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September 1, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Do practice squad players make an impact?

One thing we’d like to try to do here as the season gets going is make the blog a little more interactive.

With that in mind, I thought I’d try to answer a question a reader sent me tonight, which was this — do players signed to practice squads ever end up making an impact?

The question was timely since the Seahawks are in the midst of assembling their initial eight-man practice squad for this season — expect it to come tomorrow, though as one of the earlier posts below details, most of the names have appeared to leak out already.

What obviously has to be realized is that any practice squad player is a player who generally was just cut from a team that had an entire training camp and three or four exhibition games to evaluate him. That doesn’t mean a team can’t miss in its evaluation, or a player can’t get better or his role change in some way that allows for better use of his talents. But suffice to say, first-round picks usually aren’t ending up on practice squads.

I couldn’t find anything that showed a percentage of practice players overall who end up contributing significantly.

But what I thought we could do is simply look at Seattle’s previous three initial practice squads (meaning the ones signed immediately after the 53-man roster was established) under coach Pete Carroll and see what we find.

2012

LB Allen Bradford

T/DT Edawn Coughman

G Rishaw Johnson

WR Jermaine Kearse

WR Ricardo Lockette

QB Josh Portis

S DeShawn Shead

LB Korey Toomer

Comment: Maybe indicative of the rise in talent on this team, this isn’t a bad group. Only Toomer and Coughman were never on the active roster last season, and Kearse and Bradford are each on the 53-man for this season, with Kearse in particular playing a potentially critical role this season. And Toomer remains in the organization but on IR right now with a knee injury.

2011

RB Vai Taua

CB Ron Parker

WR Ricardo Lockette

WR Owen Spencer

DE Maurice Fountain

DE Jameson Konz

OL Brent Osborne

CB Josh Pinkard

Comment: Not as much impact from any of these players. Konz, Parker and Lockette all ended up on the active roster for at least one game in 2011. None are still with the team with Parker and Konz getting cut this year.

2010

CB Maurice Brown

LB Joe Pawelek

DE James Wyche

QB Zac Robinson

WR Pat Williams

CB Ross Weaver

RB Chris Henry

OG Lemuel Jeanpierre

Comment: The big contributor of this group ended up being Jeanpierre, who remains the team’s backup center. None of the rest are still with the Seahawks. Pawelek and Henry were each on the active roster for one game in 2010 while Robinson was also on it as a third quarterback.

The upshot? Practice squads (with the current format established in 1989) have a value in supplying teams with more players to, well, practice, and call on when injuries and other issues hit, and also to allow a team to keep around players it wants to look at longer. But the numbers suggest  you’re usually best off not expecting a future All-Pro to emerge.

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