STACY ROST

Rost: Who has been Seahawks MVP, and who needs to step up in second half?

Nov 5, 2021, 11:19 AM
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf celebrates with Penny Hart and Russell Wilson after a TD catch vs. the Vikings. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Seahawks getting their bye in Week 9 means there’s plenty of tape to review from the first half of the season. And with that review comes our list of candidates for first-half MVP – plus a few other names who need to contribute even more to the second half if Seattle wants to make a push for the playoffs.

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MVP candidates: DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett

Seattle may be without Russell Wilson, but Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf have continued to deliver when targeted (we’ll all collectively forget the offensive performance from the Saints game – deal?). Given that their receiving totals through eight weeks are separated by a single yard (580 for Metcalf and 579 for Lockett) and two catches, we’ll also include them as co-MVPs here.

“(Lockett) has been a huge factor for this offense on every level of the field,” Jake Heaps said when explaining why he chose these two as his first-half MVP pick Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “To me, both he and Metcalf have continued to be the big play weapons for this offense. Why do I have them as my two MVPs? Well, they’re No. 11 and No. 12 in the league in terms of yardage. They’re a top five receiver combo in the league, no question, and I think they’re top three. Metcalf has eight touchdowns, Lockett has three. And both of these guys are picking up huge slack without having Russell Wilson out there and have been a real reason this offense has been productive.”

Metcalf’s eight touchdowns are tied for second in the NFL with Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, trailing only Los Angeles Rams star Cooper Kupp (10). Meanwhile, Lockett’s 142-yard performance against the Jaguars was the third 100-yard game this year (100 yards against the Colts, 178 yards against the Titans).

Who else needs a big second half?

Literally any other pass catcher. Metcalf and Lockett aren’t just Seattle two best receiving weapons, but also two of the best receiving weapons in the league. So, if they’re finding themselves open and making big plays, then by all means keep targeting them. But once again, Seattle has found itself without a third reliable target.

The hope was that a year after tight end Greg Olsen finished with just 239 yards and a touchdown, former Ram Gerald Everett could bring production from the tight end group – especially since he was joining with ex-Rams passing game coordinator and former tight ends coach Shane Waldron, Seattle’s first-year offensive coordinator. But thus far, Everett has just 14 receptions for 135 yards. So, perhaps it’s Everett that can take off in the second half, or fellow tight end Will Dissly, or wide receiver Freddie Swain, or even rookie Dee Eskridge, who’s expected to return to practice after the bye week. But the Seahawks could certainly use a third contributor.

MVP candidate: Quandre Diggs

With his interception of a Trevor Lawrence pass last week, Diggs became the only player in the NFL with at least three picks in each of his last five seasons. And with nine games left to play he has a chance to surpass his career high of five picks.

Even outside of those interceptions, Diggs has been the most consistent contributor in the secondary. He has allowed just 10 completions on 21 targets (47.6%) and a 51.4 passer rating, both of which lead all Seahawks defenders.

Who else needs a big second half?

Jamal Adams. You’d like to see a pick by a cornerback, but Adams has been the biggest acquisition of general manager John Schnieder’s tenure and, as a result, is facing plenty of pressure for a big second half. He’s capable of meeting the bar: he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and first-team All-Pro with the Jets, and he set an NFL record for a defensive back with 9.5 sacks with Seattle in 2020.

Aams hasn’t found quite the same success so far in 2021. He has yet to tally a quarterback hit or a sack and has allowed 17 completions on 30 targets (56.7%). Last year, Adams – along with midseason acquisition Carlos Dunlap – were a catalyst for a resurgence in the pass rush and improvements on defense. Can he do the same in the final nine weeks this year?

MVP candidate: Darrell Taylor

Taylor is a bit of a fun pick. Sure, you could make a case for many other players ahead of him – like Metcalf, Lockett, or Diggs – but the first-year pass rusher been a pleasant surprise for Seattle, which factors in here, as does the fact that he’s gotten to the quarterback more than any other player on defense. You’ve got to give him credit for that, right? He leads the team with four sacks despite not making a single start.

Who else needs a big second half?

Dunlap. It might be unfair to turn to the 32-year-old vet to provide a second-half boost, especially with younger players like Alton Robinson or Poona Ford on the defensive line and free agent additions like Kerry Hyder playing alongside them. But Dunlap remained one of the more impressive pass rushers in training camp and proved last year that he can still contribute with game-changing plays.

More Seahawks coverage from 710Sports.com

Heaps: Seattle improving on D but must get Adams more involved
Chalk Talk: How the Hawks got Lockett and Metcalf going
Rost: The good news and bad news for Seahawks at bye
What the offense needs to get back to doing after bye week

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