Seattle Seahawks Training Camp: Making the Cut

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Seattle Seahawks Training Camp: Making the Cut
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

With a roster rich in veterans, predicting who will start for the Seahawks in 2009 isn’t too much of a challenge.

The competition for roster spots remains intriguing however, with plenty to play for in training camp. Here’s a positional breakdown of the battles we’ll see heading into the new season.

 

Quarterbacks

Number kept last year: Three

Guaranteed: Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace

Camp Battle: Mike Teel vs. Jeff Rowe

The Seahawks drafted Teel in the sixth round this year. This gives him an edge over Rowe, taken from Cincinnati’s practice squad last December. Teel is likely seen as a long-term project, so teething problems in his first camp may be excused.

Prediction: Teel to take 3rd spot on depth chart.

 

Running backs

Number kept last year: Four

Guaranteed: Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett

Camp Battle: Justin Forsett vs. Devin Moore vs. Tyler Roehl

The team is likely to keep three running backs this year, and Forsett is the front runner. Moore and Roehl were signed as undrafted free agents. Special team’s value is the key here—Forsett returned kicks in 2008, but Moore’s speed could lead to an interesting face off.

Prediction: Forsett on the roster, Moore to the practise squad.

 

Full backs

Number kept last year: Two

Guaranteed: Justin Griffith

Camp Battle: Owen Schmitt vs. David Kirtman

Schmitt is the heavy favorite here. Kirtman recently re-signed as camp competition, but both players are former fifth-round picks of Seattle. Kirtman left the team in 2008 before spells with New Orleans, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Prediction: Schmitt sticks, features alongside likely starter Griffith.

 

Wide receivers

Number kept last year: Eight

Guaranteed: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Deon Butler

Camp Battle: Ben Obomanu vs. Courtney Taylor vs. Logan Payne vs. Jordan Kent vs. Michael Bumpus vs. Billy McMullen vs. Mike Hass

Any of the above could make the roster, so this provides one of the most interesting positional battles. The team usually keeps seven receivers but may look for greater depth after last year’s injury crisis. There are no clear favorites, but McMullen and Hass have the most to prove.

Prediction: Obomanu, Taylor, and Kent make it. Bumpus or Payne could beat the cut if the team keeps eight receivers.

 

Tight Ends

Number kept last year: Three

Guaranteed: John Carlson, John Owens

Camp Battle: Joe Newton vs. Cameron Morrah

Newton has been with the team two seasons but is yet to make a lasting impression. Morrah, a seventh-round pick this year, has raw potential and should win out.

Prediction: Morrah joins Carlson, Owens on the roster.

 

Offensive Lineman

Number kept last year: Eight

Guaranteed: Walter Jones, Mike Wahle, Chris Spencer, Rob Sims, Sean Locklear, Ray Willis, Max Unger

Camp Battle: Steve Vallos vs. Mansfield Wrotto vs. Kyle Williams vs. Na’Shan Goddard

The team may keep an extra lineman this year as security against injuries. Wrotto is almost certain to make the roster. Vallos has valuable flexibility, having played center and guard in his career. Williams started at tackle at the end of 2008 but has been featured at guard during mini-camps.

Prediction: Wrotto for sure, Vallos if they want an extra body.

Defensive tackles

Number kept last year: Four

Guaranteed: Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Red Bryant, Craig Terrill

The Seahawks are settled on their quartet at defensive tackle. Cory Redding has been listed as a defensive end in this article, but should spell at tackle in third-down situations.

 

Defensive ends

Number kept last year: Five

Guaranteed: Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding, Lawrence Jackson, Darryl Tapp

Camp Battle: Baraka Atkins vs. Nick Reed vs. Michael Bennett vs. Brandon Miller

Atkins will enter camp as the favorite, having played with some regularity in 2008. Reed is one to keep an eye on—he’s undersized but managed a school record 29.5 sacks at Oregon. Taken in the seventh round this year, he could make the team as a special teamer. Miller and Bennett are both 2009 undrafted free agent signings.

Prediction: Atkins to make the roster, Reed also a possibility on special teams.

 

Linebackers

Number kept last year: Seven

Guaranteed: Aaron Curry, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, D.D. Lewis, Will Herring, Lance Laury, David Hawthorne 

There will be no camp battle at linebacker. The starters (Curry, Tatupu, and Hill) are obvious with Lewis, Herring, and Laury providing the backup. Hawthorne adds special teams value.

 

Cornerbacks

Number kept last year: Four

Guaranteed: Marcus Trufant, Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson

Camp Battle: Kelly Jennings vs. Kevin Hobbs

Despite Jennings’ struggles, the team is unlikely to give up on the 2006 first-round pick this early. Nevertheless, this is a crossroads in his career, and he needs to impress at camp to remain in consideration.

Prediction: Jennings survives...for now.

 

Safeties

Number kept last year: Three

Guaranteed: Deon Grant, Brian Russell, Jordan Babineaux

Camp Battle: Jamar Adams vs. Courtney Greene vs. C.J. Wallace

The team has shown confidence in Jordan Babineaux’s flexibility in the secondary. If the team chooses to keep an extra safety, this could be an interesting battle. Grant and Russell will almost certainly remain starters.

Prediction: Greene could be the choice with Adams going to the practice squad.

 

Special Teams

Number kept last year: Four

Guaranteed: John Ryan

Camp Battle: Olindo Mare vs. Brandon Coutu

Round two of the Seahawks kicking competition will take place this summer. Mare won last year and had a productive season, making 88.9% of his field goals and nailing 22 touchbacks. In any other situation, he’d be a clear favorite. But the team thought highly enough of Coutu to keep him on the roster throughout 2008. Even if Mare succeeds once more, Coutu could stick around for another year of inactivity.

Prediction: Mare starts, but Coutu again makes the roster.

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