The Seattle Seahawks have added a number of new faces, and now the speculation will begin about which players will make the team. There is certainly time to ponder, but before long it will be summer, and competition at various positions will be in full swing.
Certainly there are some positions that seem fairly solidified, but Pete Carroll loves to create a competitive environment. Late-round draft picks will be competing with seasoned veterans, and we may see some interesting position battles.
This Seahawks team has a ton of talent, and with that will come high expectations. In order to win in 2013, Seattle will need solid performances from the entire roster. Stars are crucial, but so is depth.
The roster (via Seahawks.com) currently lists 91 players. Needless to say, a few will have to go.
With that in mind, here are some early projections for the Seattle Seahawks' 53-man roster.
The nice thing about training camp this year is that it shouldn’t have a quarterback battle, at least not for the starting position. Matt Flynn is gone and Russell Wilson more than established himself last season as the quarterback of the future.
At this point, the only question is how the quarterbacks will be slotted on the depth chart. Conventional wisdom suggests that Brady Quinn may be the backup since he is the “veteran” at signal-caller, but he is honestly not guaranteed to be in that position.
Seattle brought back Josh Portis, and that has to count for something. However, the Seahawks also brought in Jerrod Johnson (via Seahawks.com), which will provide at least a little drama and competition.
Christine Michael (R)
Drafting a running back in the second round of the NFL draft was not expected by some people, but the Seahawks have certainly surprised a few experts over the last couple of years. Given Seattle’s recent success, there are more and more people that are willing to reserve judgment.
Christine Michael could fill Leon Washington’s role, compete with Robert Turbin for backup playing time or start getting groomed to eventually replace Marshawn Lynch. Hopefully the Seahawks can find the right balance.
It will be interesting to see what the rookie from Texas A&M can do. Has Pete Carroll found another gem? In terms of other rookies, I would not necessarily expect sixth-round pick Spencer Ware to make the team.
Chris Harper (R)
The acquisition of Percy Harvin will have a major impact on this team. If Harvin is healthy and productive, he could be the top weapon for Russell Wilson.
What will be interesting will be the back end of the wide receiver list. The drafting of Chris Harper in the fourth round is particularly intriguing, as he is regarded as a potential impact player.
Will Harper challenge for playing time? Will Doug Baldwin regain his 2011 numbers? Will Golden Tate continue growing, or has he plateaued?
Keep an eye on Harper. He may be a guy who turns some heads this season. How potent would this offense be if a rookie could come in and add to an already dangerous offense?
Luke Willson (R)
Based on how 2012 went, Zach Miller should remain the go-to tight end target for Russell Wilson. Miller is certainly an expensive target, but the NFL is a league where an effective tight end is a crucial part of the offense.
On the other side is Anthony McCoy, who has had his moments. He has also struggled at times and caused some to wonder if he is a long-term solution.
The drafting of Luke Willson out of Rice will provide some competition, and it may be that Willson is the type of player who could work his way into the regular rotation. Then again, this is a deep team that may not have room for a rookie tight end who came out of the fifth round.
The offensive line is a tough call, only because injuries and inconsistency have been an issue over the last couple of years. As much as fans might have wanted the offensive line to be addressed through the draft, the Seahawks only picked one guard, and that was in the seventh round.
Perhaps rookie Ryan Seymour will win a spot on the team. Or, undrafted rookies like Alvin Bailey and Jordon Roussos could make some noise. Then again, perhaps these guys are just going to be there to keep the veterans on their toes.
Jordan Hill (R)
Jesse Williams (R)
The defensive line will also be a very interesting position group for the Seahawks. There are a lot of moving parts, and not a lot of clear answers on how the formations will shake out.
Will Michael Bennett play inside or outside? Will Chris Clemons return at full strength? What about backups such as Greg Scruggs, Jaye Howard and Clinton McDonald?
It seems reasonable to project that Jordan Hill could make the team after being drafted in the third round. The same could be said about Jesse Williams, who may have been a steal in the fifth round. Of course, some of the veterans are not going to be eager to step aside.
Seattle has plenty of options, including seventh-round picks and undrafted rookies. Not everyone will get to stay.
John Lotulelei (R)
There were a number of fans who assumed the Seahawks would address the position of outside linebacker throughout the draft. Apparently not.
Seattle already has some talented linebackers, and this group may not change a great deal from 2012. One theory (via CBS Seattle) is that the ‘Hawks may bring in a veteran linebacker or two to compete for Leroy Hill’s vacated spot.
Otherwise, the plan may be to allow Malcolm Smith to step up.
One player to watch is John Lotulelei, an undrafted rookie whom Seattle signed after the conclusion of the draft. Over the past couple of seasons, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have displayed a knack for finding overlooked talent.
Tharold Simon (R)
Seattle may again have one of the most talented secondaries in football. The big names are becoming well-known around the league, and this defense has a definitive swagger.
What is unclear is whether health will continue to cause issues for certain players. The addition of Tharold Simon out of LSU may turn out to be a very good pick for Seattle. In addition, the Seahawks will benefit from the veteran presence of Antoine Winfield.
Still, there will be battles. Will Winston Guy or DeShawn Shead be on the outside looking in? What about Will Blackmon? Does undrafted rookie Ray Polk have a shot at making this squad?
This secondary should be excellent again. The only question will be depth.
This group is relatively straightforward, particularly now that Steven Hauschka has been re-signed (via Seahawks.com). Besides Hauschka, there weren’t a lot of other kicking options on the market that represented a major upgrade.
Much work is yet to be done before this roster starts to take shape. It will be an interesting summer, and the Seahawks will work hard to maintain an atmosphere of competition.