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The Seahawks dipped into their own waiver pool in compiling their practice squad as they signed eight players who had been jettisoned on Saturday’s roster cut to 53.
The group, which was announced on Monday, included three players selected in the seventh round of April’s NFL Draft – offensive linemen Jared Smith and Ryan Seymour and linebacker Ty Powell.
Also back are defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who was obtained in the trade that sent guard John Moffitt to the Denver Broncos; tight end Cooper Helfet, who was on the Seahawks’ practice squad last December after also being with the team during training camp; safety DeShawn Shead, who spent most of last season on the practice squad before being added to the active roster in December; and defensive tackle Michael Brooks, who was claimed off waivers in May.
Wide receiver Chris Harper, a fourth-round draft choice this year, was signed by NFC West rival San Francisco on Monday. With Harper gone, wide receiver Bryan Walters was signed to the practice squad. Walters also spent time on the practice squad last season.
Harper wasn’t the only former Seahawk heading elsewhere, as five other players waived or released over the weekend also joined new teams – quarterback Brady Quinn was signed after clearing waivers; while tight end Sean McGrath, safety Winston Guy, defensive lineman Jaye Howard and cornerback Ron Parker were claimed after being waived.
Now that we know who will start the first week of the regular season on the unit that works against the Seahawks’ starters in practice, let’s find out what it is the team looks for when signing a player to the practice squad.
“Basically, one redeeming quality,” Trent Kirchner, the Seahawks’ director of pro personnel, said prior to Saturday’s roster cuts.
“You’re looking for a young guy who’s got anything we can develop. If it’s a cornerback, you’re looking for someone who has really good feet or really good speed. On the line, it’s the size you want in a guard or tackle, but someone who needs to either get stronger or came from a smaller program.
“It’s just anything that stands out.”
While the coaches have spent the summer determining which of the 90 players who began training camp can play of the Seahawks, Kirchner and assistant director of pro personnel Dan Morgan have been looking at other teams during the preseason in an attempt to find someone with “one redeeming quality.”
“If there’s one thing that stands out, any one thing, we’ll more than likely work them out at some point,” Kirchner said of the focus-on group that includes sixth- and seventh-round draft choices and free agents around the league.
Kirchner also compiles an “emergency” list of players who can come in and help that week if injuries dictate the need, a player who probably isn’t practice-squad eligible but has been in the league long enough – or even with the Seahawks – who could play on special teams.
The easy road for the practice squad is to re-sign players that were released on the roster cuts to 53 or 75 players. They know the system. They know how coach Pete Carroll wants to practice.
“Some of it is just the comfort level,” Kirchner said. “The players know the situation here and if we want them back not many times do players leave to a different situation. You bring a guy in from the outside; you don’t know how he’s going to mesh in the locker room. But if there’s something there, and the college scouts vouch for him, you’ll bring him in and try to develop him.”
The fact that several of the players waived by the Seahawks during the past week landed with other teams had been anticipated Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
Guy was claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are now coached by former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Veteran cornerback Will Blackmon and linebacker Kyle Knox, who were released by the Seahawks on last week’s roster cut to 75 players, also made the Jags’ 53-man roster.
Howard, the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice last year, was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs also claimed McGrath, who was on the 53-man roster last December and also for both playoff games; and Parker, who spent time on the Seahawks’ practice squad the past two seasons.
Monday, Quinn was signed by the New York Jets.
“We know that our guys will go onto other teams and play. We know that and we are proud of that,” Carroll said prior to making the cuts to 53 on Saturday. “Really, to John’s credit, he called this a long time ago. He said that, ‘There will come a time, we don’t know how many years that it will take, when the roster will be so deep that every cut will be difficult and that every guy that we cut will be picked up by any team.’ And, we are getting close to that. It’s a good thing. It’s just hard and its emotional and all that. So we are treating it with great respect.”