In what could be termed a minor surprise, the Seahawks did not use one of their nine draft choices on a quarterback, nor did they sign one after the draft’s conclusion. It would be a major surprise if the ‘Hawks didn’t add a passer before training camp, though the caliber of that quarterback doesn’t figure to threaten Mike Teel’s status as the third quarterback.
The acquisitions of Washington and White have weakened Jones and Forsett’s standing as the team’s top two running backs, and if Washington were 100% healthy, Jones likely would already have been jettisoned from the roster. He still may be, as Forsett proved to be an adequate option when Jones missed a pair of games with an injury last season.
With the current coaching staff/front office having nothing personally invested in Jones or Forsett, and minimal investments in White, Washington, Ganther, and Rankin, none of these backs are assured of a roster spot at this point.
Locks: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deon Butler, Golden Tate
Bubble: Deion Branch, Ben Obomanu, Ruvell Martin, Sean Morey, Reggie Williams, Mike Williams
Long-shots: Mike Hass, Patrick Carter, Michael Jones, Jameson Konz, Quintin Hancock
Houshmandzadeh may have been a disappointment last season, but he can still be a productive wide receiver and his $7 million dollar base salary means his roster spot is secure. Butler and Tate have the most play-making potential of Seattle’s receivers, and will benefit from not only being around a professional like Houshmandzadeh, but by the off-season presence of Mike and Reggie Williams, who can serve as reminders to the youngsters that draft status does not guarantee success.
The selection of Tate may push Branch and his $5.47 million dollar salary off the roster, especially if Obomanu, Martin, or either of the Williamses show flashes of being able to contribute offensively in 2010. With Seattle capable of carrying up to 89 players on its off-season roster, if Branch isn’t part of the team’s plans, there’s no urgency to part with him. The Seahawks could wait until closer to training camp with the hopes of trading him for a future conditional draft choice.
Morey’s signing was strictly aimed at improving the special teams, and he’ll be vying with Obomanu, Martin, and Hass for that role.
Carter, Jones, Konz, and Hancock face uphill struggles for roster spots, and all four have practice squad eligibility remaining. Former Illinois wide receiver Chris Duvalt will participate in the upcoming mini-camp on a tryout basis.
Carlson and Baker have strangleholds on the top two spots, and the real camp competition will be between Morrah and McCoy, the team’s sixth-round pick (185th overall) out of USC.
Morrah only logged five offensive snaps in 2009, and was not active for any game after Week 3. It’s hard to argue that for a player who was, as Mike Holmgren might say, “green as grass” coming out of Cal, that just being in an NFL building for a season gives him much of an advantage over McCoy, who is bigger, stronger, and while not nearly as athletic as Morrah, is a better blocker.
Locks: Russell Okung, Ben Hamilton, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Sean Locklear, Ray Willis
Bubble: Steve Vallos, Mike Gibson, Mansfield Wrotto, Mitch Erickson, Jeff Byers, Adrian Martinez
Long-shots: Kyle Burkhart, Jacob Phillips
Walter Jones is expected to announce his retirement this week, which is why he’s not included in the list above.
Okung, Hamilton, Spencer, Unger, and Locklear are the current starting five, and Willis, who worked at left tackle in the team’s first mini-camp, can be considered a lock as he’s slated to be the team’s “swing tackle”, capable of filling in at both spots in case of injury.
(Depth at tackle? What a radical concept!)
Vallos, Gibson, Wrotto, Erickson, Byers and Martinez are guard/centers-types who will compete for what will likely be two reserve spots on the roster. Brains, brawn, and versatility will be the determining factors inside. (Martinez did 37 reps on the bench press at his pro day.)
Burkhart (6-4, 295) may be moved inside at the next level, and is coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum. Phillips (6-6, 300) comes from Belhaven, an NAIA school in Mississippi. Both appear unlikely to crack the 53-man roster, are more likely developmental prospects for Alex Gibbs’ coaching staff to work with.