The start of training camp is in just a few days and will feature an abundance of intriguing storylines and positional battles. The most competitive position battle that this particular camp has to offer is at wide receiver. 12 players each with different skillsets and qualities will vie for 5-6 roster spots. Who will make the cut? My projections and reasons for each player are shown below.
Sidney Rice – Lock
Rice was signed from Minnesota with the hope that he would develop into a #1 receiver. During his first year he was anything but that guy, ravaged most of the season by injuries. However, he did show flashes of that incredible playmaking ability. Finally regaining his health this year, the team is counting on him to step up and make a big impact. There is no reason for the team to cut Rice.
Doug Baldwin – Lock
Last season, Baldwin came out of nowhere to win a roster spot and lead the team in both receptions and yards. Baldwin made his impact primarily as a slot-receiver, something we have been in dire need of since the departure of Bobby Engram. He is looking to lock down that position for years to come during this season, and I think he is here to stay for quite some time.
Golden Tate – Lock
Tabbing Tate as a lock may come as a surprise, but his roster spot should be safe unless something dramatic occurs. Towards the end of last season, he finally began to unlock his playmaking potential. He was unable to participate during OTA’s due to injuries, but should be ready to light up camp in a few days. Keep in mind that he is a former second-round pick with plenty of initial expectations, so I’d expect to see him stick around and make an impact this year.
Ben Obomanu – Probable
Obomanu may not be the flashiest guy on the field, but he sure knows how to do everything right. As a seventh-year veteran that knows how to play each receiver position, his leadership and versatility will seemingly keep him on the roster. Unless one of the younger players is able to unseat Obomanu, he should be back.
Ricardo Lockette – Questionable
Last offseason, Lockette was signed (undrafted free-agent) as a project for the future. Little did anyone know, he would terrorize opposing defenses with his blazing speed in the last two games of the season. He has the potential to consistently stretch defenses vertically with his speed and size. However, he is still very raw and has much to learn. It will take a fantastic camp for him to secure a roster spot.
Deon Butler – Questionable
Butler was originally envisioned to be the guy that stretched opposing defenses. Thus far in his career, it has become evident that his lack of size will likely prevent him from becoming that type of player. As the smallest player on the team (5’10”, 182 lbs), one has to think about how hard it is fulfill that role if he is at such a physical disadvantage. I like Deon Butler, but I think his odds of making the team are in great jeopardy.
Kris Durham – Questionable
Durham is the tall, lengthy receiver that Pete Carroll likes to possess on offense. The subtraction of Mike Williams helped Durham’s chances, but the addition of tight end Kellen Winslow hampered his stock. With the amount of two tight end sets they will be running on offense with Winslow and Zach Miller, it’s questionable how much of a necessity Durham will become. He is a former fourth-round pick, however, so I’d give him a chance of making the team.
Phil Bates – Doubtful
Bates is an undrafted rookie with a unique skillset as he can throw, catch, and run the ball. He is an undrafted rookie after all, so his chances of making the team are slim.
Jermaine Kearse – Doubtful
During his career at Washington, Kearse flashed his NFL-caliber “stuff” many times. His one downfall was the lack of consistency. If he is able to dominate camp like Doug Baldwin did last year, he has a shot at the 53-man roster. He is likely more of a suitable candidate for the practice squad.
Cameron Kenney, Charly Martin, Lavasier Tuinei – Very Doubtful
These three players are likely “camp bodies”; I wouldn’t expect them to make the roster this year.
Roster: Rice, Baldwin, Tate, Obomanu, Lockette, Durham
Practice Squad: Bates, Kearse
Cut: Butler, Kenney, Martin, Tuinei