Clayton: Where the Seahawks’ position battles sit before training camp
With the Seahawks on vacation until the start of training camp in late July, this is one of several opportunities to look at the roster and see who might be in and out at the start of the season.
It’s not easy. Clearly, Pete Carroll wanted plenty of competition. He got that and more. The roster has more players than positions. Just about every position has tough decisions. No doubt it’s impossible to accurately sort out the roster, but let’s look at some of the battles.
• Quarterback: For the backup job, Geno Smith does has the edge on Paxton Lynch, although Carroll said the battle is a little closer than some think. Smith’s edge is starting experience; Lynch failed in his starts in Denver.
• Halfback: We know Chris Carson is the starter and Rashaad Penny combines with him for the 1-2 punch. After that it gets interesting. Nick Bellore will be the fullback. The Seahawks may be able to keep two more backs, and catching the football will be the key. It’s a three-way battle among J.D. McKissic, oft-injured C.J. Prosise and sixth-round surprise Travis Homer. Homer catches the ball well and McKissic is one of the fastest player on the team – plus he is a returner. That makes Prosise the likely odd man out.
• Wide receiver: I have it Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, David Moore and D.K Metcalf in order as the top four. The Seahawks could keep two more, but how they play in the slot will be the key. It’s a three-way battle among rookies Gary Jennings and John Ursua and second-year Seahawk Keenan Reynolds. It’s not out of the question the Seahawks could keep as few as five total receivers.
• Tight end: This could go one of many different directions. Jacob Hollister has 4.5 speed and good pass-catching ability. Will Dissly is coming off the patellar tendon injury. Don’t forget George Fant will be out there 15-to-25 plays as a blocking tight end. Former Seahawks receiver Michael Bumpus said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore that he thinks Nick Vannett could be the odd man out, but I think it comes down to a battle between Ed Dickson and Hollister.
• Offensive line: The top six are Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi and Fant. Phil Haynes looks like No. 7 with he showed at guard. Jamarco Jones is a developmental tackle. That leaves the ninth spot being a battle between Ethan Pocic and Joey Hunt. Jordan Simmons might not make it if they keep nine offensive linemen.
• Defensive linemen: They could keep as many as 10 defensive linemen or as few as nine. Jarran Reed and, eventually, Ziggy Ansah are the starters. Cassius Marsh has a decent chance to start. L.J Collier and Rasheem Green will battle for the five-technique. Al Woods and Poona Ford will fight for a starting defensive tackle spot. Guys in trouble are Nazair Jones, Jamie Meder and Branden Jackson. Quinton Jefferson should make it as defensive end or tackle.
• Linebacker: This spot could be intriguing. The Seahawks have four starting candidates at linebacker for the spots: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks and Barkevious Mingo. The Seahawks have to find roster spots for Jacob Martin, Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven. Something has to give. They should keep six. Sorting it out will be if Mingo, Martin and Shaquem Griffin can help with the pass rush. I think Griffin is going to have a tough time making it.
• Defensive back: It’s pretty clear they will have 10 defensive backs. Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Bradley McDougald, Marquise Blair, Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe, Ugo Amadi and Shalom Luani should make it. It could come down to a battle between Lano Hill and Tedric Thompson for a roster spot or a starting job. Kalan Reed, Jeremy Boykins and Jamar Taylor could be battling for the last roster spot.