The Seahawks’ active roster currently has eight 2017 NFL Draft picks, a handful of free agents, and another three players acquired via trade. Through 12 games, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk wondered: Which of those players has been the best first-year player so far for Seattle?
After running a very scientific poll, Brock Huard and Mike Salk were surprised by the results of the more than 5,000 fans who voted.
Who has been the best first year Seahawk in 2017?
— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) December 5, 2017
“The answer is obviously Duane Brown,” Mike Salk said. “There’s not even room for debate here as far as I’m concerned.”
Brown was one of four choices offered to 710 ESPN Seattle listeners Wednesday – though he didn’t come out on top for voters. The winner of that poll was rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin (45 percent of the vote), followed by Sheldon Richardson (32%), Brown (16%) and Bradley McDougald (7%).
“Here’s the thing: my opinion on this is short and sweet,” Salk argued. “The offensive line was by far the worst thing on this football team. It was the only conversation we’ve had for at least two and-a-half years. They traded for Duane Brown; it’s no longer a problem. It was that simple. All they had to do was acquire Duane Brown and now the offensive line is fine… (he) changed the entire offense.”
The offensive line jumped from 30th in the league in pass protection to 8th following the addition of Brown, according to Pro Football Focus. Quarterback Russell Wilson was under pressure almost 40 percent of the time earlier this season; that number has dropped to 22.8%.
Huard gave fans the benefit of the doubt, noting that it’s easy to select a rookie when considering first-year impact, and Griffin has been especially impressive. However, he also agreed that Brown should be the uncontested pick.
“You’ve been looking for that guy to dominate on the field and off the field. You’ve been looking for it since Max Unger left here. And now you’ve found a guy that by all accounts, from the head man down – and you ask anybody there in that building on a daily basis – the dude just has changed the dynamic.”