Moore: Ranking the Seahawks’ 20 best players going into the 2020 season
Several years ago, I wrote a story for the Kitsap Sun ranking every Seahawks player on the roster from 1 to 53. This time around, I’m reducing it to the top 20 players.
Why 20? I’m looking at the best starters on offense and defense, and it’s tricky. Depending on the personnel packages, the Seahawks might be using two tight ends and two wide receivers or some other variation, and on the other side of the ball, there’s a defensive line rotation that could use as many as six players.
Plus there are uncertainties at some spots such as right cornerback where Quinton Dunbar, if he can avoid potential legal issues, is expected to replace Tre Flowers. At linebacker, will Jordyn Brooks replace K.J. Wright? And at strong safety, will Marquise Blair replace Bradley McDougald?
I’m also going to leave out the kicker and punter, though you could certainly make a great argument for Michael Dickson to be in the top 20 and maybe even Jason Myers.
As is the case with most top 20 polls, there will be an honorable mention of players who didn’t quite make the cut, and some you think should have at least received honorable mention but didn’t for one reason or another – Ugo Amadi, L.J. Collier, Poona Ford, Phillip Dorsett and Branden Jackson are among the most notable omissions.
And as is ALWAYS the case, you might disagree with these rankings, but what the heck, here goes.
Also receiving votes: Jacob Hollister, Rashaad Penny, Benson Mayowa, Damien Lewis, B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell, Flowers and Blair. Hollister led the Seahawks in receptions in the last seven games but is in a more crowded tight-end room this year with headline addition of Greg Olsen and return of Will Dissly.
Penny flashed last year before injuring his knee, and I’m expecting a second half of the season where he’s trying to find his form again.
Mayowa is supposed to help the pass rush, but I’ve got questions about that. He had all 7 of his sacks in the first half of the season for the Raiders last year.
Lewis was drafted in the third round to replace D.J. Fluker at right guard. If the Seahawks thought enough of him to release the popular Fluker, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and give him honorable mention.
Finney is expected to replace Justin Britt but is said to be a better guard than center and never was a full-time starter in Pittsburgh.
Shell was signed as a free agent to replace Germain Ifedi but was viewed as nothing special with the Jets. Should still be considered an upgrade, however slight, over Ifedi.
Flowers goes from a pretty steady starting outside cornerback to a backup who could challenge Ugo Amadi at the nickel spot.
As a second-round draft choice last year, Blair could beat out McDougald this year, but I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s too much veteran savvy with McDougald and not enough time for Blair to get up to speed with virtual workouts replacing actual workouts.
20) Darrell Taylor, defensive end: I’m simply betting on the Seahawks’ belief in the rookie from Tennessee and the fact that John Clayton thinks he’ll lead the team in sacks this year.
19) Rasheem Green, defensive end: I’m not entirely sold on Green, but he will be the answer to a two-part trivia question in Seattle bars someday, as in: “Hey, remember back in 2019 when the Seahawks’ No. 1 guy in sacks was Rasheem Green with four?”
18) Mike Iupati, left guard: There are no assurances that he’ll even be the starter, and I was surprised that the Seahawks re-signed him, but I’ll stand by the veteran to keep his job and at least give the left side of the line some continuity.
17) Carlos Hyde, running back: I love this late free-agent addition. Hyde ran for more than 1,000 yards last year in Houston and might prevent Penny from getting his backup job back when he returns after six games.
16) Bradley McDougald, strong safety: His play didn’t measure up to his 2018 season, but he was still good enough to hold off fan favorite Blair, and I’m sensing he’ll be the starter again this year.
15) Jordyn Brooks, linebacker: Will the first-rounder from Texas Tech end Wright’s career in Seattle? Will he eventually replace Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker? These are high expectations, but still just a lot of talk until we see him on the field, and the Seahawks have swung and missed on first-rounders before.
14) Jarran Reed, defensive tackle: The Seahawks gave him a two-year, $23 million contract, which showed that they have a lot more faith in him than I do. He had a disappointing season after a 10.5-sack season in 2018 and was part of a poor defense against the run as well.
13) K.J. Wright, linebacker: He is coming off one of his best seasons, but his age (31 in July), $6.5 million salary and addition of Brooks make me wonder if he’ll actually be with the Seahawks this year. I certainly hope so.
12) Greg Olsen, tight end: He had 52 catches with Kyle Allen throwing him the ball in Carolina last year. Imagine what he’ll do with Russell Wilson, even at the age of 35.
11) Will Dissly, tight end: Dissly might have cracked the top 10 were it not for two seasons cut short by injuries. Can he bounce back again?
10) Bruce Irvin, defensive end: Irvin figures to lead the Seahawks in sacks this year. A consistent quarterback harasser who has averaged a little more than 7 sacks the last five seasons.
9) Shaquill Griffin, cornerback: I’m not as high as most on the right cornerback since Griffin has gone 31 straight games without an interception. But metrics show he’s a top-flight player at his position.
8) Quinton Dunbar, cornerback: Dunbar was rated by Pro Football Focus as the second-best cornerback in the league last year behind Richard Sherman. He still needs to deal with charges of armed robbery before he can replace Flowers and improve the secondary.
7) Quandre Diggs, safety: The Seahawks came up with 16 takeaways in Diggs’ five regular-season games at free safety. A full season should be a big upgrade for the Seahawks’ defense.
6) Bobby Wagner, linebacker: Wagner is coming off another good season statistically but will need to improve to justify his $18 million contract. I’m predicting this will be his last year in Seattle unless he takes a pay cut next year.
5) Tyler Lockett, wide receiver: Lockett had his first 1,000-yard season last year and he gives the Seahawks one of the best one-two receiving combinations in the league.
4) Duane Brown, left tackle: A warhorse who turns 35 in August is still chugging along as the primary anchor of an offensive line that may have as many as four new starters.
3) DK Metcalf, wide receiver: A breakout star in his first season, Metcalf could overtake Lockett as the No. 1 guy this year. Off of his 900-yard rookie season, Metcalf projects as one of the top receivers to watch in the 2020’s.
2) Chris Carson, running back: I’m probably rating him higher than you would, but we saw what the Seahawks’ rushing attack was like in the playoffs without him. Carson brings a violent, punishing style that is exactly what Pete Carroll wants for his running game. He’s playing out his rookie contract this year.
1) Russell Wilson, quarterback: Wilson is No. 1 on everyone’s list for good reason. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a future Hall of Famer. He’s not as fast as he used to be at 31 but is still elusive and accurate as ever.
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