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3 Players to watch in Seahawks’ preseason finale vs Raiders

Aug 30, 2018, 10:02 AM | Updated: 10:06 am
amara darboh...
Seahawks WR Amara Darboh, a 2017 third-round pick, was waived by the team Saturday. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks close out their preseason Thursday night with a 7 p.m. game against the Oakland Raiders. Starters are expected to make only brief appearances in this contest. But with the 53-man roster deadline on Sept. 1, there are a few players still working to make their case for a place on Seattle’s 2018 squad.

Wyman’s 53-man roster projection: Defense | Offense, special teams

In the case of others (like linebacker Shaquem Griffin, included in this list), Thursday night’s game can offer a player a chance to get additional reps before assuming his biggest role yet.

Here are three players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game:

WR Amara Darboh

The Seahawks clearly like the skill set and potential they see in wide receiver Amara Darboh – enough to draft the 6-feet-2, 215-pound former Michigan Wolverine in the third round last year. Darboh had a relatively quiet rookie season, though, finishing the year with 71 yards on eight catches.

The difference between last year and this season is the departure of big targets. Last year, Darboh was competing for reps with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson. Only Baldwin and Lockett remain on the roster for 2018.

Darboh also has a year of NFL experience under his belt. That growing understanding of the playbook and game speed has helped fellow 2017 draft pick wide receiver David Moore, who in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton said he felt lost his first year and benefited from his time on Seattle’s practice squad.

Injuries have kept Darboh limited this preseason, a problem not made easier by new faces (Marcus Johnson, Jaron Brown and Brandon Marshall) and burgeoning talent (Moore) in Seattle’s crowded receiver room.

But after missing last week’s game, Darboh is expected to play in Thursday’s contest against the Raiders.

“I just want to see him play ball again,” Carroll said Wednesday. “We’ve seen a lot of him, we know him well, we like him, he’s been a really aggressive player, been a good special teamer and all that. Just would like to see him get back out and show that he’s back, really. We’ll figure it out from there.”

LB Shaquem Griffin

Rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin made this list last week after two impressive preseason appearances, but he’s on here again for good reason. With K.J. Wright (knee) expected to be sidelined for a couple weeks, Griffin could be Seattle’s starting weakside linebacker in the Week 1 opener against the Broncos on Sept. 9.

Griffin has performed well, but he hasn’t spent much time playing opposite a first-team offense. Assuming Oakland doesn’t rest its starters, he should get a shot at that tonight. He’ll also have his most extensive time playing alongside starting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

G J.R. Sweezy

The Seahawks reunited with their former 2012 draft pick J.R. Sweezy on Aug. 1, but after suffering an ankle injury in his first practice, Sweezy has been unable to make his first start.

He returned to practice this week, though, and looks to play in place of right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring).

“Sweezy had a really good week,” Carroll said Wednesday. “This was his first week officially back practicing and working, and he did very well. With (D.J.) Fluker being down, he worked at the right side as well as his real work on the other side. He’s showing us that flexibility, which is good. It’s really good to have Sweezy back out there. He’s a great competitor, as he’s always been, and he fits right in. We’re real happy to have him.”

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3 Players to watch in Seahawks’ preseason finale vs Raiders