By Gregg Bell | McClatchy News Service
RENTON — Who didn’t make the Seahawks’ initial 53-man roster was more intriguing than those who did.
Their biggest priority to add back to this year’s team, Jadeveon Clowney, is not on it.
An already worrisome defensive line is the thinnest position.
Paul Richardson here and gone in a matter of days. Former All-Pro Josh Gordon still officially suspended, but signed.
Shaquem Griffin, also gone, separated from his soulmate and twin, Pro Bowl cornerback Shaquill. At least for now.
The initial roster the team set Saturday had a couple surprises — and a whole lot of to be continued.
Bottom line: this is an ultra-talented team, especially at the skill positions. They’ve hugely upgraded their secondary, wide receivers and tight ends since last season ended in the divisional playoffs at Green Bay. But the offensive and defensive lines are hugely vulnerable, with the pass rush relying on a lot of hope so far. It’s tough to win Super Bowls with cracks in those foundations.
Quarterbacks (2): Russell Wilson and Geno Smith
Same as 2019, as planned. The team waived undrafted rookie Anthony Gordon and recently signed Danny Etling, both of whom got few chances to show in a training camp shortened by the COVID-19 virus.
Running backs (4): Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer
Dallas wowed coaches all training camp. The rookie fourth-round draft choice and former University of Miami wide receiver will get chances as the third-down back.
Hyde proved in camp he should get some early-down carries to spell Carson.
Wide receiver (6): Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Phillip Dorsett II, David Moore, Freddie Swain, John Ursua
Swain makes it despite the rookie sixth-round pick showing little during training camp. His experience returning kicks at Florida was a factor.
Moore is too valuable as a kick returner and Wilson trusts him. He agreed to renegotiate his $2.13 million pay for 2020, to give the team more space under the salary cap.
Gordon is signed. That happened Thursday. But the former All-Pro receiver is still officially suspended by the NFL for the seventh time, for drugs. That may change soon.
Tight ends (4): Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Luke Willson
The 29-year-old Willson looked slower in training camp, yet the offense and Wilson trusts the veteran.
Dissly’s strong return from a torn Achilles and Olsen’s signing in January make this one of the team’s strongest positions.
Offensive line (10): Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Ethan Pocic, Damien Lewis, Brandon Shell, B.J. Finney, Phil Haynes, Jordan Simmons, Jamarco Jones, Cedric Ogbuehi
Defensive line (8): L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Benson Mayowa, Damontre Moore, Alton Robinson, Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, Jarran Reed
Expect a signing, or two, at tackle and pass rusher. Not because they should. Because they must.
Linebackers (6): Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin, Cody Barton, Jordyn Brooks, Ben Burr-Kirven
It’s Irvin, Wagner and Wright in base 4-3 defense to begin the season.
Burr-Kirven, the former University of Washington middle linebacker, made it over Griffen because of special teams. For now.
Cornerbacks (5): Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Quinton Dunbar, Neiko Thorpe, Linden Stephens
Griffin and the newly arrived Dunbar are the starters. Flowers’ role is unclear.
Safeties (5): Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi, Lano Hill
Adams, the All-Pro added in a splashy trade with the Jets this summer, and Diggs, a 2019 Pro Bowl alternate, give Seattle its best safeties since Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor in the Legion of Boom.
Specialists (3): P Michael Dickson, K Jason Myers, LS Tyler Ott
Same as last year. They had no camp competition.
Running back Rashaad Penny begins the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. The number-two rusher behind Chris Carson tore knee ligaments in December and had reconstructive surgery.
Rookie second-round draft choice Darrell Taylor plus tight end and fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson went on the non-football-injury list. Taylor had surgery Jan. 30; surgeons put a Titanium rod in his leg to fix a stress fracture he played with last season at the University of Tennessee. Parkinson broke a bone on the outside of his foot in June.