Football is back! Yes, it’s that time of year again. The casual fans won’t care until the regular season starts, but the die-hards will watch every play. The backups will get the majority of the reps, but they are still crucial members of the team. This is an opportunity for every player to show their worth to their coaches, teammates, and fans. The starters will likely play one series, and fans will overreact if they succeed or struggle. It’s such a small sample size, so fans shouldn’t read too much into it. But that’s the world that we live in.
If Russell Wilson and company struggle to move the ball, fans will freak out. If Wilson and company move the ball down the field, fans will freak out. It’s inevitable, but the fans should pay more attention to the backups and fringe starters. Here are five players that Seahawks fans should intently watch in their first preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Seattle Seahawks Preseason Game One Players To Watch
After a tumultuous offseason being arrested, Boykin will try and win back the backup quarterback job behind Russell Wilson. Boykin is competing with Austin Davis, which shouldn’t be much of a competition. Boykin is athletic like Wilson and has more talent than Davis, so he should be the better fit because of talent and scheme. But if his struggles from training camp continue during the preseason, the Seahawks might look to sign or trade for another quarterback.
There were rumors earlier this off-season about the Seahawks being interested in Colin Kaepernick. Given his athleticism and experience, Kaepernick would be a great fit in Seattle as Wilson’s backup. He’d probably be the best backup quarterback in the NFL, and should be able to help the Seahawks win games if need be. If Boykin wants to avoid this narrative being perpetuated by fans and the media, he’ll need a strong showing against the Chargers. Otherwise, he might lose his job.
2. Shaquill Griffin
This is the first NFL game for all Seahawks rookies. Third round pick Shaquill Griffin was the highest cornerback selected in the Pete Carroll era. Griffin has the size, athleticism, and technique that the Seahawks covet in their corners. He would make a great second corner opposite of Richard Sherman, but he’s going to have to win this job from Jeremy Lane. Lane struggled as the nickel corner last season, but was a major contributor two and three seasons ago. He has the ability to play outside, but was strictly a nickel corner in 2016 because of the emergence of DeShawn Shead.
Shead tore his ACL in last year’s playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, so he’ll probably miss numerous games to start the year. When he returns, he could be the starting corner opposite of Sherman again. But if Griffin or Lane is thriving in that role, Shead might not win back that job. As of right now, it seems like the Seahawks will start Lane as the second corner and move him inside to nickel when teams play three wide receivers. That would allow Griffin to take the field as an outside corner. But if Griffin excels during the preseason, he could win the second cornerback job before the regular season.
Quinton Jefferson was a 2016 5th round pick that excited the Seahawks coaching staff during his first training camp. Unfortunately for Jefferson and the Seahawks, he suffered a knee injury early in his rookie season that forced him onto injured reserve. The Seahawks like to rotate in defensive lineman to keep them fresh, so losing anyone is harmful. But it’s especially harmful for a rookie that is trying to learn the NFL game.
Jefferson looks like a rookie in terms of experience level, but he’s a lot more gifted than most rookies. With second-round pick Malik McDowell likely missing the season due to an ATV accident, the Seahawks will have more snaps available for defensive tackles.
Defensive ends Frank Clark, Michael Bennett, and Cassius Marsh all have experience sliding inside to defensive tackle, which is something that could happen more in 2017. The Seahawks took a flier by signing former third overall pick Dion Jordan, but he might get cut due to an injury. This opportunity could be seized by Jefferson if he plays up to his ability. He’s a good interior pass rusher and run defender, which should allow him to play at times on all three downs.
The Seahawks already have Jarran Reed and Ahtyba Rubin as their starters, but they’ll want to keep them fresh throughout the season by giving them a lot of rest. Jefferson will be competing with rookie Nazair Jones for snaps, but should have a leg up on the rookie due to his experience in the Seahawks defense. If Jefferson impresses the coaching staff with a productive preseason, he could see the field often in 2017.
4. Chris Carson
The Seahawks have a log jam at the running back position. Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls are competing for the starting job. Rawls was dominant two years ago before breaking his ankle. Last year he never returned to form because of another broken bone that halted his season before it ever got started. Now he’s back and eager to win back his starting position.
The Seahawks brought in Lacy to complement Rawls. Lacy is looking to bounce back from a couple of disastrous seasons plagued by injuries and weight issues. Lacy started his career with back-to-back 1000 yard seasons. His running style reminds many of Marshawn Lynch, who was the offensive focal point that led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. The Seahawks want to get back to that type of smash mouth football.
C.J. Prosise is heading into his second season. The former wide receiver will likely be the Seahawks third down back, but he also has the ability to run between the tackles. He could win the starting job away from Rawls and Lacy.
With all three running backs being injury prone, the Seahawks would like to keep a fourth running back on their roster. This spot will belong to Alex Collins or Chris Carson. Collins was a dominant runner in college, but rarely saw the field during his rookie year. He’s a power back in the mold of Lacy and Rawls.
Carson is a seventh round pick that has been one of the best players during training camp. If he continues his dominating play during the preseason, he could force the Seahawks to keep him over Collins. He’s a power back too, but has a bit more speed and elusiveness than Collins. Neither will likely see the field often during the regular season, but both are intriguing long-term pieces that could become starters in the future.
5. Jordan Roos
The Seahawks offensive line is a mess. The only position that is locked down is center. Justin Britt was a terrible tackle and guard before moving inside to center last season. He wasn’t great, but he was much better than the other four linemen.
Most draft experts and Seahawks fans expected Seattle to draft numerous offensive linemen early. But instead, the Seahawks drafted a lot of secondary players. Jordan Roos was one of their undrafted free agents, and he’s impressed since day one. Roos was a guard at Purdue, and should be a guard in the NFL. He’s not a versatile lineman, but he’s a great technician.
Seattle’s guards underwhelmed last season, and now they’re losing one with Germain Ifedi sliding outside to right tackle. Roos likely won’t win a starting job during the preseason, but he could solidify his spot on the roster. Given that Seattle doesn’t have any talented guards on their roster, Roos could get an opportunity when one of the starters struggles, which seems almost inevitable. Roos will have to make the team first, but the way that Tom Cable and Pete Carroll have raved about him makes him seem like a lock to make the 53 man roster.