Offseason Seattle Seahawks Player Power Rankings
The Seattle Seahawks' roster is bulging with talent. It's hard to find holes in the team's starting lineups, as both the offensive and defensive units are pretty together, though there are some question marks along the offensive line and receiving corps.
But where do the Seahawks players rank amongst each other? There are a few things to consider when making a list like this, but the most important thing is the impact these players make on the team's success.
We've all seen players who don't put up gaudy numbers yet still make a big impact. It's the impact that's most important. That being said, numbers are important—but most of these guys aren't lacking in stats anyways.
Another part of the criteria is their potential impact and their outlook for the 2014 season. Are they facing any competition at their position? Are they healthy? Are they not healthy? These are all things that were considered when compiling this list, as well as what kind of cars they drive. (Of course, I'm kidding—though Malcolm Smith may have jumped up an extra few spots if that was apart of the grading system.)
24. Derrick Coleman, FB
As the first deaf offensive player in NFL history, Derrick Coleman has found a nice little niche with Seattle. Coleman was a very valuable special teamer for the Seahawks last season, and could be moving into a more serious role in 2014.
They allowed incumbent starter Michael Robinson to leave in free agency (though now he's considering retirement), and Coleman seems to be the proper replacement.
He's nearly identical in size to Robinson and has the athleticism needed to succeed as a fullback in the offense.
23. Zach Miller, TE
Tight ends aren't used much in Seattle's passing game, but Zach Miller has been a solid target when they are. Miller was rarely targeted in 2013, but he still managed to reel in five touchdowns.
The Seahawks did kick the tires on free agent tight end Jermichael Finley but were forced to move on after the former Packer failed a team physical.
They still may sign Finley if he can get fully healthy, but for now Miller is their man. He's surely not the greatest tight end, but he's good for what they need—a target who can occasionally separate from defenders to make a catch.
Miller's not a star by any means, but he can get the job done.
22. J.R. Sweezy, OL
J.R. Sweezy isn't regarded as a great player, but he's definitely more than serviceable. Sweezy plays with great technique and is a pretty good athlete. He also has rather smooth footwork.
He came on big time for Seattle during the playoffs last season and helped provide a boost to the team's already potent rushing attack. Barring any misfortune, Sweezy will be the starter at right guard once again next season.
He'll benefit from the Seahawks' upgrade at right tackle, which should help him maintain the level of play he had at the tail end of last season.
21. Tony McDaniel, DT
Tony McDaniel may be getting up there in age, and he was often brought off the field on passing downs, since he doesn't bring much to the table as a pass-rusher. But he more than makes up for it in his ability to set the edge, as he was a valuable piece of Seattle's run defense last season.
What's also great about McDaniel is that he possesses the strength to work against double-teams and get to the ball-carrier. His big frame allows him to occupy multiple blockers and his teammates to make plays.
McDaniel is a talented lineman who is back with the team on a newly signed two-year deal. he should continue to be a big part of the rushing defense.
20. Justin Britt, OL
Justin Britt is the only rookie I've projected to start for Seattle, and it's looking like he's found a home at right tackle. Britt has yet to play a single down of football in the NFL, but he has the aggressive nature and size to fit into offensive line coach Tom Cable's unit quite nicely.
Some would say he projects better as a guard, but given how well Michael Bowie played inside when asked to last season, Britt will likely end up as Seattle's starting right tackle. He's picked things up well so far and will continue to get better as the team makes its way through training camp and preseason.
At the very least, Britt has a bright future ahead of him.
You can expect to see some growing pains this season with Britt, but Cable should be able to mold the Missouri Tiger product into a valuable contributor to the Seahawks offensive line.
19. Michael Bowie, OL
Michael Bowie came on strong for the Seahawks at the end of last season after being selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft. Bowie is good at protecting the passer but truly impresses as a run-blocker.
He's as aggressive as they come and is not scared to barrel into defenders to create running lanes. His physicality and willingness to play until the whistle is what makes him a great fit in Tom Cable's blocking scheme.
Now that the team has drafted Justin Britt and is working him at right tackle, they may let Bowie move inside to guard and let Britt take over on the edge. It's not that Bowie isn't as good or better than Britt, but Seattle needs help inside, and Britt seems to be quite comfortable as the team's right tackle.
Bowie will definitely be a starter for Seattle in 2014, it just may not be at right tackle.
18. Bruce Irvin, LB
Bruce Irvin has built his reputation on getting to the quarterback, but he still lacks some of the skills needed to be a top linebacker in this league. Pass coverage is Irvin's biggest downfall, but otherwise he's pretty dependable.
He's a very gifted pass-rusher who can work as either an outside linebacker or defensive end, and he is also good against the run.
Irvin's starting job could be at risk given the production of both K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith, though he'd still be used as a pass-rusher on obvious passing downs.
17. Max Unger, C
Max Unger has been a stalwart lineman for the Seahawks ever since he was drafted by the team in 2009. He's rather agile for a man of his size and is great at using his hands to defend against opposing pass-rushers.
Unger fits Tom Cable's blocking scheme very well, and we should see even better production now that he has better blockers around him. His balance and technique are his strong suits, but he can get a gritty in the trenches when he needs to.
He finally has a solid supporting cast around him with Michael Bowie and rookie Justin Britt now in the picture, and we could see a revitalized, more effective Unger in 2014.
16. Brandon Mebane, DT
Brandon Mebane didn't record a single sack in 2013, but that's quite alright; he still generated a great deal of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, forcing them into the occasional mistake.
He has the power to anchor down in the trenches, making him so effective against the run. Because of Mebane, the Seahawks could move many guys around in their defensive rotation, giving the other team a wide variety of looks and packages to go up against.
Given his consistency and the flexibility he affords defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Mebane is arguably the team's most valuable defensive lineman.
15. K.J. Wright, LB
K.J. Wright is one of the more well-rounded linebackers in the NFL. He possesses great size at 6'4", 246 pounds and is very consistent across the board.
He can work out of any of the three linebacker spots and has the ability to rush the passer, though he's best as the weak-side 'backer. Wright shines in coverage, as he's great in squaring up receivers and limiting yards after the catch. A reliable tackler, Wright missed just eight tackles all of last season.
His versatility from the linebacker spot makes him such a valuable piece of the Seahawks defense, and Wright will be counted on once again in 2014.
14. Byron Maxwell, CB
Last season, Byron Maxwell did something that many thought wouldn't happen for a long time—make Brandon Browner expendable. Maxwell stepped in for Browner and turned out to be a big-time talent, helping the secondary stay consistent throughout the Seahawks' playoff run.
While he isn't that strong in run support, Maxwell does shines as a tackler, and he recorded four interceptions in just five starts last season. As did Browner, Maxwell has the size to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, so expect him to be another Seahawk defensive back who is very capable in coverage.
Maxwell has proved himself as a dependable, talented bacj and there's little doubt that he'll be the team's No. 2 corner come opening day.
13. Cliff Avril, DE
Pass-rush specialist Cliff Avril became an important part of Seattle's defense very quickly, and is one of the best defenders they have. Though he isn't that great of a run defender, Avril has the ability to generate a good deal of pressure off the edge.
After joining Seattle, he became more of a situational pass-rusher when he was with the Detroit Lions. But the more limited role only helped his production in 2013: Avril recorded eight sacks (second on the team behind Michael Bennett), four passes defensed and a team-leading five forced fumbles.
He's a dangerous rusher off the edge and played a major role in the success of the team's defense last year. 2014 will be a contract year for Avril, and I bet he earns himself another big deal.
12. Sidney Rice, WR
Sidney Rice has been riddled with injury since joining the Seahawks a few years ago, but now he's fully healthy and ready for a big season.
When healthy, Rice is an elite receiver in this league. If he can stay on the field and make plays when called upon, Seattle's offense should really take off, as Rice is the big-bodied receiver needed to stretch the field and dominate in the red zone.
He should be Russell Wilson's best friend if he can keep a clean bill of health.
11. Malcolm Smith, LB
Malcolm Smith didn't have many eyes on him at the beginning of last season, but things have since changed. Smith proved himself as a stud in 2013 when he was moved from strong-side backer to weak-side linebacker.
He isn't much of a pass-rusher, but he is very good against the run. Even though he isn't the biggest guy, Smith has shown to be a fierce tackler who uses his speed to penetrate and make plays on the ball-carrier.
The reigning Super Bowl MVP is also pretty solid in coverage as his fluid hips and effortless movement allow him to stay with receivers and make plays on the ball.
Even though he's built more like a safety, Smith is one of the fastest-rising linebackers in the league.
10. Russell Okung, LT
Russell Okung has been an integral part of Seattle's running game since joining the team in 2010 and is really coming into his own as an NFL lineman.
His production did suffer a bit last season due to a toe injury, but if he returns healthy for 2014, he should be able to kick the level of his play back up a notch.
Okung is more of a finesse blocker than a mauler, but he is an elite lineman nonetheless. He strikes an impressive balance between being a stout run-blocker and a formidable pass-protector. Despite being injured last season, he still held things down on the blind side for a championship-winning team last year.
Okung is undoubtedly a stud lineman and will surely remind everyone of that this coming season.
9. Russell Wilson, QB
Russell Wilson certainly didn't regress from his stellar rookie season, but we did see a few more cracks in his armor than we originally thought. That being said, Wilson was still able to play his part and help the Seahawks win a Super Bowl championship.
He threw for 3,357 yards as well as 26 touchdowns to just nine interceptions in 2013. Those numbers are more than likely to inflate as Seattle has since bolstered its offensive line and strengthened their receiving corps.
Remember: Wilson played the vast majority of last season without Percy Harvin or Sidney Rice and still had pretty good numbers. Especially given the additions of wide receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood through the draft, Wilson's numbers stand to improve greatly.
With another full offseason under his belt and an improved offense around him, Wilson should take a big step forward in 2014.
8. Michael Bennett, DE
One of the best all-around defensive ends in the NFL, Michael Bennett is an especially gifted pass-rusher. He utilizes his big frame and unusual quickness to split blockers and get to the quarterback, but is also very good as a run defender.
He is also very good as a run defender, and his versatility helped the Seahawks' front seven remain consistent throughout their Super Bowl season of a year ago. And Bennett played a huge role in Seattle's win over Denver in the big game, keeping the pressure on Peyton Manning for pretty much the entirety of the evening.
His impressive mix of strength, athleticism and quickness is a big reason why he's a top defensive end in the league.
7. Doug Baldwin, WR
Doug Baldwin came up huge for the Seahawks when they needed a receiver last season.
The former Stanford product caught 50 passes and five touchdowns in 2013. This year the Seahawks will depend on him to help fill the void left by Golden Tate, and I believe he will be just fine in a more expanded role. Russell Wilson has surely matured more as a quarterback and Marshawn Lynch is still, well, Marshawn Lynch.
Baldwin seems like a carbon copy of Tate at times, so he should fill his shoes rather well. He'll be a big part of this offense's production from the get-go.
6. Bobby Wagner, LB
Bobby Wagner is one of the best young defenders in the league and has great range for a middle linebacker. Wagner also has the agility to rush the passer from his Mike linebacker spot.
He's pretty good in coverage and has the ability to keep up with backs and tight ends. And he demonstrates excellent closing speed when the pass is in the air.
Wagner is a sure tackler in the middle of Seattle's defense and was a big part of the team's Super Bowl run in 2013, a season in which he racked up 120 tackles as well as five sacks and two interceptions.
He's a sideline-to-sideline defender who reminds me a lot of London Fletcher. Wagner is blossoming into a pretty fantastic linebacker and leader for this team.
5. Kam Chancellor, S
Kam Chancellor is one of the most respected safeties in the league, and it's largely because of his rare combination of size and athleticism. Chancellor is great in coverage and is also very good as a run defender—he's one of the few safeties who can dominate lining up inside the box.
He's built like a linebacker and may not have the top-end speed that you'd like in a safety, but he still moves laterally rather well. Chancellor recorded 99 tackles as well as six passes defensed and a trio of interceptions.
He's the dominating force on the back end of Seattle's defense, and is a difference-maker in the secondary.
4. Percy Harvin, WR
When healthy, Percy Harvin is a top-10 receiver in this league. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for in speed and explosion, and he showcased that in the last of the four games he played last season. On the biggest stage of them all, Harvin shined under the bright lights of MetLife Stadium.
What makes Harvin such a dangerous weapon for the Seahawks is his ability as a returner and to line up all across the formations on offense, including coming out of the backfield—something we saw in the Super Bowl.
He missed the majority of the season with a hip injury, making some fans question the trade that brought him over from the Minnesota Vikings. But one big kickoff return in the Super Bowl reminded us all as to why Seattle pulled the trigger on the deal.
Harvin has now returned to full health and will be a huge piece of the offense right away. It's unclear if he'll be used out wide or in the slot, but either way he's sure to make an impact.
3. Richard Sherman, CB
Richard Sherman loves to talk, but we were all reminded last season that he can definitely back it up. Sherman makes a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball for Seattle, but his physicality on pass defense isn't the only thing he brings to the table.
He's a chatty guy on the field, and his mind games undoubtedly have an affect on some of the receivers he faces.
I won't compare tipped passes and interceptions to a Pedigree from Hunter Hearst Helmsley, but one could argue that Triple H's Cerebral Assassin nickname could also fit for Sherman.
It's his combination of talent and confidence that makes him one of the league's finest cornerbacks, though his size definitely doesn't hurt. Sherman has helped usher in a new era of big, physical corners, and despite his annoying antics at times I'm sure the Seahawks are glad he's on their team.
2. Marshawn Lynch, RB
When Russell Wilson faltered last season, Marshawn Lynch was there to keep the engines runnin' for Seattle's offense.
Lynch furthered his argument as a top-three running back in this league with his 1,257-yard season in 2013, a season in which he also scored 12 touchdowns—all behind an O-line that was pretty iffy at some points.
Despite not having a prime set of big uglies up front, Lynch shined and was the glue that held together an offense whose passing game was in question for most of the year. Given Wilson's growing pains and the absence of Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, Lynch answered when called upon and was massively important to Seattle's Super Bowl run.
1. Earl Thomas, S
Earl Thomas is not only the best player on the Seahawks' roster, but he's also one of the best safeties in the entire NFL. Thomas is a master in coverage and has the speed to keep up with almost any receiver in the league. He's no stranger to hitting either.
In 2013, Thomas helped lead the way for Seattle's top-ranked defense and was a huge piece of it's playoff puzzle. He also had career highs in tackles, passes defensed, forced fumbles and interceptions.
All in all, Thomas is an elite player who will be a defensive stud for the Seahawks as long as they keep him.