Seattle Seahawks Roster Battles: In The Trenches


This is part 2 of my look at the roster battles that we’ll be watching once training camp rolls around in a couple weeks. Yesterday, we looked at the offensive skill positions. Today, the “big uglies” are under the spotlight, as we examine the offensive and defensive lines.

January 25, 2013; Ko Olina, HI, USA; NFC tackle Russell Okung of the Seattle Seahawks (76) lines up at the line of scrimmage during practice at NFC media day for the 2013 Pro Bowl at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line (10)

Locks: Russell Okung, Max Unger, James Carpenter, JR Sweezy, John Moffitt

On The Bubble: Paul McQuistan, Breno Giacomini, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Rishaw Johnson, Ryan Seymore, Jared Smith, Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey, Mike Person

Longer Odds: Jake Bscherer

I’m sure I’ll get some grief for putting Giacomini on the bubble, but the team could use the cap space that cutting him would create. If one of the other tackles, especially Bowie, were to show they’re ready for playing time, Giacomini would be cut. It’s unlikely, but it is a possibility.

Paul McQuistan is another one that most people wouldn’t expect to be on the bubble. The problem is that he’s making substantially more than a backup guard should make, and given the team’s cap situation, he’s unlikely to make the final 53 man roster. His only hope may be an injury to one of Moffitt, Carpenter or Sweezy.

Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant (79) is introduced before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line (10 +1)

Locks: Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Bruce Irvin, Jesse Williams, Jordan Hill

On The Bubble: Tony McDaniel, Jaye Howard, Kenneth Boatright

Longer Odds: Michael Brooks, Benson Mayowa, Clinton McDonald

This unit could have 9 or 10 roster spots. Last season, the team kept 9 for most of the year. This year, I believe they’ll carry 10 defensive linemen, simply because Avril and Irvin will be seeing playing time at strong-side LB as well as at defensive end. Because of this, I expect the Seahawks to carry an extra pass rushing DE, and one less LB than they did a year ago.

The “+1” is Bruce Irvin, who will start the year on the suspended list, and thus will make the team but not count against the 53 man limit until after week 4. Greg Scruggs will spend the entire year on injured reserve, and thus isn’t included even though he is on the 90 man roster.

7 of the other 10 spots are already accounted for, leaving 3 additional spots left to be claimed. A lot of who makes it likely depends on whether or not Chris Clemons is ready for significant playing time in week 1. If he’s not, then Boatright will make the team because he’s the only pass rusher who could fill in.

If Clemons is 100%, or very close to it, then the team may try and get by with just him, Avril, and Bennett as pass rushing DEs until Irvin returns. This will allow them to keep an extra inside player, or a true backup for 5-technique DE Red Bryant, or possibly an extra LB.