Final Seahawks 53-Man Roster Projection: Who's In? Who's Out? – Sports Illustrated

After failing to close out the preseason with a victory in Dallas on Friday, the Seahawks will now shift into regular season mode gearing up for a much-anticipated reunion with quarterback Russell Wilson and the Broncos on Monday Night Football.
Like the rest of the NFL, Seattle will have to trim its 80-man roster down to 53 players by Tuesday at 1 PM PST, meaning 27 players will have to be jettisoned through cuts, trades, injured reserve designations, and other mechanisms. The front office will also be scanning the waiver wire for players cut by other teams to improve the roster. Players who clear waivers over the next 24 hours will be eligible to return on the 16-player practice squad.
Coming out of their preseason finale, which players will make the Seahawks preliminary 53-man roster that will undoubtedly undergo a bunch of changes afterward? Here's my final educated projection:
Quarterback (2): Geno Smith, Drew Lock
After uncorking three interceptions against the Cowboys, albeit with one of them not being his fault, Lock sealed his fate as Smith's backup for Week 1. His cannon arm and ability to create with his legs when plays break down open the door for him to play at some point later this season, but Smith's superior decision making, reliability, and command of Shane Waldron's offense made Carroll's decision an easy one in a competition that never truly came to fruition.
Running Back (4): Rashaad Penny, Ken Walker III, DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer
After Penny reported for camp in fantastic shape and ripping off several long runs on the practice field, Seattle wisely kept him in bubble wrap during the preseason and he should be the team's bell cow. Behind him, Walker III may or may not be ready for Week 1 due to a hernia procedure, but even if the dynamic rookie can't suit up right away, the team should be in good hands with the much-improved duo of Dallas and Homer serving as capable do-it-all backs.
© Tim Heitman, USA TODAY
Receiver (6): DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge, Marquise Goodwin, Dareke Young, Penny Hart
Plagued by drops and injuries, this preseason proved to be a major disappointment for the Seahawks at receiver. Still, Smith will have one of the best wideout duos in the league with Metcalf and Lockett back full throttle for Week 1 and Eskridge looked spry in limited action in the exhibition finale. As for the rest of the depth chart, Goodwin's speed and experience should be enough to warrant a roster spot despite being sidelined for the past couple weeks, Young put together an excellent first training camp to notch a roster spot, and Hart provided far more punch on offense than Freddie Swain, who receives a pink slip after a dreadful preseason.
Tight End (3): Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson
Though production wasn't necessarily there in the preseason, the trio of Fant, Dissly, and Parkinson consistently made plays in the passing game during training camp and the Seahawks remain bullish on the potential of this group. With all three players offering different skill sets and strengths, Waldron will have plenty of flexibility deploying each of them in a 12-personnel heavy scheme with a quarterback in Smith who should target them frequently.
Offensive Line (9): Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas, Gabe Jackson, Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Jake Curhan, Stone Forsythe, Phil Haynes, Kyle Fuller
Cross and Lucas couldn't have been much better in their first preseason, yielding no sacks and six pressures on over 160 combined pass blocking reps to earn immediate starting jobs. Jackson and Lewis return for a second season working together as starting guards with capable reserves in Haynes and Curhan ready to step in when needed. Blythe has brought stability to Seattle's center position due to his familiarity with Waldron and offensive line coach Andy Dickerson, while Fuller hangs on to the backup job without any competition to push him.
Defensive Line (6): Poona Ford, Al Woods, Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson, Bryan Mone, Myles Adams
Going into Friday's finale, Ford, Woods, Harris, Jefferson, and Mone already had roster spots locked up. Those five seemed safe before camp even opened at arguably the most experienced position group on the team. While the Seahawks hoped L.J. Collier would rebound from a dismal third season, an elbow injury kept him out of all three preseason games and Adams capitalized on his absence, racking up a trio of sacks in three outstanding exhibition efforts to earn the final roster spot at defensive tackle over the former first-round pick.
Outside Linebacker (5): Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu, Boye Mafe, Alton Robinson, Tyreke Smith
Atop the depth chart, Taylor and Nwosu turned in excellent training camps and look to be perfect fits for the Seahawks' 3-4 defense as hybrid outside edge defenders. As for the reserves, this group could be subject to change due to injury situations, as Mafe missed the preseason finale with a shoulder strain, Robinson banged up his knee against the Cowboys, and Smith missed most of training camp dealing with hip/groin injuries. If one of those players starts the season on injured reserve, undrafted rookies Joshua Onujiogu or Vi Jones could sneak onto the team or a veteran could be plucked off the waiver wire.
Inside Linebacker (4): Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Nick Bellore, Tanner Muse
PUP List: Jon Rhattigan
Though he missed a big chunk of camp and didn't play a snap in the preseason due to a hamstring injury, Brooks seems poised for a breakout third year after racking up a franchise record 184 tackles in 2021. But away from his steadying presence, questions persist for the Seahawks. Barton had a good, yet unspectacular preseason and the fourth-year defender has a great deal of pressure on him stepping into the starting lineup replacing Bobby Wagner. If either one of them goes down, paper-thin depth has been magnified in exhibition season with a young group of linebackers struggling to finish tackles and make plays in coverage. Bellore remains the heartbeat of Seattle's special teams coverage units, while Muse has flashed just enough to sneak onto the roster for Week 1, but both players could be replaced by waiver wire additions.
Cornerback (6): Sidney Jones, Tariq Woolen, Artie Burns, Coby Bryant, Mike Jackson, Justin Coleman
PUP List: Tre Brown
Viewed as a potential area of weakness rolling into camp, Seattle's cornerback group proved to be the exact opposite over the past month with an intriguing cast of young, high-upside players emerging. Jones missed the bulk of camp with a concussion, but played well before the injury and should start on the left side, while Woolen earned a day one starting nod with a phenomenal camp and preseason. Bryant may also see immediate playing time in the slot, though Coleman probably will see those snaps out of the gate. Burns and Jackson each had excellent camps as well and the pair of long, athletic corners may be in the mix to play on defense as well as special teams.
Safety (5): Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Josh Jones, Ryan Neal, Marquise Blair
Diggs and Adams didn't play any snaps in the preseason, but that wasn't a surprise with both players coming off injuries and already cemented as starters for the Seahawks. No player may have bolstered his stock more over the past month than Jones, who has seen quite a bit of action alongside Diggs and Adams as a third safety and should play quite a bit in the regular season due to his ability to play either safety position at a high level. Once he makes it back from an ankle sprain, Neal should be safe due to his special teams ability and versatility. If there's a question mark here, Blair's struggles as a tackler in the preseason have put his spot in jeopardy, but a decent performance in Dallas likely will keep him on the right side of the bubble.
Specialist (3): Jason Myers, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
Myers missed a field goal in Seattle's second preseason game, but otherwise, he performed well this month and will roll into the regular season riding a wave of confidence. There wasn't any drama at punter or long snapper either as Dickson and Ott will return for their fifth season working together.

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