Seahawks roster battles to watch versus Raiders on defense

CARSON, CA - AUGUST 13: Running back Melvin Gordon (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - AUGUST 13: Running back Melvin Gordon (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

With only a few days before the Seahawks have to cut their 90-man roster down to 53, several of Seattle’s defensive players are fighting for roster spots. Here is a look at which defensive positions are worth watching. Seattle plays their final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday.

The good thing about the last preseason game is you can see professional football players giving maximum effort to earn a paycheck. Most of the Seahawks defensive starters will not play. With just a bit over a week before the regular season starts, there is no reason Seattle should risk injury to important players in a meaningless game. But many players who could be Seahawks in 2017 will get a bunch of snaps on Thursday.

Here is a look at a couple of positions that should be the most entertaining to watch when the Seahawks play the Raiders.

Backup cornerback

In the Seahawks system, even the backup cornerbacks will play quite a bit. Seattle will play with four defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs the great majority of the time. This is what is known as a 4-2-5. What this means is Seattle will play with two safeties and three cornerbacks.

We know who the safeties will be, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Bradley McDougald will also fill in. With cornerback, though, 12s will see Richard Sherman, of course. And probably Shaquill Griffin and Jeremy Lane a lot. But what if Lane or Griffin perform poorly?

The players trying to make the roster are Tramaine Brock, DeAndre Elliott and Mike Tyson. Tyson is a rookie. Elliott has played in Seattle since last season. Brock is the most experienced pro but this is his first year with Seattle. Brock may have the best shot to make the team, though, because he has been somewhat successful in the past. Plus, Tyson and Elliott have been battling injuries late in training camp.

Defensive line depth

Marcus Smith, David Bass and Quinton Jefferson have all had solid moments in preseason games so far. All have the ability to pressure the quarterback. Where Jefferson could have the most upside, though, is with internal pass rush from the defensive tackle position.

Related Story: Seahawks position battles to watch on offense vs Raiders

The Seahawks, of course, have great defensive ends already. Where they struggled in 2016 was internally. Ahtyba Rubin and Jarran Reed were good run stoppers but didn’t do much chasing the opposing quarterback down. Seattle needs more from the inside guys in 2017.

Two of the three of Bass, Jefferson and Smith could make the 53-man roster. Which one is left out may come down to how these three play on Thursday.