Depth, Depth, Depth
With young and talented rosters popping up around the NFL, it is becoming increasingly difficult for incoming rookies to do enough to make the team. That is an issue the Seattle Seahawks are beginning to run into.
While they have a knack for drafting well and doing so in the later rounds, the front office is about to have some difficult decisions on their hands.
Boasting one of the youngest rosters in the league and coming off the team’s first ever Super Bowl victory, the Seahawks newest signees will have to work harder than ever to make the 2014 squad.
With very few holes in the roster, incoming rookies will have to show Pete Carroll and John Schneider that they are ready to step up.
Let’s break down this year’s rookie class, by position group:
- Keith Price, QB, Washington – UDFA
Keith Price was the lone quarterback the Seahawks added during or after the draft.
Being a University of Washington homer, I was ecstatic about the choice although I was disappointed Price went undrafted. While Price will have to battle with Tarvaris Jackson, B.J. Daniels and Terrelle Pryor for a chance at a backup role, I think he pulls it off.
Prediction: Price winds up being QB3 on the depth chart or becomes the signal caller for the Practice Squad.
- Kiero Small, RB, Arkansas – Round 7
The choice of Kiero Small is a little confusing, but we have learned not to question the decisions that Pete Carroll and John Schneider make. With Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Spencer Ware and Derrick Coleman all currently on the roster, it is going to be extremely difficult for Small to find a spot.
Prediction: Injury(ies) permitting to the afforementioned, Small will be released
- Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado – Round 2
- Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama – Round 4
- Chase Dixon, TE, Central Arkansas – UDFA
- RaShaun Allen, TE, Central – UDFA
The receiving corps was probably the biggest position in need of help going into the offseason. With Golden Tate leaving for Detroit, there was an immediate void that needed filling. And while Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and (probably) Jermaine Kearse sit atop the depth chart with ease, the injury histories of those first two have to be considered with every move.
With Bryan Walters, Ricardo Lockette, Arceto Clark and Phil Bates serving as the backups and role players, it gives the new rookies as well as Chris Matthews (from last year’s draft class) more than enough opportunity to steal a roster spot.
The team has also been looking for a solid tight end to work with Zach Miller. So far, they have worked in Anthony McCoy, Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet. Those three have had their successes, but they have also suffered from inconsistency.
Miller has been doing more blocking than expected and the Seahawks are looking for that true dual threat who can both effectively block and receive. They passed up opportunities to grab one of the top tight ends in the draft and may already have plans to groom someone on the roster to pass the torch on to.
Prediction: Richardson makes the roster, Norwood and Dixon earn final position spots or Practice Squad, Allen released
- Justin Britt, OT, Missouri – Round 2
- Garrett Scott, OT, Marshall – Round 6 (waived 5/23 due to non-football illness)
- Gary Gilliam, OL, Penn State – UDFA
- Bronson Irwin, OL, Oklahoma – UDFA
- Nate Isles, OG, North Carolina A&T – UDFA
Offensive line was another concern for the Seahawks even going into last season. Since then, they lost the right side of the line with both Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan leaving in Free Agency. There are A LOT of new offensive linemen on the roster that the team signed in Free Agency who will all be vying for a shot to make the team.
Prediction: Britt and Gilliam make the roster, Isles lands on Practice Squad, Irwin is released
- Cassius Marsh, DE, UCLA – Round 4
- Jimmy Staten, DT, Middle Tennessee State – Round 5
- Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – UDFA
- Andru Pulu, DT, Eastern Washington – UDFA
The last of the three holes in the roster were on the defensive line, where the Seahawks released Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and lost Clinton McDonald in Free Agency. While the Seahawks have a small crop of players they are grooming, you can never have too many pass rushers.
On a personal note, I was very pleased to see Seattle select Marsh. He plays exactly how this team is built: fast and nasty. He could wind up being the future of the Seahawks relentless pass rush.
Prediction: Marsh, Jeffcoat, Pulu make the roster, Staten lands on Practice Squad
- Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College – Round 4
- Brock Coyle, LB, Montana – UDFA
- Horace Miller, LB, UTEP – UDFA
The linebacking corps hasn’t seen any changes and was pretty stout last season. Even in the face of adversity, players stepped up and played well for the team. While this position definitely wasn’t an issue for the team, it can never hurt to add competition and possibly talent to the roster.
Prediction: Pierre-Louis makes the roster, Coyle lands on Practice Squad, Miller released
- Eric Pinkins. FS, San Diego State – Round 6
- Dion Bailey, S, USC – UDFA
- Jimmy Legree, CB, South Carolina – UDFA (released 5/19)
While the defensive secondary is a strength of the team, the group took a hit in Free Agency with Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond and Chris Maragos leaving town. With solid backups still in place, the team could be looking to start grooming the next generation of thumpers now to give players like Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell and Jeron Johnson a run at future starting positions.
Prediction: Pinkins makes the roster, Bailey lands on the Practice Squad
These are merely predictions and I have nothing against any of the players. After seeing how Pete Carroll and John Schneider operate, it is almost impossible to correctly guess what kind of shenanigans those two are up to. The team lost 7 players in Free Agency and released three others.
While there are some notable gaps on the roster, they have been designed to be easily filled by backups due to the competitive nature of the team. The team avoided making free agency splashes so they could re-sign and extend current players.
The biggest hit, though, may have been in Special Teams. If these rookies want the best chance possible to make this year’s team, they had better be ready to make Special Teams their meal ticket.