Following a long, tempestuous offseason headlined by the departures of quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner and a coaching staff shakeup, the Seahawks will usher in a new era with training camp opening at the VMAC on July 27.
It's been a decade since Seattle last started a season without Wilson or Wagner on the roster, but despite the loss of the two future Hall of Famers, coach Pete Carroll remains optimistic the team will be competitive in the challenging NFC West. While the franchise endured quite the makeover this spring, plenty of talent remains on both sides of the ball, including former All-Pro receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as well as safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs.
With camp set to open this week, which players will be on the Seahawks roster when they face Wilson and the Broncos on September 12? Here's a pre-training camp prognostication on which players will earn a spot on the initial 53-man roster:
Quarterbacks (2): Geno Smith, Drew Lock
Analysis: After performing admirably in three starts last season, Smith will get the first crack at being Russell Wilson's successor due to his experience in offensive coordinator Shane Waldron's system, while Lock hopes to crash the party and play to his potential after a rough tenure in Denver.
Running Backs (5): Rashaad Penny, Ken Walker III, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Nick Bellore
Analysis: Chris Carson could still be cleared to play, but signs point to the veteran not being able to suit up again after neck surgery. Even without him, the Seahawks have a talented quartet of backs headlined by Penny and Walker III, who each possess explosive home run-hitting speed and playmaking ability. The third down back competition between Homer and Dallas should be a fun one as well.
Receivers (6): DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge, Freddie Swain, Bo Melton, Cody Thompson
Analysis: Assuming Metcalf receives a much-deserved extension, he and Lockett will remain one of the NFL's best receiving duos regardless of who winds up under center this fall. Behind them, Eskridge and Swain will compete for the No. 3 spot, while Thompson gets over the hump and finally makes the roster out of camp after an impressive spring.
Tight Ends (3): Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson
Analysis: As long as injuries don't strike, Seattle should have one of the better tight end groups in the NFC with Fant, Dissly, and Parkinson all offering different strengths and skill sets that should play well in Waldron's scheme. Look for extensive 12 personnel groupings with two tight ends on the field often.
Offensive Line (9): Charles Cross, T; Abraham Lucas, T; Gabe Jackson, G; Damien Lewis, G; Austin Blythe, C; Jake Curhan, T; Stone Forsythe, T; Phil Haynes, G; Kyle Fuller, C/G.
Analysis: Set to make history, Seattle will become the third team since 1970 to start a pair of rookie tackles in Week 1 with Cross and Lucas inserted into the lineup on day one. Blythe's prior experience playing for Waldron and line coach Andy Dickerson should benefit the entire group up front, especially with the rookie tackles finding their way on the fly, while Jackson and Lewis provide much-needed continuity in the interior starting at the guard spots for a second straight year.
Safety (5): Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, Marquise Blair, Ryan Neal, Ugo Amadi
Analysis: With Diggs, Adams, and Blair all expected to be back healthy after suffering significant injuries last season, Seattle may have the best safety group in the NFL and will find ways to get all three players on the field together. Neal and Amadi give the team incredible depth as viable spot starters at multiple positions and core special teams performers.
Cornerback (6): Sidney Jones, Coby Bryant, Artie Burns, Tre Brown, Tariq Woolen, Justin Coleman
Analysis: Aiming to build off a strong finish to 2021, Jones will resume his role as a starter on the left side with Bryant leapfrogging Burns and Brown to win the other starting job as a rookie. Coleman will take the bulk of snaps in the slot, while Woolen primarily will play special teams with hopes he can develop into a potential starter down the road.
Linebacker (8): Jordyn Brooks, MLB; Cody Barton, MLB; Darrell Taylor, OLB; Uchenna Nwosu, OLB; Boye Mafe, OLB; Joel Iyiegbuniwe, MLB; Alton Robinson, OLB; Tyreke Smith, OLB
Analysis: Taking the torch from Bobby Wagner, Brooks will take on a much larger leadership role in his third season, especially with a new running mate in Barton playing extensive defensive snaps for the first time. With one backup spot up for grabs, Iyiegbuniwe beats out Ben Burr-Kirven while Jon Rhattigan begins the season on the PUP list. Off the edge, Taylor looks primed for a breakout third season and the duo of Nwosu and Mafe should give the Seahawks an electric young trio to build around in the pass rushing department.
Defensive Line (6): Poona Ford, DT; Al Woods, NT; Shelby Harris, DT; Quinton Jefferson, DT; Bryan Mone, NT; Myles Adams, DT
Analysis: Keeping the band together and adding a few new members to the fold, Seattle will once again roll out Woods as the starting nose tackle with Ford and Shelby Harris starting at the 3-tech defensive end spots in a 3-4 scheme. Behind them, Mone returns as Woods' apprentice at nose, while versatile Quinton Jefferson returns for a second tour of duty in Seattle and Adams outlasts L.J. Collier to make the final roster.
Kicker: Jason Myers
Punter: Michael Dickson
Long Snapper: Tyler Ott
Analysis: Continuity reigns on special teams with the Seahawks set to run it back with the successful trio of Dickson, Myers, and Ott. No surprises here.