J.D. McKissic, Jordan Roos among lesser known pieces making impact

Wild Card Round - Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks

RENTON -- With Seattle's preseason opener less than a week away, it seemed like a good time to take a look at some of the unheralded members of the Seahawks' 90-man roster that are making a push for roster spots in training camp.

Performances in preseason games will be vital for this group of players as they hope to find a way to crack the 53-man roster when cut downs occur at the end of the month.

Here's a quick look as some of the players to watch over the next four weeks:

Running back/wide receiver/returner J.D. McKissic

McKissic is officially listed on Seattle's roster as a running back. However, he wears a receiver's number, No. 14, and has been used as a pass catcher just as frequently as he's been deployed in the backfield.

McKissic joined the Seahawks last December after being claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons. He appeared in the regular season finale and in both playoff games for Seattle last year. McKissic had two carries for five yards and three catches for 21 yards in his three total games last season.

The way McKissic has been used so far in training camp indicates a desire by the Seahawks to have some insurance for C.J. Prosise, who appeared in just six games as a rookie due to various injuries. Prosise was a dynamic weapon for Seattle, when healthy, in his ability to line up as a running back or receiver and handle a full route tree as a wide out.

McKissic is seemingly being groomed for a similar role. Additionally, his return ability would provide a reserve option for Tyler Lockett as he returns from a broken leg.

"He's a guy that can play both spots," head coach Pete Carroll said. "We saw that last year. We brought him in to see if he could do a job for us coming out of the backfield and be a third down guy. Knowing he had wide receiver background, we thought that would give us some flexibility very much like C.J. has. We left him at wide receiver the entire offseason to make sure that he could catch up at the wide receiver spot and now he's back to playing both. He can play running back and he can play receiver and he's a punt and kickoff returner. He plays really hard. He's one of the most consistent, high-intensity guys on the field. You can see it every day when you watch him and he's making a big pitch to make this team."

Guard Jordan Roos

Rookie guard Jordan Roos was an undrafted free agent signing in May out of Purdue University.

Since his arrival with the Seahawks, the coaching staff has been excited about the gem they believe they've unearthed. Roos has received occasional run with the first-team offensive line at left guard throughout training camp and has managed to make a positive impression. 

"Tom has done quite a bit of exchanging guys just to make sure we're getting a good look," Carroll said in discussing Roos getting first-team work on Wednesday. "We want to see guys play with other guys, see how the connection clicks or not."

But Carroll couldn't hold back excitement from there.

"Jordan Roos is really on his game," he continued. "This is a great pickup. To get him as a free agent... if he would have been a middle round draft pick, I think we got a good guy. I just think he's going to play for us. He's going to be a guy here for a good while. I think he's going to compete and be a tough guy from the word go. I'm really fired up about him."

Carroll's comments leave a pretty clear indication to expect Roos to be on the 53-man roster at the end of training camp.

Defensive tackle Tylor Harris

Harris initially joined the Seahawks in training camp last year before spending the season on the team's practice squad. Harris was an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest.

Harris has received some time with the first-team defense at the tackle spot during the first two weeks of camp.

"Big space eater," defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. "He’s got really good feet. He’s got the ability to  strike and shed with his hands. So he’s got hands strength. He’s got  really good arm length and then he’s light on his feet for a big guy.  So, he’s another guy that we’re really pleased with his progression."

With Malik McDowell potentially out for the year, it could create an opening for Harris to find a way onto the roster.

Safety Marcus Cromartie

Cromartie may have the toughest path to overcome to find his way onto Seattle's roster, but he has looked the part at times during camp. During practice on Wednesday, Cromartie ran stride for stride with tight end Jimmy Graham down the sideline and managed to break up a pass for Graham from Russell Wilson.

"He's competing to make the club here in a number of different ways, special teams as well as at safety," Carroll said. "He's got a little bit of corner background too so it makes him pretty versatile. So we're happy to see that he's making good progress right now."

Safety is a stacked position for the Seahawks with Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Bradley McDougald and draft picks Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill already competing for four or possibly five spots. Cromartie will have to earn a spot through special teams performance.

Fullback Tre Madden

With the release of Kyle Coleman, only Madden and veteran Marcel Reece remain at the fullback position. While Madden is listed on the roster as a running back, he's primarily worked as a fullback during the offseason and into training camp.

"He's right in it. He's been leading the spot the whole time," Carroll said. "He's been there all offseason. He knows what's going on in all phases. He can catch the football, he can run the football. We know he has great running background so that gives us a flexibility when it comes to roster time and he's a budding special teams guy. He could be a core special teams guy for us so we're anxious to see how that plays out. That will be another one that will take us all through camp to figure out."

Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks  warms up with J.D. McKissic #30 before the NFC Wild Card game against  the Detroit Lions at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle,  Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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