Seattle Seahawks Roster: Josh Wilson Is Gone; Who's Next?

Chris CluffCorrespondent IISeptember 1, 2010

Seattle Seahawks Roster: Josh Wilson Is Gone; Who's Next?

0 of 11

    Josh WilsonOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The stunning trade of cornerback Josh Wilson clears up at least one roster quandary the Seahawks were going to face Saturday, when they need to cut 21 players to get down to the league-mandated roster size of 53.

    The team’s deepest positions in this camp have been defensive line and cornerback, and they also will have tough decisions to make at wide receiver, running back and linebacker.

    Trading Wilson to Baltimore means Kelly Jennings—the guy we thought might be on the trade block—will be the starter and Roy Lewis will make the team.

    Jennings was one of several guys we thought were living on the bubble. But with Wilson gone, he’s firmly inside the bubble.

    Then there is Leroy Hill, another guy who might have been on the edge. After taking a $4 million pay cut, it looks like he is safe. He is suspended for the first game of the season and is still recovering from a sprained knee, but when he is ready to return, it appears he will have a roster spot.

    Still, the Seahawks are going to have to decide what to do in the interim, and that could mean both Tyjuan Hagler and Matt McCoy will make the opening-day roster.

    Here’s a breakdown of the roster heading into the final preseason game Thursday and the final cuts Saturday (using the NFL’s injury report designations):

Quarterbacks

1 of 11

    Matt HasselbeckOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep three

    Definite: Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst.

    Probable: J.P. Losman.

    Report: The pecking order is quite clear here. Whitehurst has had an inconsistent preseason and has not mounted any kind of challenge to the veteran Hasselbeck. Losman has not gotten much game action, although that figures to change Thursday. There’s always the chance that the Hawks might ditch Losman for a younger quarterback (Matt Leinart?).

    We’d keep three: Hasselbeck, Whitehurst, and Losman.

Running Backs

2 of 11

    Julius JonesOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep five

    Definite: Justin Forsett, Leon Washington.

    Probable: Quinton Ganther.

    Questionable: Julius Jones, Owen Schmitt.

    Out: Louis Rankin.

    Report: Forsett and Washington are locks, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Jones traded or cut. Denver and St. Louis are both in need of running backs and might be willing to dish up a fifth- or sixth-round pick for him.

    Jones is basically a less talented version of Forsett, who is tougher and has more wiggle, and Washington, who has more speed, so it’s hard to see why the Hawks would keep Jones. Ganther has more versatility (tailback, fullback, and special teams), and Schmitt provides a true fullback and some special-teams ability. The Hawks could go with just four backs, and the fourth could come from somewhere else.

    We’d keep four: Forsett, Washington, Ganther, and Schmitt.

Wide Receivers

3 of 11

    Mike WilliamsOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep five

    Definite: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Mike Williams, Golden Tate, Deon Butler.

    Questionable: Ben Obomanu.

    Doubtful: Ruvell Martin, Brandon Jones.

    Report: Williams is the big story here. He has been running with the first offense in three-receiver sets for the last two games and has turned into a great redemption story so far.

    The top five bring varied talents—from the experience and dependability of Housh to the size and big-play ability of Williams to the speed and hands of young Tate and Butler.

    Obomanu is a solid veteran who has played well when given the chance and would seem to have the edge if the Seahawks keep six guys. But they won’t. It would be great to see that Branch to New England trade finally materialize, but we’re not holding our breath.

    We’d keep five: Houshmandzadeh, Williams, Tate, Butler, and Obomanu.

Tight Ends

4 of 11

    John CarlsonAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Usually keep three

    Definite: John Carlson, Chris Baker.

    Questionable: Cameron Morrah, Anthony McCoy.

    Out: Nick Tow-Arnett.

    Report: You wouldn’t know it by watching this preseason, but Carlson and Baker comprise one of the top tight end combos in the league.

    The real question here is which young tight end will be the No. 3 guy. McCoy’s ankle injury might make him the odd man out, and then the question becomes whether the Hawks can sneak him onto the practice squad.

    We’d keep three: Carlson, Baker, and Morrah.

Offensive Linemen

5 of 11

    Russell OkungOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep nine

    Definite: Russell Okung, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Sean Locklear, Chester Pitts, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto, Mike Gibson, Ben Hamilton.

    Probable: Tyler Polumbus.

    Questionable: Steve Vallos.

    Doubtful: Joe Toledo, Jacob Phillips, Mitch Erickson, Jeff Byers.

    Report: With injuries to Okung and Willis, and with Pitts coming back slowly from knee surgery, the Hawks traded for Polumbus, who started eight games at right tackle for Denver last season. Polumbus is expected to provide some depth at both tackle spots until Pitts and Okung are both able to play. The injuries among this unit mean the Hawks will have to keep one more than normal—unless they decide to put Willis on IR.

    We’d keep 10: Okung, Spencer, Unger, Locklear, Pitts, Willis, Wrotto, Gibson, Hamilton, and Polumbus.

Defensive Tackles

6 of 11

    Craig TerrillOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep nine or 10 linemen total

    Definite: Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Kevin Vickerson.

    Probable: Craig Terrill.

    Questionable: Quinn Pitcock.

    Out: Amon Gordon.

    Report: Some think Terrill is on the bubble, but he has played well this preseason and is an underrated lineman. Pitcock was one of the feel-good stories of camp, but the numbers might work against him—unless the Seahawks figure Vickerson will get banged up at some point and they will need extended depth.

    We’d keep five: Mebane, Cole, Vickerson, Terrill, and Pitcock.

Defensive Ends

7 of 11

    Dexter DavisOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep nine or 10 linemen total

    Definite: Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Nick Reed, E.J. Wilson.

    Probable: Dexter Davis.

    Questionable: Kentwan Balmer.

    Out: Rob Rose.

    Report: Wilson makes it because he was a fourth-round pick. Davis will stick because (a) he is Clemons’ backup with Reed injured and (b) he is flexible enough to play outside linebacker.

    Davis could be cut and signed to the practice squad once Reed and Hill are healthy. The Hawks didn’t get to see much of Balmer, who got injured in the first game he played, but odds are they want to see whether he can rotate with Bryant and Wilson at the five-technique.

    We’d keep six: Bryant, Clemons, Reed, Wilson, Davis and Balmer.

Linebackers

8 of 11

    Leroy HillOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep six or seven

    Definite: Lofa Tatupu, David Hawthorne, Aaron Curry, Will Herring.

    Probable: Leroy Hill.

    Questionable: Tyjuan Hagler, Matt McCoy.

    Out: Joe Pawelek.

    Report: With Hill suspended for the first game, the Hawks can keep both Hagler and McCoy for Week 1. Hill might be out longer than that with his sprained knee or if the NFL extends his suspension. It would be surprising if the Hawks cut Hill, especially now that he has taken a major pay cut.

    Hagler, a quick-strike hitter, seems to have a knack for being around the ball and has made the most of his chances. He should stick.

    This is a banged-up bunch that has been prone to injuries and surely won’t stay healthy, so the Hawks probably need to keep seven (Hill won’t count in Week 1). In Week 2, McCoy would seem to be the guy who could be let go, if Davis stays on the roster.

    We’d keep six: Tatupu, Hawthorne, Curry, Herring, Hagler, McCoy, and Hill (reserve-suspended).

Cornerbacks

9 of 11

    Kelly JenningsNick Laham/Getty Images

    Usually keep four

    Definite: Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Walter Thurmond, Roy Lewis.

    Doubtful: Cord Parks, Kennard Cox.

    Out: Josh Pinkard, Marcus Brown.

    Report: Losing Wilson certainly weakens this unit, but the Hawks are stoked about Thurmond, a fourth-round pick who has come back from a 2009 knee injury faster than anyone thought he would.

    Jennings will open the season as the starter opposite Trufant, although Thurmond should push him as the season progresses. Lewis provides nice depth. Parks and Cox have played well on special teams, but neither has shown much as a corner.

    We’d keep four: Trufant, Jennings, Thurmond, and Lewis.  

Safeties

10 of 11

    Jordan BabineauxOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Usually keep four

    Definite: Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy.

    Probable: Jordan Babineaux, Kam Chancellor.

    Doubtful: Jamar Adams, Keith Ellison.

    Report: Babineaux lost a starting job, but he shouldn’t lose a roster spot. He’s too versatile—able to play the nickel and dime and also good on special teams. Chancellor figures to stick, although the Hawks could try to slide the fifth-rounder through to the practice squad if they find themselves in a numbers crunch.

    It’s surprising that Ellison has not been given more of a chance to this point, considering his USC roots and his experience as a starter for San Diego last season.

    We’d keep four: Thomas, Milloy, Babineaux, and Chancellor.

Specialists

11 of 11

    Olindo MareJonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Except 2008, have usually kept three

    Definite: Olindo Mare, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham.

    Report: This isn’t Tim Ruskell’s 2008 team, so just one kicker. And hopefully Gresham holds up as the long snapper after the Hawks went through about 50 of ’em over the last few years.

    We’d keep three: Mare, Ryan, Gresham.