The 2013 Seattle Seahawks are moving from a team that was perhaps underestimated to a team that everyone knows is a threat to win not just the NFC West, but the conference as a whole.
Russell Wilson surprised everyone and not only took the starting quarterback job, but thrived under head coach Pete Carroll. Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, not to mention the receiving corps, turned the Seahawks offense into a top 10 scoring machine.
When one thinks Seattle, however, one thinks defense. The group allowed the fewest points of any team, and the secondary, stocked with Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Richard Sherman, may be the most feared in all of the National Football League.
The offense acquired some new weapons this past offseason, and if it can be even near as good as the defense was in 2012, then the Seahawks will be looking at more than just challenging the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC.
In the following slides, we'll break down the Seahawks' 90-man roster as training camp approaches. Included will be commentary on what each player needs to do to crack the final roster.
Note: Listed next to names are given roster numbers
Russell Wilson (3)
Russell Wilson was the NFL's big surprise last year. After being drafted in the third round, he not only beat out Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback job, but thrived, throwing for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns. So long as he does not have a sophomore slump, the Seahawks have no reason to worry about their starting quarterback.
Tarvaris Jackson (7)
Tarvaris Jackson has experience with the Seahawks already, having been the team's starting quarterback in 2011. He has now returned, and will likely be the backup for Wilson, providing a veteran presence who knows the system well. He did not play in 2012, however, which may mean he has a bit of rust to shake off in training camp.
Brady Quinn (10)
Brady Quinn will be competing for the backup quarterback spot along with Jackson. While Jackson knows the system better, Quinn saw some playing time for the Kansas City Chiefs, and while he did not perform all that well, he could show enough to snag the No. 2 job.
Marshawn Lynch (24)
Ever since joining the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch has been in another gear. He had his best season ever in 2012 with 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns. His performance is not going to be easy to duplicate, but it at least keeps his starting job safe. The new batch of running backs also means that they shouldn't need to give him the ball over 300 times this year.
Christine Michael (33)
Christine Michael is the wild card of this group. The second-round rookie is a running back I consider to be among the best from the draft in terms of talent, but he comes with plenty of question marks.
If Pete Carroll and his coaching staff can work with him and utilize his talent well, then he can easily take the load off of Lynch and give the Seahawks two bruising running backs. If he falters, then he could end up behind Robert Turbin on the depth chart.
Michael Robinson (26)
Michael Robinson has been the starting fullback for three seasons and has been around the league a fairly long time. His role is secure as a fullback, though the two running backs below do offer more versatility that the Seahawks may consider exploring.
Robert Turbin (22)
Last year's fourth-round draft pick showed promise as a backup. Robert Turbin had 80 carries for 254 yards, and looked good as the primary backup. The battle between Christine Michael and Turbin will be an interesting one as both have the right style of running for Seattle's offense.
Spencer Ware (44)
Spencer Ware was the sixth-round draft pick of the Seahawks this year, and he performed well at LSU. Fellow LSU back Stevan Ridley's emergence with the Patriots could make Ware worth a look, since he can contribute both at running back and fullback. To make the team, he will have to showcase both his versatility and raw running ability.
Derrick Coleman (40)
Derrick Coleman has been bouncing around the league for a couple seasons on practice squads. With the addition of Michael and Ware through the draft, it would take a miraculous training camp performance to make the team.
Percy Harvin (11)
Rather than risk drafting a first-round bust, the Seahawks instead acquired Percy Harvin through a trade with the Vikings. When healthy, Harvin has been great. If he can remain on the field for a full season, 1,000 yards should be easy to obtain.
Sidney Rice (18)
Sidney Rice was solid for the Seahawks last season, managing 748 yards and seven touchdowns. While he and Golden Tate are evenly matched, Rice has the advantage of having played with Harvin at Minnesota, making him more likely to grab the second wide receiver job.
Golden Tate (81)
Golden Tate is perhaps best remembered for catching the touchdown pass in the replacement referee game against the Green Bay Packers, but he had a nice season with 688 receiving yards. He will certainly make the team, but to keep a starting role he will have to outperform Sidney Rice and show why he was a second-round draft pick.
Doug Baldwin (89)
It's great seeing an undrafted free agent make his mark, which is what Doug Baldwin has done. He is entering his third season and has over 1,100 yards to his credit. He's a reliable target, and having him on the depth chart helps the Seahawks, especially since he performed much better with the returning Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback.
Chris Harper (17)
Chris Harper was the team's fourth-round pick in this year's draft. The Seahawks don't have to keep him around, but he will likely make the team as a depth piece. Still, he has to show up in training camp and make his presence known, especially with how many wide receivers the Seahawks have on the roster.
Jermaine Kearse (15)
Jermaine Kearse made the team last year during the second half of the season and played sparingly, totaling three catches. He is a dark horse to make the team this year, and will be worth watching in training camp. Getting laser eye surgery in February should help his chances as well if sight was an issue with him last year.
Stephen Williams (83)
Stephen Williams spent three years with the Arizona Cardinals, mainly on the practice squad before signing with Seattle this offseason. He had nine receptions and 101 yards in 2010, but none since. He has an advantage with his 6'5" height, as Russell Wilson could use a taller player to throw to.
Brett Swain (16)
Brett Swain is on his final chance in the NFL, having seen bits and pieces of playing time since 2008 and having not played this past season. Seven receptions since being drafted in 2008 means he has to show more than just staying power this time through.
Bryan Walters (19)
Bryan Walters has three receptions to his credit since joining the NFL in 2010. He served on the practice squad last year and will be looking to actually get some playing time this year. Like Harvin and Rice, he spent time with the Vikings, though that was only during last year's training camp.
Phil Bates (13)
Phil Bates was an undrafted free agent who signed last season with the Seahawks. He saw no playing time, but has another season to make his mark in training camp.
Arceto Clark (14), Greg Hurd (2), Justin Veltung (6)
These three are all undrafted free agents signed weeks after the draft ended. They will likely be competing for spots on the practice squad unless they have incredible performances at training camp.
Zach Miller (86)
The starting tight end and the only holdover in that group from last year, Miller has not shown the receiving ability he had with the Oakland Raiders. He had 366 yards and three touchdowns last year, but with the lack of experience behind him, he will remain the starter. Miller, however, needs a better season for it to stay that way.
Luke Willson (82)
With Anthony McCoy out for the season, the door is open for rookie Luke Willson. The fifth-round draft pick out of Rice was the second tight end behind Vance McDonald for the Owls, so moving to a backup role behind Miller should be seamless, though he will have competition.
Sean McGrath (84)
Sean McGrath made the team last year, but remained on the practice squad nearly the whole season. He was on the active roster towards the end of the season, but has no stats just yet. He will look to change that and will try to beat out Willson for the backup tight end job.
Cooper Helfet (48)
Cooper Helfet was part of the Seahawks' training camp roster last season, but did not make the team. He has that year of experience under his belt now, so he has that advantage over the other two who have not seen playing time yet.
Darren Fells (88)
Darren Fells has an interesting story behind him. He played college basketball rather than football, and then played basketball overseas before signing with the Seahawks this offseason. He has the physicality to be a tight end, but will he be too rusty to make the transition back to football?
Victor Marshall (87)
Victor Marshall was signed as a rookie tryout this offseason and was converted from a wide receiver into a tight end, a position he has not played. This makes him a long shot, but he is a local and will be pushing the others to perhaps make the practice squad.
Russell Okung (76)
Russell Okung emerged this past season and became a stud at the left tackle position. His game has become one of the best in the league. Keeping him healthy and at the blind side makes Russell Wilson's job that much easier.
Breno Giacomini (68)
The starting right tackle in 2012, Breno Giacomini's position is not quite as secure as Okung's is. He is, however, getting better every year, going from a player mired on the depth chart in Green Bay to a starter in Seattle. He should be able to hold onto his spot so long as he is good as he was the second half of last year, provided he does not draw unnecessary penalties.
Mike Person (75)
The Seahawks have solid tackles as starters, but the depth is a question mark. Mike Person is penciled in as Okung's backup, but didn't see any playing time, splitting last year between the active roster and practice squad. If he is going to stick around this time, he will have to have a good performance in training camp.
Michael Bowie (73)
Michael Bowie was a 2013 draft selection near the end of the final round and saw some playing time in minicamp. While he and Bailey seem close to each other on the depth chart, Bowie is solely a tackle, giving him an advantage to landing a backup spot on the roster.
Alvin Bailey (78)
Alvin Bailey was an undrafted free agent who may have declared a year too early. He's a guard naturally, but has the body to play tackle, and he will likely see some time at both during training camp. His versatility could help him land a roster spot, or at least stay on the practice squad.
Jake Bscherer (65)
Jake Bscherer was signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason, and with two other rookies that seem to have more going for them, it will take a great training camp for him to get noticed.
James Carpenter (77)
The guard spot is among the most muddled on the Seahawks, and it starts with James Carpenter, a tackle converted to guard. He started in seven games at the spot last year, but his position is not necessarily secure. If he can stay healthy he should be fine, but he has not been able to do so in two seasons.
Paul McQuistan (67)
Paul McQuistan has the advantage of being both versatile and an elder statesman of the group, having played since 2006. He started every game at guard last season, but if Okung were to get injured, it's possible that he moves to the tackle spot, since he can play on almost the entire line. In either case, he will almost certainly be a starter in 2013.
John Moffitt (74)
John Moffitt is a quality backup who can be a solid starter on the Seahawks as well. Like Carpenter, he has had injury issues, and has played only 15 games in two seasons. He will make the guard position a good one for the Seahawks so long as he does not get injured again.
J.R. Sweezy (64)
J.R. Sweezy was a seventh-round pick last year who not only made the team, but contributed to the Seahawks. He took over as starter near the end of the season, and seemed to get better from game to game. In fact, it's not that much of a reach for him to end up as one of the two starters at guard at the end of training camp should he stay healthy and outplay the others.
Ryan Seymour (73) and Jared Smith (66)
Right now, these two players are almost interchangeable. Both are seventh-round draft picks from this year, both are penciled in at guard but have the ability to play tackle, and both may not make the team. They may be competing for the final offensive line spot, so they will have to separate from each other and separate themselves from the rest of the guards.
Rishaw Johnson (63)
Rishaw Johnson is the wild card of this group. He did not see playing time last year, was an undrafted free agent and had a hit and miss training camp. His hits, however, were significant, and if he showcases that again this year, he could be a surprise and make the team over Seymour and Smith.
Max Unger (60)
The only pure center on the roster, Max Unger has made it easy for the Seahawks to just have the one as he made the Pro Bowl last season while starting every game. Unger may be the safest bet on the Seahawks' offense moving forward.
Lemuel Jeanpierre (61)
Lemuel Jeanpierre has seen playing time at both center and guard. While he is naturally a guard, should Unger get injured at any point this season, he is the one that will have to anchor the offense at the center spot. Even if he's not needed there, he will be part of the guard rotation.
Cliff Avril (56)
The marquee free-agent signing for the Seahawks was defensive end Cliff Avril. He can be counted on for nearly double-digit sack totals, and will be a no-brainer as one of the two starters.
Red Bryant (79)
Red Bryant is a guy who looks more like a defensive tackle but plays at defensive end. With the signing of Michael Bennett and Avril, who knows if he will stay as the starter at DE. He has started every game the past two seasons, and he's meant as a run stopper, which doesn't show up in statistics like pass rushing does. He's in the midst of a five-year deal, so he will start either way.
Chris Clemons (91)
Chris Clemons is a tough one to figure out for 2013. He has been great the past three seasons and would be a starter, but he tore his ACL on the atrocious playing surface at FedEx Field. He might be back by the time the season starts, but he will likely miss training camp, leaving the door open for others to make an impression.
Michael Bennett (72)
Michael Bennett's signing may not have gotten the recognition Avril's did, but it built up the depth at defensive end big time. He emerged last season, his first as a full-time starter, with nine sacks, and that total could remain good playing alongside Avril. He could see time at defensive tackle as well, as he can play both roles.
Greg Scruggs (98)
Greg Scruggs was another seventh-round draft pick who saw some playing time last year, managing two sacks in 11 games. The free-agent additions make his roster spot tougher to hold on to, but he showed enough pass rushing ability to perhaps stick around.
All that being said, he will likely end up on the injured reserve, or will at least miss most of the season, so training camp-wise he is a non-factor.
Kenneth Boatright (93)
Kenneth Boatright is a Southern Illinois graduate who spent time playing football in the NAIA before making the transfer to the NCAA. As one of two undrafted free agents at defensive end, he will likely be competing for a practice squad spot.
Benson Mayowa (47)
Benson Mayowa graduated from Idaho, and since he is two years younger than Boatright, he should have more room to grow. That may make all the difference should a spot come down to those two.
Brandon Mebane (92)
Brandon Mebane has been a key part of the Seahawks' defensive line since his selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. He has started in every game the past two seasons and is part of more tackles every season. He should have little trouble starting 16 games again.
Tony McDaniel (99)
Tony McDaniel is a new piece for the Seahawks, having played for the Miami Dolphins the past four years. He is on a one-year deal, and will have something to prove. If Red Bryant or Michael Bennett is moved inside, then he will be a key bench piece. If not, he may get the opportunity to start at times.
Jordan Hill (97)
One of two drafted rookies at the spot, Jordan Hill was a third-round selection and was in a difficult spot as a major part of the defense at Penn State. He will be competing with Williams for playing time on the line.
Jesse Williams (90)
Jesse Williams, like Hill, was a drafted player, selected in the fifth round by the Seahawks. Despite that selection, he was projected to go a lot higher, so don't let the round fool you. He could be the surprise of training camp and perhaps could even start later in the year.
Clinton McDonald (67)
The versatile Clinton McDonald has been a backup on the Seahawks for the past two seasons, and he has enough versatility to move to defensive end in a Red Bryant-type role if needed. To remain the backup for Mebane, he will have to outperform the rookies.
Jaye Howard (94)
Jaye Howard was a fourth-round selection last year and saw a bit of playing time late in the year. With two new draft picks fighting for time, he will have to have improved big time over the past season to remain on the active roster.
Michael Brooks (70)
Michael Brooks is a graduate of East Carolina University and an undrafted free-agent signing after the Detroit Lions let him go. He's had a history of injuries, so he will most likely be competing for a practice squad spot.
K.J. Wright (50)
K.J. Wright stepped up after the Aaron Curry trade to solidify a starting role on the team in 2011. He spent 2012 as a full-time starter and is versatile enough to drop back in coverage as well as disrupt the front. He will no doubt remain a starter again.
Bruce Irvin (51)
The Seahawks have decided to move Bruce Irvin to outside linebacker with the intention of creating more of a hybrid front seven, where he can play both defensive end and OLB. Last year's first-round pick showcased his ability to get to the quarterback last year, and he may see starting playing time should be make the transition seamlessly. He will serve his four-game suspension is projected to make his first appearance against the Colts.
Malcolm Smith (53)
Malcolm Smith emerged late in 2012 as a starter, and showed a lot of talent. That second outside linebacker spot is wide open after the departure of Leroy Hill, and if the USC graduate plays like he did late in the year, he may have the inside track for the starting job.
Heath Farwell (55)
The elder statesman of the linebacker group, the 31-year old Farwell is entering his third season as a backup linebacker for Seattle. He is a solid change of pace, but with more than one player making a transition to linebacker, he will have to work to keep his roster spot.
Michael Morgan (57)
Michael Morgan is one of several linebackers from USC looking to make his mark at training camp. He played in every game last year, and in one start in place of Wright, he performed well. He will be battling with Farwell for a backup spot, and his youth may prove to be an advantage there.
Allen Bradford (52)
Allen Bradford was an offensive playmaker at USC who was drafted as a running back. The Seahawks picked him up from Tampa Bay and are converting him to linebacker. He spent last year on the practice squad making the transition, and as a result he will be interesting to watch.
Ty Powell (58)
Ty Powell is a graduate of Harding University and a seventh-round draft pick. With the depth at outside linebacker, it will be tough for him to make the team, so a practice squad position looks more realistic.
Kyle Knox (43)
Kyle Knox is an undrafted free agent from 2012 who spent last season on the practice squad. He will struggle to even hold on to that spot with how much depth there is at the end of the outside linebacker group.
Bobby Wagner (54)
Last year's second-round draft pick, Bobby Wagner has quickly made his presence known on the team. He led the team in tackles with 140, and by the time the 2013 is over, he may be discussed with other elite inside linebackers.
Korey Toomer (59)
Korey Toomer was a fifth-round draft pick last year who spent the season on the practice squad recovering from a shoulder injury. Now that he's back to 100 percent strength, I could see him making the team much more easily this year.
John Lotulelei (46)
John Lotulelei is an undrafted free agent whose linebacker spot may not necessarily be clear. He could be placed at outside linebacker, but with his playing style and the depth at OLB, I could see a transition to inside linebacker for him especially in the 3-4 roles, which would actually give him a shot to make the roster.
Craig Wilkins (45)
An undrafted free agent and a graduate of Old Dominion University, Craig Wilkins is a long shot to make the team. A lot of it will depend not just on his playing ability, but how many outside and inside linebackers the team wants to keep.
Richard Sherman (25)
Richard Sherman has emerged from a fifth-round pick in 2011 to an elite cornerback in the National Football League. He has the top cornerback spot locked up, and the only question for 2013 is how much better he will get.
Brandon Browner (39)
In two NFL seasons after moving over from the CFL, Brandon Browner has been a big-time playmaker for the Seattle Seahawks. He's had nine interceptions in two seasons, yet that's still second to Richard Sherman. A one-two punch of these two in 2013, so long as they stay healthy, will make teams think twice about throwing the ball.
Antoine Winfield (21)
The free-agent signing of Winfield was perhaps surprising given his age, but the 36-year old can still play. He's not going to be a starter, but a player with his ability will make a great nickel cornerback or occasional starter should there be an injury.
Jeremy Lane (20)
Last year's sixth-round draft pick saw quite a bit of time, playing throughout the year and starting three games. He did not showcase much stat-wise, but showed enough to earn him solid playing time next year as well.
Walter Thurmond (28)
Walter Thurmond has been part of the Seahawks for three years, and he has been solid when healthy. The problem is, despite seeing some starting time all three years, he only played eight games the past two seasons and did not have much to show for it. When healthy he is a good option for depth, but can he stay on the field?
He could be in the running for the nickel cornerback spot, but it does not seem likely to me that he will beat out Antoine Winfield.
Tharold Simon (34)
Tharold Simon was a fifth-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks this year. He had a foot injury which caused him to miss OTAs, but he should be ready for training camp. Until the Seahawks know what he can do, it's too early to pencil him in to the depth chart, though he should be able to make the team.
Byron Maxwell (41)
Byron Maxwell has played in 18 games for the Seahawks the past two seasons, so the former sixth-round pick knows what is expected out of a cornerback. Whether or not he makes the team will depend both on his ability and how well Simon and Will Blackmon perform.
Will Blackmon (37)
Once a capable backup, Will Blackmon spent 2012 in the Arena Football League and is now looking to have one more run with an NFL squad. The Seahawks know he's a good special teams player, but he will have to show skill at cornerback to make the team. The practice squad will not be an option for Blackmon; it's all or nothing.
Ron Parker (36)
Ron Parker has seen playing time on and off the past two seasons, transitioning between active duty and the practice squad. With the added depth at cornerback, it will be tough for him to hold on to his spot unless be breaks out.
DeShawn Shead (35)
DeShawn Shead was an undrafted free agent who spent 2012 on the practice squad. He still has a shot at making the team, but he will have to shoot much higher, since there are plenty of cornerbacks on the roster already who will not make the team.
Earl Thomas (29)
Earl Thomas has been the starting free safety for three seasons now, and has been an All-Pro twice. He's a playmaker who the Seahawks can count on and his presence helps make the Seahawks secondary downright scary.
Kam Chancellor (31)
Kam Chancellor was originally a fifth-round pick in 2010, and with two starting seasons alongside Earl Thomas, he has become a great strong safety. He started every game last year, and while he did not record an interception, he has nonetheless remained effective.
Chris Maragos (42)
Chris Maragos was the backup for Earl Thomas all 16 games last year and is under contract through this season. As he and Earl Thomas are the only free safeties on the roster, his position as backup is secure.
Jeron Johnson (32)
Jeron Johnson played in all 16 games as the backup strong safety last year for the Seahawks. He showed some blitzing talent that year, recording two sacks. He should be able to hold off Guy and Polk to keep the backup job.
Winston Guy (27)
A sixth-round pick last year, Winston Guy played in two games for the Seahawks last year. He has shown some promise this past offseason, so he could certainly challenge Johnson for the backup strong safety job.
Ray Polk (38)
The only rookie in the safety group, Ray Polk is a graduate of Colorado and an undrafted free agent looking to make his mark on the team. He will have to show up big time, however, as there are three strong safeties fighting for likely just one spot on the roster.
Steven Hauschka (4)
The Seahawks' starting kicker made 24-of-27 field goals last year, but missed two extra points. He will have competition in training camp, but his spot is likely secure so long as he continues to make over 85 percent of his field goals.
Carson Wiggs (5)
Carson Wiggs was picked up by the Seahawks last year. He competed against Hauschka in training camp, then spent the season on the practice squad. Unless he's lights out in training camp, that will be the case again.
Jon Ryan (9)
The veteran punter averaged over 45 yards a punt last season, and so long as his punting average doesn't drop like it did in 2010, he has nothing to worry about this season.
Clint Gresham (49)
Clint Gresham has been the Seahawks' long snapper for the last three seasons. While the Seahawks picked up another long snapper to compete against him, his spot appears secure.
Kyle Nelson (47)
Kyle Nelson is the most recent addition to the team, having been picked up in early-mid July. He has been on multiple practice squads the past couple seasons, and needs to break that cycle if he wants to stick around.