King in there as an extra special teamer who also showed some good ability in defence and Maxwell to have an experienced player in that group. King was initially sent to the Practice Squad but then promoted to the active roster when Johnson got injured again. Something that I am very happy about because Johnson is not someone I felt comfortable with as a starting corner. He just never showed the bite to play the position. We also initially had Simeon Thomas in this group, but he was released to make space for Earl Thomas. Perhaps he will be signed onto the PS to take King’s place.
Right now I feel like experience at the right CB position would do us good, just in case. If he weren’t so injury prone i would bring Deshawn Shead back who is currently a free agent and the perfect option as he knows the system and has the experience. Due to the injury side I don’t think this is an option.
Instead I would sign Levi Wallace from the Bills practice squad. He has the mentality of a prototypical Seahawk, battling through adversity to become a starter for one of the toughest college football programs at Alabama. In his final year he led the team with 15 pass breakups, had 3 interceptions, 48 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and two sacks. He fought his way onto the team through special teams and although he doesn’t have the athletic traits of your standard Seahawks CB he has the same height and arm length as Griffin, hands as big as Richard Sherman and may only need to increase his play weight to be a special player. If Wallace doesn’t develop into a star, I think that at the very least he will be one of those players where everyone in the know will say: he is routinely undervalued. I would add him for King.
Roster(3): McDougald, Hill, Luani
Prediction(3): Mcdougald, Hill, Alexander
Injured: Chancellor (PUP)
Cut: Alexander, Tyson (Texans 53-man-roster)
Potential Additions: Kyle Queiro (rookie Cowboys Practice Squad
McDougald was the lock here. He showed what he could do here last season when Kam went down; and in comparison to when ET went down he also showed that he was more suited to SS. Highly efficient and although he is not on that pro-bowl level, he reminds he of Wright and how underrated he is / was before his pro-bowl nomination.
Hill…well he does have special teams value, and I think that they still believe he can become a good SS otherwise I cannot understand his inclusion. He has not yet shown that he has the potential to step into the D and become a contributor there in his two preseasons, but has been good in special teams.
On the contrary, the pick up of Luani for a late round pick was great, because he was actually making plays against us during the preseason game where he was still at the Raiders. He was flying around with high energy and impact and could put Hill in a dangerous position if someone needs to be cut to make room on the roster.
Which brings us to my last addition for the team: Kyle Quiero. One of the first prospects I came across in my pre-draft look for players. Let me give you this situation to illustrate who he is: 4th Q, 1 minute to go. Queiro makes an interception in the endzone, could take it all the way to the house for a defensive score, but instead he slides down. Why? So that his team can end the game by taking a knee rather than giving the ball back to the other team after getting a score. That is intelligent and professional rather than a glory guy. That’s a future leader.
I haven’t even mentioned that when he had his right arm in a club he made this interception. Ridiculous! The only little fault I can pick up is that he doesn’t have elite speed. That, coupled with his size, leads to him not being able to play traditional Safety. Instead he will be more of a Safety/Linebacker hybrid who comes down into the box, with his measurables and playing style similar to Kam Chancellor. Wait…did I say that’s a bad thing? Isn’t that exactly what we are looking for?! So why haven’t we picked this guy up yet??? Along with Wallace, maybe even just ahead, he would be my no.1 priority to add and replace Hill.
Roster(1): Thompson, Earl Thomas III
Injured: Mutcherson (IR)
Thompson was the starter all offseason as Thomas held out for a new contract. Thompson was predicted to be the starter and had a decent enough preseason, but he is nowhere near the level of ET. So much so, that I would say that free safety is a priority for this team going into next year’s draft. The big problem is that what Earl Thomas does and the presence he has in the deep zones with his energy is extremely hard to replicate. Having him back, automatically upgrades our defence to the next level.
Before I would have valued our DBs at a 5 out of 10, meaning average and not intimidating or special – due to the FS and right CB spots. With Thomas I rate them at a 6 or 7 out of 10. For reference, the LOB would have been a 9 out of 10 because the right side was never up to the same level as the rest and for me an 8 out of 10 needs more experience as a unit.
I also think that Earl Thomas’ arrival boosts the whole rating of the Defence from a 7 to an 8. In my eyes a very good grade for a side who only has 5 out of 11 players starting at the same position as last year (Reed, Wagner, Wright, Coleman and Thomas), 6 players if you count Griffin who is moving from the right to the left side.
I rate them so highly because of the talent and depth on the d-line and at linebacker, which is almost ridiculous – only DE could do with one more top player. And playmakers in the secondary, now both on the outside (Griffin) and inside (Thomas, who can provide help and coverage on the right CB side). On top of that you have McDouglad, who is highly efficient, but at the same time I would not have wanted as the leader of the secondary.
This decision was made before the last preseason game, where he actually didn’t kick so well. But let’s just hope that it was a slip up vs the team he played for, for over 15 years.
This decision was also made before the last preseason game. Dickson has been an absolute stud in pre-season – even making a tackle – now we just have to make sure that as fans we are not disappointed when he “only” produces an average kick rather than his special ones.
The first of the special teams battles to be decided. I would have quite liked it if we had kept Tanner Carew (now with the Bears) who is the long snapping equivalent of Dickson in terms of talent.
Altogether I think our team has been put together very well. On the offence we look set to have a lot better season than last year if everyone stays healthy, because we have taken a big step forward. OLine is perhaps still the weakest spot there, more specifically right tackle, but the line has grown together and sown great improvement to the last couple of years. Not only have they improved in protecting Wilson, but also in what they can do for the run game. The runners themselves look like a top group for the season, as do the WRs. The TEs aren’t as flashy as with Graham, but to be fair he rarely flashed anything outside of the endzone in his time with the Hawks. The guys we have in now are much better at blocking and can all catch a ball too.
On the defensive side of the ball the Seahawks got a massive boost in the secondary by the return of Thomas, making the unit look quite tough. The LBs and DLine have also looked like playmakers in the preseason which has me very excited for this side of the ball. All this off the back of the departure of Sherman, Chancellor, Bennett and Avril and everyone declaring that the Seahawks as a defensive powerhouse are history. I think that they need to find themselves a bit this year as they have taken a small step back, but could become just as formidable in the years to come.
Special teams also looks set to be better than last year with Janikowski a definite upgrade to Walsh – although I still believe we can upgrade this position after the season ends. Dickson will also be an upgrade to Ryan and possibly is the type of player who can become the best in his position in the league. A special note to Ryan, he was the only player who was still there from before Pete Carroll times and from what you could see from interviews, and the players around him appreciating him, he was a great guy. It is a shame to see him go as a personality, but as a Punter I am very excited about Dickson. Ott the long snapper stays the same, which also says something about his quality.
Altogether we have taken a bit of a step back on the defensive side of the ball, but a good step forward on special teams and an even bigger one on offence. In my eyes that puts us in the plus and primed to finish the season better than last year.