Marquise Blair, Justin Coleman cut, other surprises as Seahawks make initial 53-man roster

Rookie Coby Bryant’s recent move from cornerback to inside nickel back is real. For real games, that is.

Josh Jones’ more assured tackles outshone the poor tackles of the often injured Marquise Blair this pre-season.

Only seven defensive linemen have changed Seattle’s move to more 3-4 schemes this season.

And inside linebacker is the team’s thinnest position, making it an imminent sign or move off the league waiver wire the next day.

The Seahawks made their initial 53-man roster for the regular season by the NFL deadline to do so on Tuesday. The surprises are that Bryant won veteran nickel Justin Coleman so thoroughly from Seattle once Coleman, the best nickel DB against slot receivers in the last decade, was released, months after the team signed him back after years away.

Bryant was a starting cornerback early in camp. Then, coach and former defensive back Pete Carroll moved Bryant to beat in the middle of the month. The coach said he wanted to create more opportunities for the aggressive, risk-taking Bryant to make slot plays. He noted that many NFL offenses now have inside, slot receivers ranked third behind outside wide receivers.

With Coleman out, Bryant will get a chance to play with fellow rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen. The equally impressive Woolen has been starting at right corner back for the past three weeks.

Not only did the “reborn” (his and Carroll’s word) Jones make the Seahawks’ roster, but he got them thinking about playing more three-safety looks this season.

For long stretches of camp practices, Jones was on the starting defense with Quadre Diggs and Jamal Adams. That frees up Adams to play closer to the line of scrimmage, more in the pass-rushing role he was in when he set the NFL record for sacks by a defensive back for Seattle in 2020.

Blair, the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019, didn’t make them think about it anymore. Just eight total games played due to season-ending injuries in each of the last two years didn’t help Blair either. His release saves the Seahawks $1.35 million, his scheduled base salary, against the salary cap this season.

Jones had been cut four times in 2 1/2 years. He credits the surgeons who removed his thyroid for changing his life and career. He put an end to the debilitating fatigue and weakness he had early in his career when he was ineffective and eventually released the second round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers.

He could not or would not eat. Normal, everyday tasks were huge challenges. His racing heart rate fired him.

“No one knew,” the 27-year-old safety told The News Tribune this month when it became apparent he was in the defense’s plans for this season. “I didn’t even know where the thyroid was at the time.

“Dealing with that, that was crazy, man.”

Wide receiver Freddie Swain, another former Seahawks draft pick, played away from the team this preseason. Seattle highlighted that fact on Tuesday.

If Dee Eskridge can finally stay healthy, he’s the Seahawks’ extra, fourth wide receiver and punt that Swain once was.

Veteran Marquise Goodwin is the third wide receiver behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

It was no surprise that JJ Arcega-Whiteside didn’t make the team. Arcega-Whiteside, acquired this month from Philadelphia in exchange for defensive back Ugo Amadi, has only earned team practice since his arrival.

The Seahawks waived Josh Johnson with the injury designation. The running backs are captain Rashaad Penny, rookie second-round draft pick Ken Walker, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas.

The team lists Nick Bellore as a fullback, but he has been practicing and climbing as an inside linebacker throughout practice and the preseason.

For now, Bellore is the only backup to start inside linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Cody Burton in the new 3-4. That will change this week. The NFL’s first waiver period ends Wednesday afternoon. Seattle’s active roster is likely to change then.

Miles Adams’ strong summer and preseason games earned him a spot on the defensive line. He did not take LJ Collier’s place, as it seemed he would.

A week after defensive coordinator Clint Hurt was asked about Collier and said, “You can’t club in the bathtub,” the oft-injured and ineffective Collier took the club.

He must have gotten out of the tub in time.

The Seahawks’ 2019 first-round pick was perhaps the biggest surprise player Seattle kept on Tuesday.

Collier’s recent injuries make it possible he could be injured to start the season. That would open up a hole on the roster to add a needed linebacker.

The Seahawks had new fifth-round draft pick Tyreke Smith, along with wide receiver Cody Thompson, end the season on injured reserve. Smith, a linebacker, barely practiced in training camp.

Players who go on IR before or as the first 53-man roster is determined are out for the season. Players placed on IR after the starting 53 have been set may return after missing at least four games.

The only one of the nine draft picks not to make the team is wide receiver Bo Melton. The sixth-round pick out of Rutgers disappointed Carroll in the spring because he was injured shortly after the draft and missed offseason workouts. He then dropped passes in training camp.

Melton and other waived players could return to the Seahawks’ practice squad. The team will determine that after the first waiver period ends Wednesday afternoon.

As has been the case every year under Carroll, two more undrafted rookie free agents made the team: linebacker Joshua Onujiogu from Framingham State and safety Joey Blount from Virginia.

The Seahawks’ starting 53-man regular season roster (starters daring):

Quarterback (2): Geno SmithDrew Locke

Running back (4): Rashaad Penny, Ken Walker, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas

Wide receiver (6): DK Metcalf, Tyler LockettMarquis Goodwin, Dee Eskridge, Penny Hart, Derek Young

Tight end (3): Noah FantWill Disley, Colby Parkinson

Forwards (9): Charles Cross, Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, Abe LucasJake Curhan, Kyle Fuller, Stone Forsythe, Phil Haynes

Defensemen (7): Poona Ford, Al Woods, Shelby HarrisBryan Mone, Quinton Jefferson, LJ Collier, Myles Adams

Linebackers (8): Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Darrell Taylor, Uchenna NwosuBoye Mafe, Alton Robinson, Joshua Onujiogu, Nick Bellore

Cornerbacks (6): Sidney Jones, Tarik WoolenKobe Bryant, Artie Burns, Michael Jackson, John Reed

Safeties (5): Quandre Diggs, Jamal AdamsJosh Jones, Ryan Neal, Joey Blount

Specialists (3): Michael Dickson, Jason Myers, Tyler Ott

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