JOHN CLAYTON

Seahawks roster thoughts: Rookies in line for significant playing time

Jun 22, 2016, 12:52 PM
Running back Alex Collins is among several Seahawks rookies who should make an impact in 2016. (AP)...
Running back Alex Collins is among several Seahawks rookies who should make an impact in 2016. (AP)
(AP)

With the Seahawks’ offseason program concluded, I started to look ahead to training camp and the regular season.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Most of the beat writers started projecting 53-man rosters. There were similar looks to most of the lists. What struck me from my weekend overview is how much younger and more athletic the Seahawks will be.

Clayton: 10 things to consider after Seahawks minicamp

Eight or nine of the 10 draft choices should make the team. Quarterback Trevone Boykin, an undrafted rookie, should be Russell Wilson’s backup. Linebackers Montese Overton and Pete Robertson and safety Tyvis Powell head the list of undrafted rookies who will challenge for roster spots.

Over the past couple of years, the Seahawks averaged about 10 new players a season. This year, there should be more new players who make the team because so many of the additions are so talented.

Here’s a few thoughts on the projected 53-man roster:

• This draft class should get more playing time than many of the most recent Seahawks draft classes. Jarran Reed should win a starting job at defensive tackle on run downs. Germain Ifedi will start at right guard. C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins should have significant roles in the backfield. Nick Vannett will get playing time at tight end because of his blocking and pass-catching ability. Quinton Jefferson could work his way into the defensive-line rotation. Boykin should be the backup quarterback. General manager John Schneider reloaded this team through the draft and undrafted free agency.

• It will be interesting to see the numbers at certain positions. Some believe the Seahawks will keep 10 offensive linemen. I think it will be nine to save an extra spot for a linebacker or defensive linemen. The team is three deep at center with Justin Britt, Patrick Lewis and Joey Hunt. Bradley Sowell will be the backup left tackle. J’Marcus Webb will start at right tackle. Rees Odhiambo is the backup guard. That would free the team up to keep eight or nine defensive linemen and maybe as many as seven linebackers.

• The best battle might be for the No. 5 wide receiver spot. Kasen Williams may have left minicamp with a slight edge over seventh-round choice Kenny Lawler, but that could change in training camp. If both players earn special-teams duties, the Seahawks could keep six receivers.

• Christine Michael has to beat out seventh-round pick Zac Brooks to make the team, but it might be hard for him to top Thomas Rawls, Collins and Prosise for playing time. Michael is a talent. Keeping him would be a luxury at a low cost. Plus, he’s the most experienced back in the room.

• Thanks to Cassius Marsh’s flexibility, the Seahawks could keep seven linebackers along with eight or nine defensive linemen. Marsh is in the hunt for playing time at strong-side linebacker, but he can also help out on the defensive line. Michael Morgan will be the strong-side linebacker on run downs. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard can use Brandon Browner or Eric Pinkins as a safety-linebacker. Kevin Pierre-Louis can work his way into the mix.

• The battle for the fourth and fifth spots at cornerback should be fun. Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon should be the top three. DeShawn Shead, Tye Smith, Marcus Burley and Stanley Jean-Baptiste are four players battling for two spots.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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