Here are our picks for players to watch for the Seahawks in Thursday night’s game at Oakland.
From Bob Condotta:
1, CB Phillip Adams: Adams, who signed as a free agent in the off-season after playing the last two seasons in Oakland, is becoming an interesting player. A.J. Jefferson, who seemed to have an early hold on the fifth cornerback job if the Seahawks kept that many, is now out for the season. And Jeremy Lane has a groin injury that may not be a big deal, but will keep him out this week. Adams has usually been the backup nickel throughout camp, and that could be something the team may decide if needs if Lane is hobbled at all. And it’s easy to forget that Adams actually has more history of punt returning in NFL games than anyone else on the roster — 37 in a four-year career in which he also played for the 49ers and Patriots and a brief stint with the Seahawks in 2011. A good performance against the Raiders might help tilt the scales his way.
2, WR Bryan Walters: Walters is another for whom the return opportunities against the Raiders could be really big. Walters is battling for a spot on the roster as a receiver and has had a good camp. But it’s his ability as a returner that could put him over the top. While all indications are that Earl Thomas is going to be the lead punt returner, he’s not going to do all of them, and Walters has shown some good ability there. Same with the KO return role, where Percy Harvin will be the lead guy, but where the team will want someone else to handle it at times, as well. Walters missed the Bears game with a rib injury but is healthy now.
3, LB Korey Toomer: Toomer was one of our players to watch last week, as well, in what was his first game after returning from a hamstring injury that held had caused him to miss the first two games But Toomer, who had been a star of the off-season, didn’t get a lot of snaps against the Bears — just seven. He should get a lot more this week as the Seahawks will likely want to give him a long look as they settle on their final linebacker spot or two. The linebacking corps is getting back to full strength so it won’t be easy to make the active roster. Toomer does have practice squad eligibility remaining, however.
And from Jayson Jenks:
1, CB Tharold Simon: Just a year ago, Byron Maxwell was in a similar situation as Simon finds himself: Lost in the depth chart behind a group of talented players at his position. And now look at where he is: a key contributor as Seattle prepares to attempt to defend its title. Simon seems like an accessory piece of the Seahawks’ puzzle right now, but in the upside-down world of professional football, that can change in an instant. Simon has shown signs of potential — that 100-plus-yard interception return for a touchdown, for example — while also still having a ways to go (Remember when he got ejected from the Broncos game?).
2, OT Garry Gilliam: He doesn’t carry the name recognition of second-round pick Justin Britt, another rookie offensive tackle. But Gilliam does carry intrigue. Gilliam battled injuries in college, and he made a position switch late in his career in which he moved from tight end to offensive tackle. Gilliam has the size and athleticism to make him an interesting prospect (He’s 6 foot 6 and 306 pounds), and he’s one of those young guys who sits right on the bubble of the roster.
3, DE Benson Mayowa: One of the stars of the preseason as a rookie a year ago, Mayowa hasn’t been nearly as electric this season. The Seahawks could use some depth at defensive end, and Mayowa enticed the Seahawks enough a year ago to keep him on the active roster for the entire season. But he hasn’t made many plays in any of the first three preseason games, and O’Brien Schofield, who he is battling for a roster spot at defensive end, has usually looked better and been more productive.