Final Seahawks Countdown to 53 Man Roster

The Seahawks’ final exhibition game is a day away, and given all the transactions Tuesday, it’s worth stopping to consider where things stand on the roster:

Quarterbacks Average kept 2002-’09: 2.875
Locks: Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst
Looks safe: J.P. Losman
Assessment: Losman did not play in Seattle’s past two exhibition games, but with Hasselbeck’s injury history and the fact Whitehurst hasn’t attempted a pass in a regular-season game, it’s hard to imagine Seattle not keeping three quarterbacks on the roster.
Running backs Average kept 2002-’09: 5.125
Locks: Justin Forsett, Leon Washington
Looks safe: Julius Jones, Quinton Ganther
On the bubble: Owen Schmitt
Uphill climb: Louis Rankin
Assessment: Seattle started three different running backs in its first three exhibition games. None were ovewhelmingly effective in the first quarter. Jones has been the least impressive of those three and he’s scheduled to make the most money. If one of those three is going to be cut, it’s likely him.
Tight ends Average kept 2002-’09: 3
Locks: John Carlson, Chris Baker
On the bubble: Cameron Morrah, Anthony McCoy
Uphill climb: Nick Tow-Arnett
Assessment: One of the more straightforward position groups. The only question is whether Seattle would keep four tight ends. Given needs elsewhere, that seems unlikely.
Wide receivers Average kept 2002-’09: 5.5
Locks: Golden Tate, Deion Branch, Mike Williams
Looks safe: Deon Butler, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
On the bubble: Ben Obomanu, Ruvell Martin, Brandon Jones
Assessment: Houshmandzadeh’s $7 million salary this season is guaranteed, he led the team in receptions last season with 79 and he has caught 373 passes over the past four seasons. The question is whether he fits this offense, and if the coaches decide he’s not a great fit, does he still wind up on the team?
Offensive line Average kept 2002-’09: 8.875
Locks: Russell Okung, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Chester Pitts
Looks safe: Sean Locklear, Ray Willis, Ben Hamilton, Tyler Polumbus, Mike Gibson
On the bubble: Mansfield Wrotto, Joe Toledo, Steve Vallos, Jeff Byers
Uphill climb: Jacob Phillips, Mitch Erickson
Assessment: Wrotto started last week at left tackle, and the Seahawks game-planned to help him against the Vikings starters. He has played better than anyone had a right to expect given that he played guard his first two seasons on the team, but the fact Seattle traded for Polumbus this week shows the Seahawks are looking for an upgrade so Wrotto is still playing for a spot.
Defensive ends Average kept 2002-’09: 4.75
Locks: Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, E.J. Wilson
Looks safe: Nick Reed, Kentwan Balmer
Uphill climb: Rob Rose, James Wyche
Assessment: One of the easiest position breakdowns for this roster.
Defensive tackles Average kept 2002-’09: 4.75
Locks: Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Kevin Vickerson
On the bubble: Quinn Pitcock, Craig Terrill
Uphill climb: Amon Gordon
Assessment: Pitcock has gotten good push, and he’s an intriguing player as a former third-round pick who didn’t play the past two seasons. Terrill is a proven professional, a hard worker and leader in the locker room.
Linebackers Average kept 2002-’09: 6.875
Locks: Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne, Will Herring
Looks safe: Dexter Davis, Leroy Hill
On the bubble: Matt McCoy, Tyjuan Hagler
Uphill climb: Joe Pawalek
Assessment: Hill’s new contract answered the biggest uncertainty at this position as the contract shows Seattle is not going to cut him. Could a trade be possible?
Cornerbacks Average kept 2002-’09: 4.125
Locks: Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond, Kelly Jennings
Looks safe: Roy Lewis
On the bubble: Cord Parks
Uphill climb: Marcus Brown, Kennard Cox,
Assessment: The trade of Wilson to Baltimore was a surprise, but it showed the Seahawks’ desire to get Thurmond on the field as a nickel cornerback and reflected the fact Seattle is comfortable with Jennings as a starter in a defense that will demand more bump-and-run coverage.
Safeties Average kept 2002-’09: 4
Locks: Lawyer Milloy, Earl Thomas
On the bubble: Kam Chancellor, Jamar Adams, Jordan Babineaux
Uphill climb: Kevin Ellison
Assessment: This is perhaps the toughest position group to figure out. Babineaux is someone with both experience as a starter and the versatility to play either strong or free safety. But he’s also scheduled to make $2.6 million, which is a lot for someone projected as a backup. Adams has played on the second-team defense throughout training camp, and the Seahawks see a lot of potential in him while Chancellor is a fifth-round pick. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a lock to make the team, but it’s hard to envision him being cut. This will be one of Seattle’s toughest decisions.