Seahawks who need to show out vs Chiefs as cuts and depth chart decisions loom

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The Seattle Seahawks take on the Kansas City Chiefs at 5 PM PST, nationally televised on CBS. This is preseason Week 3, considered the “dress rehearsal” for NFL teams as they often play their starters for at least the first half — KC is expected to play their starters for the first three quarters.

That means we’ll get to see a lot more of what the team should or could look like in 2017. But with some players out with injury, and the Seahawks obviously wanting to do their best to protect Russell Wilson (meaning that maybe they pull him earlier if those new left tackles aren’t doing so hot) there will be opportunities for depth guys.

Here are a few names looking to show out on Friday.

Austin Davis

I’m not sure that Davis can win a job in Seattle at this point (Trevone Boykin is 17-23, 244 yards, 10.6 Y/A, 1 TD, 1 INT, with 45 rushing yards and a TD in the preseason) but in a way his NFL career may be on the line. The 28-year-old is going into his sixth pro season and hasn’t appeared in a game since 2015, so if he can’t show something now (Davis is 9-14, 129 yards, 9.2 Y/A against third and fourth-string defenses) he may not get another chance.

Or maybe he can rally an opportunity with Jacksonville.

Mike Davis, Alex Collins

Preseason stats, brebeason blats.

Chris Carson has won a job in the hearts and minds of every Seahawks fan, but he’s only averaging 3.54 YPC in the preseason, compared to 5.0 for Davis and 4.2 for Collins. Not that it matters — and Carson had a pair of one-yard touchdown runs — but just interesting that the perspective doesn’t quite match those particular results. We all know why though, because Carson just runs in a way that on film that resonates with most of us as being successful; he fights for extra yardage, runs through would-be tacklers with authority, can participate in the passing game, and is perhaps Seattle’s best backfield blocker.

But Davis has looked really good too, and Collins has had his moments too. I mean, Collins has six catches for 52 yards to go with his ground game. Fans have been dismissive of him since Troymaine Pope was Carson 1.0 last season, but Collins shouldn’t be so easily tossed aside.

With Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise sidelined another week, and the Seahawks coming off of a season in which they used 19 running backs, Davis and Collins (and Carson) will have plenty of opportunities to show why they can’t be discarded and that they’ll provide plenty of value for the upcoming season.

Kasen Williams, Amara Darboh

If anyone’s still on the fence about Kasen, he can push ‘em off with one more big game. If he’s starting and facing off against Marcus Peters and makes a big play on him, it’ll be the second week in a row that he didn’t just show out, but did so against a top corner (Xavier Rhodes, Vikings).

Were it Week 1, it seems like Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson, and Tyler Lockett would be the top three receivers. (Lockett will be out this week but is expected to be ready to go for the Packers game.) There’s not much being said about Jermaine Kearse’s job security. He has two targets and one catch in the preseason, hanging back as young guys get their opportunities, including Kasen, his former teammate at UW. A lot of fans have been pushing for his release this year, but Pete Carroll and co. have not really given any indication that that’s a possibility. I think it is a possibility, but given Lockett and Richardson’s injury history, Amara Darboh’s absence at times, I assume that they’ll just hold onto Kearse for now. Those five, including Darboh, seem like five receivers the Seahawks will hold onto. Kasen would make six, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Carroll.

However, if they want to keep someone like Tanner McEvoy, then presumably Kearse or Kasen would be left out. Perhaps Friday’s game will make this undeniably clear. I am not willing to buy into the “Amara Darboh could be cut” talk. I mean, if he plays a lot tonight and is dropping everything and looks lost, who knows, but even an average performance should be considered a positive heading into the final preseason game.

Rees Odhiambo, Matt Tobin

Obvious reasons that by now I’m sure you all know about. The Seahawks need a left tackle, do they have one on the roster currently? Seattle doesn’t need a Pro Bowler by any means, just anything above a disaster may be acceptable since the disaster seems to have already happened. The Seahawks have previously gotten by at times with Alvin Bailey, rookie George Fant, Paul McQuistan, and rookie Justin Britt at the tackle spots. A show-out performance by Odhiambo or Tobin would result in “BreatheQuake” around Seattle — would could all breathe a collective sigh of “maybe?”

Nick Vannett

Seriously. Who?

Nazair Jones — Starter?

“Starter” is kind of a fungible term on the Seahawks defense, especially when it comes to defensive tackle or slot corner, as it all depends on situation, but maybe Jones should be out there a lot more than any of us first realized. He’s been a bit of a dream so far, and maybe ultimately was always the better DT in the rookie class and not Malik McDowell. Remember how the Panthers once took Kawann Short after taking Star Lotulelei? Jones may be worthy of being on the field more often than Jarran Reed or Ahtyba Rubin this season.

Tedric Thompson

If there’s a top-four-rounds pick in danger of being released, maybe it’s Thompson. Despite his interception last week, Thompson has not looked great and given Seattle’s abundance of secondary adds in the offseason (four draft picks, two high-key free agent signings) someone has to be expendable. Based on what we’ve seen in preseason so far, Delano Hill is not expendable. Bradley McDougald is not expendable. Mike Tyson may be expendable, but he’s not a safety right now. Even if you think Tedric is a clear upgrade to the backup position to Earl Thomas, the Seahawks could still do what they did a year ago and add a free safety from the waiver wire or through a trade just before the season.

I know it’s splitting hairs between “They won’t cut Amara” and “They could cut Tedric” because they were only drafted five picks apart, but I think there are some subtle differences between how they trade offensive draft pick prospects and defensive draft pick prospects. Generally, that defensive positions are hard to come by and highly competitive, and offensively it’s been a bit more of an open opportunity because outside of Baldwin, Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, there haven’t been many consistent skill position stars on that side of the ball for the Seahawks.

Corners

If any one of these guys show out — Shaquill Griffin, Neiko Thorpe, Pierre Desir, Tyson — it’ll help us understand the order and final roster situation a little better. DeAndre Elliott is said to be going through a “concussion issue.” Tramaine Brock can also solidify himself on the final roster perhaps with a typical, veteran, solid performance.

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