Without access to the "All-22" film, or knowing the exact assignments on a given play, projecting the 53-man roster with 100% accuracy is impossible. That said, here's a look at what the Seattle Seahawks' 53-man roster should look like, with explanations for the trickier decisions:
Teel has justified the Seahawks' use of a sixth-round pick on him last April and could be a guy that the team develops over the next 3-4 years.
Forsett has earned increased playing time during the regular season, while Griffith appears to have edged ahead of Schmitt for the starting fullback job. Moore is a perfect practice squad candidate.
WR (5): T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch, Deon Butler, Courtney Taylor
Out: Ben Obomanu, Jordan Kent, Logan Payne, Mike Hass, Michael Bumpus (Waived, 9/1), Billy McMullen (Released, 8/9)
If a sixth receiver is kept, it should be Obomanu. As of right now, though, five is a safer projection considering needs at other positions and Taylor should be that guy. He's a valuable player on special teams, might be the best blocker of the five guys listed, and has improved as a receiver. Payne, Hass, or Bumpus could be added to the practice squad.
Wouldn't be at all surprised if Morrah is kept over Newton, or if the team goes in a completely different direction and picks a veteran out of the cut pile over the weekend. New England Patriots tight end Ben Watson's spot is in jeopardy, but most former Patriots hop on I-95 and play for the New York Jets, who are woefully thin at tight end.
OL (10): Sean Locklear, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Max Unger, Ray Willis, Walter Jones, Chris Spencer, Mansfield Wrotto, Kyle Williams, Na'Shan Goddard
Out: Will Robinson, Andre Ramsey, Brian De La Puente, Cory Withrow (Placed on IR, 9/3), Grey Ruegamer (Waived, 8/25).
The first five will be the Week One starters, with Jones and Spencer coming back from injuries and expected to miss the first few games. Seven healthy linemen are needed on Sundays, roles Wrotto and Williams will fill until Jones and Spencer return. If a 10th line spot is created, Goddard would be the best internal candidate, as he can play both tackle and guard. Looking outside the organization is a possibility, as well. Ramsey, Robinson, and De La Puente are practice squad candidates.
DL (10): Patrick Kerney, Corey Redding, Lawrence Jackson, Darryl Tapp, Nick Reed, Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Craig Terrill, Red Bryant, Michael Bennett
Out: Baraka Atkins, Derek Walker, Kevin Brown (Waived, 8/30)
Reed and Bennett have earned spots on a 53-man roster, so why not Seattle's? Cutting Atkins is a tough call, but both Reed and Bennett outplayed him and took his roster spot. Even if 10 are kept, the ‘Hawks would be wise to try to sign Walker to the practice squad.
Cutting Lewis is a difficult choice, as he's been a special teams captain and is one of the most well-liked players on the team. But he's at the back-end of the deepest position on the team, and there are younger players on the roster who are capable of filling his roles on special teams. Philistin was impressive in his limited playing time and should land on the practice squad.
Marcus Trufant appears headed for the PUP list, which buys him two months to recover from his back injury and allows the Seahawks to free up a spot on the 53-man roster. Hobbs struggled throughout the preseason, and Fisher disappeared after being signed early in camp. Floyd or Ness could land on the practice squad.
A guy missing most of the final two preseason games with an injury is usually the kiss of death, but head coach Jim Mora is very familiar with former University of Washington safety C.J. Wallace, having coached him on a daily basis for the last two seasons. Wallace reportedly had an impressive off-season, so he stays, as does Jamar Adams, who has looked good during the preseason. Depending on the severity of Greene's knee injury, he should be easily transitioned to the practice squad.
This race ended when Mare pumped four kickoffs into the end zone at Qwest Field last night. With this fast, aggressive defense, pinning the opponents as often as possible should be a priority for the special teams units, which makes Mare the wiser choice here.In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog and writes for FalconInsider.com on the Scout network. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so by clicking here.