JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Where are the Seahawks’ biggest roster decisions?

Aug 28, 2019, 2:08 PM
Gary Jennings was one of three wide receivers drafted by the Seahawks in 2019. (Getty)...
Gary Jennings was one of three wide receivers drafted by the Seahawks in 2019. (Getty)
(Getty)

The Seahawks and the NFL close out the preseason Thursday night with games in which starters aren’t expected to play.

Clayton: Are Seahawks’ position battles clear after preseason win over LA?

The Oakland Raiders come to town with the Hard Knocks crew. After that, roster cuts have to be made by 1 p.m. Saturday. The Seahawks current roster is at 88. They need to remove 35 players.

I figure the Seahawks probably know the 48 players who are on the roster and have to make decisions on the final five. Injuries will play a factor. The Seahawks have to decide if they want to keep nine or 10 offensive linemen, nine or 10 defensive linemen, three or four halfbacks and five or six wide receivers.

Let’s look at some of the decisions ahead.

• Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch will continue to battle for the backup quarterback job. Smith pretty well secured the backup job last Saturday against the Los Angeles Chargers with his strong performance. Lynch would have to be outrageously good Thursday, and that’s if he’s clear from concussion protocol.

• Ugo Amadi is in a great battle against James Taylor for the slot cornerback job. What will be interesting to see is how they play both. If one sits, then that may tip off who won the job.

Amadi has been one of the main play-makers of the defense. He’s made big tackles and big plays in the first three games. Taylor is a professional who is a natural as a slot corner. Akeem King has been doing a lot of outside cornerback, but could step in if needed.

• This will be another big game for C.J. Prosise if he’s going to make the team or if he’s going to garner interest in the trade market. Prosise looked great in his limited role against the Chargers. He’s a talent, but he’s also missed 32 of 48 regular season games because of injuries.

• Another interesting decision is whether the Seahawks will play or rest John Ursua. If Ursau doesn’t play, it could mean he’s going into the opener as the team’s No. 3 receiver and that he’s going to make the team. David Moore (fractured arm) is going to miss the opener. DK Metcalf (knee) could be available for the opener. You noticed the Seahawks signed two undrafted wide receivers Tuesday, a tip that maybe three receivers might not play.

• Gary Jennings, Malik Turner and Jazz Ferguson will be three receivers to follow Thursday night. Jennings needs to show more to make sure he makes the team. Turner is the sleeper receiver who has a chance. Ferguson is a big, tall target who is also intriguing.

• Jacob Martin has shown enough in the preseason that he might have earned the chance to sit out Thursday. Rasheem Green, though, does need to show more. (As a sidenote, Green swapped uniform numbers with Ziggy Ansah. Green is now 98, while Ansah gets No. 94.)

• This is a make or break game for linebacker Shaquem Griffin. He’s fighting an uphill battle to make the team. The Seahawks will likely keep six linebackers. Cody Barton, Austin Calitro and Ben Burr-Kirven have the best chances to being No. 4, 5 and 6. Griffin is back after missing couple weeks with a knee injury.

• The Seahawks are thin along the offensive line. Jordan Simmons is hurt and could miss start of the season with a knee injury. Mike Iupati could miss the opener with a foot/calf injury. Joey Hunt has a high-ankle sprain. This is a big game for Marcus Martin, the former Dallas Cowboy guard who is going to fill in at center. It’s also an important game for Jordan Roos.

John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle
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Clayton: Where are the Seahawks’ biggest roster decisions?