The final week of the preseason is upon us and the Seattle Seahawks—along with the other 31 teams in the NFL—still have roster decisions to make. This Saturday, all 32 teams in the league are required to trim their rosters down to 53 players ahead of the regular season.
Therefore, the last game of the preseason is typically used to give the players who are ‘on the fence’ to make the roster one last chance to make an impression on the team. Through three weeks, Seattle finds themselves with a 2-1 record heading into Thursday.
In their preseason finale, the Seahawks will be taking on Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders. The team currently on HBO’s Hard Knocks is looking to remain undefeated in their exhibition games this preseason.
For the Seahawks, they are coming off of a 23-15 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Russell Wilson played in his second preseason game and was able to lead two drives that resulted in touchdowns. Both C.J. Prosise and Rashaad Penny capped of those drives with short-yardage rushing touchdowns.
Entering their preseason finale, the Seahawks will want to get the most out of the players who are still in competitions at their respective positions.
Here are three key players to watch in the Seahawks’ preseason finale against the Raiders.
3. John Ursua
The biggest focus for the Seahawks this offseason was to surround Russell Wilson with more weapons in the aerial attack. Seattle did just that by drafting D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings, and John Ursua in this year’s draft.
Everyone knows about Metcalf and Jennings but tend to overlook what Ursua can bring to the offense. Ursua was selected by Seattle just 18 picks away from the final pick of the draft out of Hawaii.
In his junior season at Hawaii, the rookie receiver caught 89 receptions for 1,343 yards and 16 touchdowns. The 25-year old wideout quickly translated his production from college to the practice field in training camp.
Ursua has been relentless in training camp and could supply this offense with some much-needed production through the air. Last week, the Hawaii product had his best preseason outing with two receptions for 52 yards.
With all of the injuries at the wide receiver position right now, Seattle could definitely use Ursua in certain situations.
The Seahawks seventh-round pick will have one more game to show just why he should be considered for a role in the passing attack.
2. Paxton Lynch
Coming into training camp, it was well known that Paxton Lynch and Geno Smith were going to compete for the backup quarterback job. Up to this point of the preseason, Carroll still doesn’t seem to have a definitive answer on who will sit behind Wilson in Week 1.
The Seahawks signed Lynch as a free agent after the former first-round pick of the Denver Broncos failed to make things work as a starter. Lynch spent two seasons in Denver where he started in just four games and lost three of them.
Now, Lynch is getting a chance to redeem himself and develop behind a proven quarterback in the NFL in Wilson. The 6-foot-7 quarterback got off to a fast start in the preseason with 109 yards on 11 completions and a touchdown against his former team. Lynch also ran for 38 yards and another score on the ground.
Then, in his second preseason game with Seattle, Lynch was struggling before he took a nasty hit from Holton Hill of the Minnesota Vikings. As a result, Lynch entered the concussion protocol and missed last week’s game against the Chargers.
On Thursday night, the fourth-year quarterback will have one last game to show why the team should trust him as the immediate backup to Wilson this year.
1. Geno Smith
Similarly to Lynch, Geno Smith is trying to earn his way back to becoming a starter in the NFL again. It’s kind of fitting that both of them are competing for the same job in Seattle.
Smith is entering his seventh season in the NFL and the veteran quarterback still believes he can be a starter in this league. Since leaving the New York Jets in 2016, Smith has been on three teams now in hopes that a team would give him a chance to play.
At 28-years old, the former second-round pick is currently in a very close race with Lynch for the backup quarterback spot. In two preseason games, Smith has completed 14 of his 27 passing attempts for 175 yards.
Smith has also tacked on 35 yards and a touchdown with his legs.
The once starting quarterback of the Jets will have one last game to prove himself worthy of remaining in Seattle beyond the preseason.