Seahawks 53-Man Roster Prediction: Take 1

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Dec 6, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner (39) against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /


Contenders: Brandon Browner, Brock Coyle, Steve Longa, Mike Morgan, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Eric Pinkins, Pete Robertson, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright

Winners: Wagner, Wright, KPL, Coyle, Browner

Practice Squad: Longa

The Skinny:   The Seahawks are going to further make labeling player positions difficult this season by recreating their ‘big nickel’ package that was first displayed by the team early in Carroll’s tenure. Brandon Browner- who has been a human penalty flag the last couple years and has lost 6 steps- is being groomed for a position that hopefully minimizes his very clear and present weaknesses (covering outside receivers without hugging them, playing with his back to the quarterback) and plays to his strength, which is being physical with and disrupting route runners legally within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

Color me incredibly skeptical of the player chosen to perform this role, but the idea is a good one. With the proliferation of the current-era passing game and league rules that it make it nearly impossible to not successfully move the ball downfield through the air, defenses are forced to better match up with eligible receivers by using defenders with more speed and cover ability, sacrificing size and some muscle in the process.

Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (87) reacts with New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner (39) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The New Orleans Saints won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The theory is Browner offers physical disruption off the snap and enough movement skill to stay with big slot receivers or tight ends. Moving him away from quicker, faster, supremely talented outside receivers is a necessity. At the same time, he’s big enough to not leave the team fatally vulnerable versus the run. It’s the role Deone Bucannon has nearly perfected in Arizona. Unfortunately, Browner is no Bucannon, but maybe this will be yet another example of Seahawks coaches getting the most out of their players’ abilities.

Wagner and Wright are of course all-star linebackers. Pierre-Louis has largely disappointed on the field and hasn’t played up to his athletic abilities thanks in part to injuries but also a rather shocking lack of football instincts. He’ll still stick thanks to solid special teams play and is an experienced option as a backup weakside linebacker, if nothing else.

The battle between Coyle and Longa could go down to the wire. Coyle wins out for now thanks to being a core special teamer but if Longa matches his intensity and ability on kick/punt coverages, he may actually be a better option on defense as the MLB2. For now he lands on the PS with an eye toward Coyle’s job in 2017.

Next: Who will Backup Sherman?