Entering the game today, the top of the depth chart is fairly set in stone. Aside from injuries, the players you see take the field first are more than likely going to be the same players taking the field first in four weeks.
The backups and third stringers have a situation similar to the gravel paving method they’re using to resurface the road outside my house. A lot of loose gravel is going to get cut loose pretty soon and to them these are the most important games in their short careers.
Here’s five players that need to play well enough today on the road against the Chargers so that they can stick to the Seahawks roster.
DB Jesse Hoffman
An undrafted rookie out of Eastern Washington is going to see action at cornerback or safety tonight and might return some kicks as well. However nice of a story this is for me to write about considering he was a classmate he still has an almost impossible climb and has to massively overachieve to secure a roster spot.
Hoffman had a mostly quiet run at Eastern Washington. In 2006 he totaled 234 yards on the ground for a good 5.1 YPC but didn’t score. After redshirting for one season he totaled 5 tackles and 1 INT on defense in his two seasons from 2008-2009.
2010 is what got him on the NFL blip, mostly for kick returning and his 3 INT’s on defense (two in one game). He totaled 712 yards on 25 kickoff returns.
At cornerback, he has two draft picks, plus Roy Lewis and Josh Pinkard as his most prominent competition. At safety, he has draft pick Mark Legree and Jeron Johnson, who had fourth round draft grades before an injury, to compete with as well.
In order to make this roster, Hoffman needs to show an ability to take it to the house.
LB Howie Neal
This guy has just a tough a climb as Hoffman does. Pete Carroll spent fourth and seventh round picks on linebackers in the draft. Despite the departure of Lofa Tatupu and Will Herring; the Seahawks interest in a veteran linebacker is not a secret. They have held visits with Takeo Spikes and Ben Leber.
He needs to show exceptional ability in return blocking and pursuit on special teams to have a chance at making this roster. That’s just in addition to performing well when they do stick him in at linebacker potentially. With KJ Wright and Malcolm Smith already in the fold as young projects it makes the journey that much harder.
K Brandon Coutu
Wes Bynum already received the ax as Jeff Reed arrived in town and now Coutu is risking having his second go around with the Seahawks again being derailed by the arrival of a veteran kicker.
Carroll doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who is going to keep two kickers on the roster. Coutu needs to be lights out or he’s done. Reed had an off campaign last season but did finish 9/10 with 49ers after being released by the Steelers. Remember Olindo Mare? Yeah, he had an off year before coming to Seattle, becoming their franchise player; and cashing in on a 4 year, $12 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.
At 5″11 Carter certainly isn’t the worlds shortest receiver but that’s awfully short for a Carroll receiver. Rice, Williams, and Kris Durham all stand around 6″5.
Ben Obamanu and Golden Tate round out the top five at receiver. Depending on how many receivers they decide to keep, that leaves Doug Baldwin, Ricardo Lockette, Patrick Williams, and Isiah Stanback as his competition. If they keep seven, that means three get cut, and one might get released when Deon Butler is healthy.
The name actually doesn’t help him either in this case, however unfair, the human brain is going to naturally connect it to THE Chris Carter.
Baldwin just got a reception on third down, that doesn’t help his cause either.
TE Dominque Byrd
The former Carroll product has very long odds to make the roster. besides arguably the best TE duo in the league, he has to compete with Cameron Morrah and Anthony McCoy. Considering they plan on being a run first offense that uses multiple two TE sets, Pete
may likely will opt to keep four tight ends on the roster. That still leaves one person short a spot.
One things for sure, Tarvaris Jackson cannot play quarterback in the NFL. Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, you’re our only hope.