Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders: Roster spots on the line

The Seattle Seahawks, in my book, are ready for regular season play. The last two preseason games showed me more than enough to be certain.

There’s just that pesky roster trimming that needs to happen before the Seahawks are literally ready for the season.

The Seahawks visit the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, with kickoff slated for 10:00 PM ET. By Saturday at 4 PM ET, 22 Seahawks will be cut and the 53-man roster will be finalized. With plenty of cuts to make, the starters surely won’t be playing as long as they did last week. I am not expecting Russell Wilson and the rest of the starters to play more than a couple series, but I wouldn’t mind if the starters didn’t play at all. There is so much talent on this 75-man team right now, so if had to cut 22, I would want all the players on the bubble to play as much as possible to really show me what they could do for the team.

Regardless, the backups and bubble players will play the majority of the game. The question remains, though: which guys really have to shine Thursday night in order to avoid being cut?Seattle Seahawks

The first name has to be Terrelle Pryor. He’s already lost the backup quarterback slot to Tarvaris Jackson, and it’s not practical for any team in the NFL to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. That spot could be better used elsewhere, such as wide receiver, offensive line, and corner. Pryor has had decent moments this preseason, like his 44-yard touchdown run against the Chargers, but he hasn’t made me believe in his passing ability. While he is a great athlete, keeping a third quarterback just isn’t practical, and Tarvaris Jackson already knows the offense better. One backup quarterback is enough, especially when he’s backing up Wilson, a guy who can evade defenders with apparent ease.

Korey Toomer has been injured for most of the summer, and the year before that, and the year before that. It’s hard to keep a guy on a team when he hardly stays on the field. Toomer needs to impress against the Raiders, because there are plenty of linebackers gunning for a spot- Kevin Pierre-Louis, for example. He has exhibited talent and smarts during his times of health; he really needs to reiterate that side of him against Oakland.

Bryan Walters needs to run two punts back for touchdowns to get a spot. Receiver looks locked up in my eyes, with Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, and Ricardo Lockette all ahead of him. His only hope is as a return specialist, but Earl Thomas‘s 59-yarder against the Bears might have sealed his fate. A miraculous returning performance is his only chance.

Garry Gilliam is in a tough position, because he stands as the fifth tackle on the final roster, behind Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Alvin Bailey, and Eric Winston. A fifth tackle is like a third quarterback: not really necessary. However, Gilliam has turned some heads this summer, and he will be picked up by someone else the very nanosecond Seattle drops him. If Gilliam can dominate his opposing rusher on Thursday, he may squeak by into the final roster.

Benson Mayowa had a nice few plays against the Bears, and he needs to add onto those against Oakland. The defensive line is looking very crowded, and he’s on the outside looking in. The final lineman to make it in my mind is either Greg Scruggs or Mayowa, and I saw some nice pass rush from Scruggs up the middle late in the Bears game. Mayowa is a guy I’ll be paying close attention to to see if he can work some magic.

Who will have your attention once the whistle blows Thursday night? Is there a player you’re especially rooting for? Leave a comment below.