NFC West training camp capsules
CAMP CALANDAR: Rookies report July 25; veterans report July 28. The Cardinals practice with the San Diego Chargers, Aug. 16; camp breaks Aug. 26.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Bring D.J. Humphries up to speed. As a rookie who didn't play a lick last season, right tackle D.J. Humphries was called "Knee Deep" by coach Bruce Arians because the first-round pick apparently needed a knee deep up his backside to get motivated and learn his position. Humphries said he'll be using that slam in camp to take ownership of the starting right tackle spot. It's not a given it will be his if he doesn't earn it completely. GM Steve Keim won't be afraid to tap the free-agent market or swing a trade to find a reliable veteran, just in case. Veteran right guard Evan Mathis has been working with Humphries throughout the offseason and has vowed to be his daily mentor, which should help immensely, especially with picking up the nuances of silent snap counts.
--Created salary-cap flexibility and tying up loose ends. It doesn't necessarily have to get done before training camp, but the Cardinals know they must address a few key contract situations rather promptly. Specifically, it's how to re-sign talented safety Tyrann Mathieu to a new multi-year deal that likely will pay him between $11-13 million per season, how to smartly restructure the contract of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Calais Campbell to make it more salary-cap friendly, and how they approach the expiring contracts of their top wide receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. One of them probably will be back in 2017, but perhaps not both.
Palmer is having a career resurgence in Arizona, establishing franchise records last season in passing yards (4,671), touchdown passes (35) and passer rating (104.6), and as long as he stays healthy the Cardinals have to be considered championship contenders. Stanton has proven to be a very reliable backup who can step in and orchestrate Bruce Arians' high-octane passing offense. Barkley has the edge over Coker entering camp, but the battle for the No.3 job will be wide open.
Chris Johnson believes the Cardinals have the best running back group in the entire league and although Arizona's backfield was rated only 23rd recently by Pro Football Focus, Arians thinks it's the best outfit in football, too. David Johnson is an emerging star who has earned the lion's share of the carries in 2016, but Chris Johnson was on his way to a 1,000-yard season until sustaining a leg injury. Both will be utilized greatly, but Ellington's role will be more specialized, preserving his injury-prone condition. Taylor and Williams are decent fill-ins.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Jermaine Gresham. Backups -- Darren Fells, Troy Niklas, Ifeanyi Momah, Gerald Christian, Hakeem Valles.
Gresham spurned ridiculously better offers from elsewhere to return on a one-year deal and will add veteran experience to a younger group that has underrated talent in Fells and Momah. Palmer said Fells, a former basketball player, has Pro Bowl potential. Momah was the star of training camp a year ago until suffering a knee injury. Niklas hasn't yet grown into his body, but he's worked tirelessly on becoming a steady blocker.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown. Backups -- J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden, Jaxon Shipley, Rico Richardson, Chris Hubert, Amir Carlisle, Marquis Bundy.
Still a major strength of the Cardinals' offense, which led the league by averaging 408.3 net yards per game. Fitzgerald is coming off one of his best seasons ever and Floyd and Brown could be No. 1 wideouts on several teams. The depth is deep and features speedsters in Nelson and Golden. As good as he is, Jaron Brown hasn't been able to play his way into the regular mix.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Jared Veldheer, LG Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley, RG Evan Mathis, RT D.J. Humphries. Backups -- C Evan Boehm, G/C Earl Watford, T Rob Crisp, G Antoine McClain, G Cole Toner, T John Wetzel, C Taylor Boggs, G Jake Bernstein, T Givens Price, T Clay Debord.
This could be the best group ever put together in Arizona. Veldheer is a rock and the two guards are perennial Pro Bowl performers who bring nastiness up front. The only real concerns are at center, where the smallish Shipley will have to prove he can hold down the spot and fend off rookie Boehm, and at right tackle, where former first-round pick Humphries must own the position after not playing a single snap last season as a rookie. Behind them, the depth is average, not great. Watford, however, is an intriguing factor who can play virtually anywhere in a pinch.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LDT Calais Campbell, NT Corey Peters, RDE Chandler Jones. Backups -- DT Robert Nkemdiche, NT Rodney Gunter, DT Frostee Rucker, DT Ed Stinson, DT Red Bryant, NT Xavier Williams, DT Josh Mauro, DT Olsen Pierre.
The power of the Cardinals' defense might have shifted from the secondary to this unit, which has added a pass-rusher extraordinaire in Jones via a trade with the Patriots, and Nkemdiche, the team's first-round pick and a potential steal with the 29th overall selection. Their additions could propel Campbell to his finest season ever. Peters is back to plug up the middle after missing all of last season with a torn Achilles and there's an intriguing blend of youth and experience that can rotate in and out to help increase Arizona's sack totals.
LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Kareem Martin, LILB Kevin Minter, RILB Deone Bucannon, SLB Markus Golden. Backups -- ILB Gabe Martin, ILB Alani Fua, OLB Shaquille Riddick, OLB Alex Okafor, ILB Quayshawn Nealy, ILB Lamar Louis, OLB Tristan Okpalaugo, OLB Zack Wagenmann.
If there's a perceived weakness on the defensive side of the ball, this is probably it. It lacks any true star players and survives mostly because of help up front and behind. Bucannon looks like the real deal, although he was drafted as a safety and is a little small for where he plays now. Martin and Minter have only scratched the surface. Okafor, meanwhile, could be the odd man out after an eight-sack season two years ago. He's lost a lot of the coaches' confidence due to some character issues.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB Justin Bethel, FS Tyrann Mathieu, SS Tony Jefferson. Backups -- FS Tyvon Branch, CB Mike Jenkins, CB Asa Jackson, SS D.J. Swearinger, CB Brandon Williams, CB Harlan Miller, CB Cariel Brooks, S Marqui Christian, S Chris Clemons, S Elie Bouka, CB Shaun Prater, S Durell Eskridge, S Matthias Farley, CB Trevon Hartfield, CB Ronald Zamort, S Tyrequek Zimmerman.
Peterson is among the NFL cornerback elite and Mathieu was trending as a likely Defensive Player of the Year candidate until sustaining his second torn ACL in three years. The Honey Badger expects to be ready to return at some point in camp, which is huge news for a secondary that could end up featuring at least three new starters in Jefferson, Bethel and Branch. The Cardinals could end up missing safety Rashad Johnson (who was allowed to leave via free agency to the Titans) a lot more than they think. His teammates called him the "quarterback" of the entire Cardinals' defense. The depth here is excellent. Keep an eye on three promising rookies: Williams, Christian and Miller.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Chandler Catanzaro, P Drew Butler, P Garrett Swanson, LS Kameron Canady, LS Danny Dillon, KOR/PR J.J. Nelson, PR Patrick Peterson, KOR/PR Brittan Golden, KOR Kerwynn Williams.
It's good, but not great. Catanzaro connected for 137 points, good enough for second-most in franchise history and third-most in the NFL a year ago, but that was mostly the byproduct of a dynamic offense. He missed too many extra points for coach Bruce Arians' liking, but he's still young and his future looks bright. Butler is an average punter who could be pushed in camp by Swanson. The long snapper spot could be an issue in the wake of veteran Mike Leach's retirement. There is super speed and deception among the kick returners, especially in Nelson and Golden, but it could be dangerous to keep letting Peterson return punts given his value at corner.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
CAMP CALENDAR: Rookies report July 26; veterans report July 29; Camp breaks August 30
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Get rookie quarterback Jared Goff ready. If the Rams want to move from the 7-9 type teams they've fielded the last few years, they must improve their quarterback play. That means Goff, the top overall pick in April's draft, needs to get on the field as quickly as possible as a dependable, game-manager type player. Goff was wildly up-and-down during OTAs -- to be expected of course -- but the Rams are counting on him winning the starting job over Case Keenum and providing a lift to an offense in desperate need of it.
--Find two new starters in the defensive backfield. The Rams suffered two big losses in their starting defensive backfield when cornerback Janoris Jenkins left as a free agent to the Giants and safety Rodney McLeod left for the Eagles. The task is to replace them. Jenkins' spot is expected to go to third-year cornerback E.J. Gaines, who excelled as a rookie starter before missing last season because of a foot injury. McLeod's spot is a little more up in the air, with Cody Davis, Maurice Alexander and Christian Bryant all vying for the starting spot opposite T.J. McDonald.
QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Case Keenum. Backups -- Jared Goff, Sean Mannion, Dylan Thompson, Nick Foles.
Keenum replaced Foles for the final four games of last season and helped guide the Rams to a 3-1 record, earning him the de facto starting job heading to training camp. But make no mistake, sooner or later Goff will get the starting nod. Mannion, a third-round pick in 2015, has the tools to develop into a quality backup, if not a potential starter at some point, and the Rams will give him the necessary time to prove his worth. Foles is the odd man out, and the Rams will look to move him via trade or outright release during camp.
RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Todd Gurley. Backups -- Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham, Chase Reynolds, Aaron Green, Terrence Magee.
Gurley is the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the year and one of the games brightest young stars. Now more than 1 1/2 years removed from the knee injury he sustained during his junior year at Georgia, he spent the entire offseason focused solely on football related conditioning. If he stays healthy, he's got a shot at leading the NFL in rushing.
Mason took a major step back in his second year, then compounded the poor season by getting arrested during the offseason for misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana, reckless driving, failure to register a motor vehicle and resisting arrest. His legal issues cost him all of OTAs, so to say he faces an uncertain future is an understatement. Cunningham was re-signed during the offseason and will provide coverage in case Mason doesn't return to form. Green, a rookie free agent from TCU, opened eyes in training camp and could work his way onto the roster.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Lance Kendricks. Backups -- Cory Harkey, Temarrick Hemingway, Tyler Higbee, Justice Cunningham, Benson Browne
For now, Kendricks and Harkey are the starters in the Rams two tight-end formation, but with the Rams looking for more production at tight end they doubled down in the draft by selecting Hemingway and Higbee, two intriguing prospects who bring play making ability and athleticism. Higbee had 68 catches for 1,054 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 at Western Kentucky and could emerge as a big-time weapon.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt. Backups -- Bradley Marquez, Brian Quick, Pharoh Cooper, Nelson Spruce, Mike Thomas, Deon Long, Duke Williams, J.J. Worton.
Austin is the only player guaranteed a starting job, but he's more of a slot wide receiver who excels in the screen, slant and run game rather than the downfield threat the Rams desperately need. Britt and Quick have been given plenty of chances to emerge as big-time players, but neither has shown he can be anything more than average possession receivers.
The draft yielded promising newcomers in Cooper and Thomas, and Spruce and Williams were signed as undrafted free agents. Spruce and Cooper were big-time performers during OTAs, and could earn playing time early in the season in the screen, slant and short passing game. Williams is an intriguing prospect, and was considered one of the top receivers in the country before getting kicked off the team at Auburn for repeated rules violations last year. At 6-2, 215 he provides size, speed and athletic ability and has a chance to make his mark provided his off-field issues are behind him.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Greg Robinson, LG Rodger Saffold, C Tim Barnes, RG Jamon Brown, RT Rob Havenstein. Backups -- T Darrell Williams, T Isaiah Battle, G Cody Wichmann, G-T Andrew Donnal, G Garrett Reynolds, G Brian Folkerts, C Demetrius Rhaney, C Eric Kush.
After investing a number of premium draft picks along the offensive line recently, it's time for the Rams to reap some big-time returns. That means Robinson finally emerging as the prospect the Rams hoped he'd be when they drafted him second overall two years ago, and Saffold remaining healthy and solidifying the left side of the line. It means Havenstein continuing to improve at right tackle and building a wall with Brown, his partner at right guard. And it means Barnes holding down the center position. The talent is there, now it's a matter of players stepping up and in some cases, staying healthy.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DLE William Hayes, DT Aaron Donald, DT Michael Brockers, DRE Robert Quinn. Backups -- DE Quinton Coples, DE Matt Longacre, DE Eugene Sims, DE Ethan Westbrooks, DE Morgan Fox, DT Dominique Easley, DT Doug Worthington, DT Louis Trinca-Pasat and DT Cam Thomas.
The Rams are set along the defensive line, and if Quinn successfully returns from a back injury and Coples, Easley and Thomas all hit as low-risk veteran free agent signings, they could wind up with the best defensive line in the NFL. It all starts inside, where Donald has emerged as one of the most dynamic DT's in the league and forms a virtual wall alongside Brockers. Outside, the return of Quinn will bolster an explosive pass rush, with Hayes providing solid run defense and sneaky ability in the pass rush. If Easley and Coples can find their way as back ups, the Rams' defensive line will be lethal.
LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Mark Barron, MLB Alec Ogletree, SLB Akeem Ayers. Backups -- Cory Littleton, Brandon Chubb, Darreon Herring, Josh Forrest, Cameron Lynch, Ian Seau.
When the Rams released long-time veteran middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, it began a domino effect they hope leaves them young, better and more athletic across the board. Ogletree moved from weakside linebacker inside to replace Laurinaitis and Barron moved full time from safety to weakside in place of Ogletree. The result is a bigger, faster, younger starting unit along with Ayers. The Rams have some uncertainty in reserve, though. The hope is Forrest, whom they drafted last April, can emerge inside.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Trumaine Johnson, RCB E.J. Gaines, FS T.J. McDonald, SS Marcus Alexander. Backups -- CB Lamarcus Joyner, Michael Jordan, CB Jabriel Washington, CB Coty Sensabaugh, CB Marcus Roberson, CB Troy Hill, S Cody Davis, S Christian Bryant, S Rohan Gaines, S Jordan Lomax and S Nicholas Grigsby.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Greg Zuerlein, P Johnny Hekker, LS Jake McQuaide, KOR Benny Cunningham, PR Tavon Austin. Backups -- K Taylor Bertolet, LS Jeff Overbaugh.
The Rams must get more production out of Zuerlein, who slumped to the worst season of his career while misfiring on 10 of his 30 field goal attempts. With the Rams offense still very much a work in progress, they simply can't afford to leave 30 points on the field again. The Rams brought in Bertolet, a rookie free agent from Texas A&M, to push Zuerlein in training camp but it seems more likely a replacement - if needed -- will come outside the organization. The rest of the special teams unit is set.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
CAMP CALENDAR: All players report July 30; practice with Texans, Aug. 12; practice with Broncos, Aug. 17-18; camp breaks Aug. 31.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Get into Chip Kelly mode: The 49ers averaged 60.6 offensive snaps per game last season, the 19th-most in the NFL. Meanwhile, Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles got off the most plays in the league -- 68.9 -- in those same 60 minutes. The transition from turtle to hare will be interesting to watch.
--Determine a starting quarterback: Of course, operating at a faster pace just means punting more frequently if your quarterback can't keep drives alive. While Kelly is introducing the club to his new Ferrari, he'll also have to choose the driver from between crash-happy Colin Kaepernick and slow-lane Blaine Gabbert.
QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Colin Kaepernick. Backups -- Blaine Gabbert, Thad Lewis, Jeff Driskel.
Two battles here: The erratic Kaepernick vs. the consistently mediocre Gabbert for the starting job; the proven Lewis vs. the rookie Driskel for the third spot. Camp opens with two dead-even races.
RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Carlos Hyde. Backups -- Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis, Kelvin Taylor, Kendall Gaskins, DuJuan Harris.
Draught assured himself a future with the team with a nice run of games after Hyde got hurt last season. But make no mistake: Hyde's ability to absorb new head coach Chip Kelly's run-friendly system will make or break the offense.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Vance McDonald. Backups -- Garrett Celek, Blake Bell, Bruce Miller, Busta Anderson, Je'Ron Hamm.
The 49ers were so proud of their depth at the position a year ago, they dealt two tight ends before the start of the regular season, then a third (starter Vernon Davis) during the season. That's left a heated competition among generally unheralded guys for playing time, a group that now includes converted fullback Miller.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington. Backups -- Eric Rogers, Quinton Patton, DeAndrew White, Jerome Simpson, DeAndre Smelter, Aaron Burbridge, Dres Anderson, DiAndre Campbell, Devon Cajuste, Bryce Treggs.
The door is wide open for Rogers, a former Canadian League standout, to step into free agent Anquan Boldin's huge shoes. He was the 49ers' most impressive pass-catcher during offseason drills. The emergence of Rogers would leave Ellington battling with several intriguing youngsters, including comebacking Smelter, for the No. 3 role.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Josh Garnett, RT Erik Pears. Backups -- T Trent Brown, T John Theus, T Fahn Cooper, T Colin Kelly, T Norman Price, G Brandon Thomas, G Andrew Tiller, G Ian Silberman, G Blake Muir, C Marcus Martin, C Alex Balducci.
Free agent Beadles and first-round pick Garnett were imported to upgrade one of the league's weakest units in 2015. Brown, Thomas, Tiller and Martin, all of whom got significant playing time last season, provide quantity where quality is lacking.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DLE Arik Armstead, NT Ian Williams, DRE DeForest Buckner. Backups -- DE Glenn Dorsey, DE Tony Jerod-Eddie, DE Quinton Dial, DE Demetrius Cherry, DE Garrison Smith, DE Ronald Blair, NT Mike Purcell, NT Kaleb Ramsey, NT Darren Lake.
Kelly would love to see the club's top picks each of the last two seasons -- Armstead and Buckner -- recapture the glory days of when they were all together smothering Pacific-10 Conference competition at the University of Oregon. Proven commodities Williams, Dorsey, Jerod-Eddie, Dial and Purcell make the unit the deepest on the team.
LINEBACKERS: Starters -- LOLB Ahmad Brooks, LILB Gerald Hodges, RILB NaVorro Bowman, ROLB Eli Harold. Backups -- OLB Aaron Lynch, OLB Corey Lemonier, OLB Tank Carradine, OLB Marcus Rush, OLB Jason Fanaika, OLB Lenny Jones, ILB Michael Wilhoite, ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong, ILB Shayne Skov, ILB Nick Bellore, ILB Wynton McManis.
The season starts out on a sour note with Lynch, who led the team in quarterback pressures and sacks last season, on a four-game suspension. That steals some thunder from what could have been one of the top competitions in camp between Brooks and Harold for the starting spot across from Lynch. Carradine also could figure in the mix, especially as a pass-rush specialist, if his transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in camp is deemed successful. Bowman give the unit a rock in the middle, but his sidekick is a big dropoff whether it turns out to be Hodges, Wilhoite or Armstrong.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Tramaine Brock, RCB Jimmie Ward, FS Eric Reid, SS Antoine Bethea. Backups -- CB Keith Reaser, CB Kenneth Acker, CB Dontae Johnson, CB Chris Davis, CB Marcus Cromartie, CB Will Redmond, CB Prince Iworah, CB Rashard Robinson, FS LJ McCray, FS Jered Bell, SS Jaquiski Tartt.
Ward's impressive play during spring and early summer camps gives him a head-start on some serious competition at the right corner. Even Brock's starting spot is not assured. Reaser, Acker and Johnson all have starting experience and add depth to the club's best unit in terms of both quality and quantity. Tartt also figures to have a significant role as a run-stopping safety.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Phil Dawson, P Bradley Pinion, LS Kyle Nelson, KOR Bruce Ellington, PR Bruce Ellington, K John Lunsford, KOR/PR DeAndrew White, KOR/PR Bryce Treggs.
The 49ers graded consistently well in all aspects of special teams last season, and return all their key contributors. The focus of training camp this season has shifted to the new coach after a year in which all eyes were on transitioning rugby star Jarryd Hayne, who has retired from football after an unimpressive one-year folly.
CAMP CALENDAR: Full squad reports July 29; first practice July 30; camp breaks Aug. 17.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Settle offensive line early: It took until late in the preseason last year before the Seahawks settled on a starting five along the offensive line. Struggles from the unit early in the year contributed to Seattle's 2-4 start to the season. This year, the projected starters are new at all five positions along the offensive line.
--Find a backup quarterback: For the first time since Russell Wilson earned the starting job as a rookie 2012, the Seahawks do not have an experienced backup on their roster. Tarvaris Jackson's offseason arrest seemingly ended his chances of another return engagement. The Seahawks only have undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps behind Wilson on the depth chart. If neither can handle the job, Seattle may need to look elsewhere for a capable reserve option.
QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Russell Wilson. Backups - Trevone Boykin, Jake Heaps.
Wilson is the unquestioned starter and looking to build off the best season in Seahawks' franchise history. Backup is unsettled for the first time in Wilson's tenure. Boykin, an undrafted rookie out of TCU, and Heaps don't have any NFL experience. Seattle's backup for the regular season may not currently be on the roster.
RUNNING BACKS: Starter - Thomas Rawls. Backups - C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, Christine Michael, Zac Brooks, Tre Madden, FB Taniela Tupou, FB Brandon Cottom.
If healthy, Rawls should jump right back into his starting job for the regular season. Prosise, Collins and Brooks were all drafted this year to help fill the void of Marshawn Lynch's retirement. They'll compete with Michael for backup roles. Seattle is also looking for new fullbacks. Cottom and converted defensive lineman Tupou will compete for the job.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Jimmy Graham. Backups - Luke Willson, Nick Vannett, Cooper Helfet, Brandon Williams, Ronnie Shields.
Like Rawls, if Graham is healthy he will resume his starting role. Willson is a steady veteran option. Rookie Vannett will battle Helfet for the third tight-end spot.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse. Backups - Paul Richardson, Kasen Williams, Kevin Smith, Kenny Lawler, Douglas McNeil, Antwan Goodley, Tyler Slavin, Deshon Foxx.
Baldwin, Lockett and Kearse compose one of the most efficient receiving groups in the league in catches per target. Richardson's speed continues to intrigue the Seahawks. Williams and Smith both look improved in their second full seasons with the team. Lawler has strong hands, but a slight build. McNeil is a stellar athlete but struggles to catch consistently.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - LT Garry Gilliam, LG Mark Glowinski, C Justin Britt, RG Germain Ifedi, RT J'Marcus Webb. Backups - T Bradley Sowell, T George Fant, T Terry Poole, T Kona Schwenke, T Lene Maiava, G Rees Odhiambo, G/C Kristjan Sokoli, G/C Will Pericak, C Joey Hunt, C Patrick Lewis.
The Seahawks plan on having new starters at all five positions on the offensive line. Gilliam moves from right tackle to left tackle to replace Russell Okung. Glowinski moves from right guard to left guard. Britt from left guard to center. Ifedi is the team's first-round pick and Webb a free-agent signing this offseason. Battles for backup tackle and center spots will be heated.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - DLE Cliff Avril, DT Ahtyba Rubin, NT Jarran Reed, DRE Michael Bennett. Backups - DE Frank Clark, DE Cassius Marsh, DE Chris Clemons, DT Jordan Hill, DT Quinton Jefferson, DT Sealver Siliga, DT Brandin Bryant, DE Montese Overton, DE Ryan Robinson, DE David Perkins, DE DeAngelo Tyson, DT Justin Hamilton, DE Tavaris Barnes.
Second-round pick Reed looks to fill the hole created by the departure of Brandon Mebane. Avril, Bennett and Rubin return to solidify Seattle's front four. Clark, Marsh and Hill will all factor in heavily in rotations. Clemons, back with the team after two years in Jacksonville, looks to carve out a situational pass-rushing role.
LINEBACKERS: Starters - WLB K.J. Wright, MLB Bobby Wagner, SLB Mike Morgan. Backups - OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis, MLB Brock Coyle, OLB Eric Pinkins, LB Steve Longa, LB Pete Robertson, LB Kyle Coleman.
Morgan moves into the starting lineup to replace a departed Bruce Irvin. Pinkins could push Morgan for the job after making a conversion to linebacker from defensive back last season.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - LCB Richard Sherman, RCB Jeremy Lane, FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor. Backups - CB DeShawn Shead, CB Tharold Simon, S Kelcie McCray, S Brandon Browner, CB Tye Smith, CB Marcus Burley, S Steven Terrell, S Tyvis Powell, CB George Farmer, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB DeAndre Elliott, CB Trovon Reed, S Tanner McEvoy.
The "Legion of Boom" returns largely intact from its 2015 iteration. Lane looks to lock down a starting job opposite Sherman. Shead can also start at right cornerback or come in in passing situations to allow Lane to move into the slot. Browner is back with Seattle and is expected to fit into a hybrid safety/linebacker role. Simon is trying to come back from toe injuries that forced him to miss all but one game last season.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Steven Hauschka, P Jon Ryan, LS Drew Ferris, LS Nolan Frese, KOR Tyler Lockett, PR Tyler Lockett.
Seattle is looking for a new long snapper for the first time since Pete Carroll's first season as head coach in 2010. Ferris has spent most of the offseason with the team after the release of Clint Gresham. Frese was added upon the conclusion of minicamp to compete for the job.