The Seahawks have some big decisions to make ahead of Saturday’s cutdown to the final 53-man roster. All eyes have been on the battle at running back and shuffling on the offensive line, but another group will be cut nearly in half at the end of the week: the wide receiver group.
There, questions linger about whether Kasen Williams is a lock after a big preseason and whether second-year player Tanner McEvoy will threaten newly-drafted rookie Amara Darboh for a spot on the roster.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said this year’s group of wide receivers is the most talented yet for Seattle. There are currently 12 players vying for a spot – though to be fair, the bulk of the players will battle it out for one open spot at the bottom of the lineup. Veterans Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse are secure, while the fates of the remaining players are up in the air.
Rookie Amara Darboh is a tricky one. While it’s a rare occasion for a rookie drafted in the third round or higher to be cut, the Seahawks have been known to favor players that can help them regardless of draft position. Darboh has certainly had impressive moments in camp and is unlikely to lose his spot, but McEvoy has at least been making a case through a strong performance in the third preseason game (two catches for 43 yards and a touchdown) and a solid training camp.
There’s also been a good deal of buzz surrounding former Washington standout Williams, who has spent the last two seasons on the practice squad. His ability to be plugged in on special teams might just cement his spot on the roster. His big catches in the preseason are also a consideration – though not for an obvious reason.
“I think a bigger part of (the decisions about which receivers make it to the final roster spot) will be who they think they can get away with on the practice squad,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton said.
Williams may have slipped through waivers in years past, but other teams may be eyeing him now that he has more experience and his own preseason highlight reel, which would make it less likely the Seahawks could push him back on to the practice squad without losing him to another team.
Seattle’s cast of Williams, Darboh, McEvoy, Kenny Lawler, Cyril Grayson, David Moore, Darreus Rogers and Rodney Smith will have one last chance to make their case when the Seahawks take on the Raiders in Oakland in Thursday’s preseason finale.