You can probably guess who tops my ranking as the most important of the 90 players on the Seahawks roster.
Try as I might, I can’t really, uh, cook up too much suspense about that.
But who else fills out the list of the top 15 players on the Seahawks heading into the 2020 season?
Read on …
15. Defensive tackle Poona Ford
Why he’s ranked here: Seattle fans know all about Ford, who became a full-time starter for the first time a year ago at nose tackle. Maybe this is the year he becomes more of a league-wide name? Ford hopes so — he’s entering the last season of his contract, one of a handful of Seahawks hoping to turn this year into a big-money deal in 2021 from someone.
14. Tight end Greg Olsen
Why he’s ranked here: Olsen is now 35 and at the tail end of a likely Hall of Fame career. But the Seahawks have an almost $7 million cap hit invested in Olsen that he can still be as effective as ever, teaming with a hopefully healthy Will Dissly to form one of the best tight-end combos in the NFL and open things up on the outside for Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
13. Defensive end Rasheem Green
Why he’s ranked here: Green took a big step in Year 2, leading the team with four sacks while playing more snaps (50.9%) on the line than anyone other than Jadeveon Clowney and Quinton Jefferson. With Jefferson gone and Clowney’s status still uncertain, the Seahawks will need to lean on Green even more in Year 3.
12. Linebacker K.J. Wright
Why he’s ranked here: One of the more popular Seahawks ever could be entering his final season with the team, in the second season of a two-year deal signed in spring 2019. He also will have to fight off first-round draft choice Jordyn Brooks to stay at weakside linebacker, or he could be moved to strongside linebacker. Still, whatever his on-field role, in an unprecedented year like this, his locker-room leadership could be more vital than ever.
11. Safety Bradley McDougald
Why he’s ranked here: McDougald has been a steady presence in the secondary the past three seasons, but the hope this year is that he can stay put at strong safety with Quandre Diggs at free instead of having to move back and forth. That sort of stability could go a long way toward fixing some of the secondary’s issues.
10. Linebacker/rush end Bruce Irvin
Why he’s ranked here: Seattle is banking heavily on Irvin being able to replicate the career-high 8½ sacks he had with Carolina last season, serving a dual role of strongside linebacker in the base defense and edge rusher on passing downs. Given the pass-rush needs, that makes Irvin as important as any addition made this offseason.
9. Left tackle Duane Brown
Why he’s ranked here: Brown battled injuries last season and was limited to 12 regular-season games and one in the playoffs. But, when healthy, he remains one of the better left tackles in the NFL — and, this year, one of the few sure things on the offensive line heading into the season.
8. Defensive tackle Jarran Reed
Why he’s ranked here: Reed’s numbers dropped off drastically in 2019, due in part to a six-game suspension to begin the season. But the Seahawks showed they still think Reed is among the better tackles in the game, signing him to a two-year deal that will pay him $11.5 million a season. Now he needs to prove he’s worthy of their faith.
7. Receiver DK Metcalf
Why he’s ranked here: As some of the recent workout videos of Metcalf reveal, even the sky might not be the limit for Metcalf after a 2019 season in which he was second among rookies with 58 receptions and third with 900 yards. But it was the 160-yard effort that sparked the playoff victory in Philadelphia that was his most impressive feat and reset expectations for what Metcalf might be able to do going forward.
6. Running back Chris Carson
Why he’s ranked here: In just three seasons, Carson already is 10th in career rushing yards for the Seahawks (2,589) and has the best per-carry average (4.5) of anyone in the top 10 other than Russell Wilson. The trick will be staying healthy for all 16 games this year.
5. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin
Why he’s ranked here: Griffin made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, appearing more comfortable at the left cornerback spot in his second season there. Now he enters the final year of his rookie contract hoping to show he’s worthy of a contract among the best at his position in the NFL.
4. Safety Quandre Diggs
Why he’s ranked here: The trade for Diggs at midseason proved transformative. In the five regular-season games he played for Seattle, the Seahawks went 4-1, forcing 16 turnovers and winning three games on the road. A big reason for the hope of an improved defense in 2020 lies in Diggs being with the team this year from Day 1.
3. Receiver Tyler Lockett
Why he’s ranked here: A year after Russell Wilson had a perfect passer rating targeting him, Lockett turned in what in some ways was an even more impressive season, taking over for Doug Baldwin as the team’s No. 1 receiver, catching the fourth-most passes in team history (82) for 1,057 yards. Now to wonder if he might someday be able to catch 100 passes in a season.
2. Linebacker Bobby Wagner
Why he’s ranked here: Wagner might now be 30, but don’t tell him he’s lost a step (even if some quibbled last year about his pass coverage at times). Wagner has the second-highest career approximate value of any player taken in the 2012 NFL draft, according to Pro Football Reference, at 95, behind only Wilson (108).
1. Quarterback Russell Wilson
Why he’s ranked here: Sure, you can debate whether the Seahawks ought to let Russ cook more. You can’t debate that he remains the most important player on the team, and that as long as he’s in his prime the Seahawks will be a playoff contender.