Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch among nine Seahawks in top 100
A panel of 71 voters, including ESPN analysts, Insiders, reporters, and Stats & Info NFL experts, as well as partner sites including Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders have ranked the top 100 players in the league.
Nine Seattle Seahawks made the cut, three more than any other team. Below is a look at each player, along with where they were ranked.
8. Richard Sherman, CB
He finished one spot above Darrelle Revis as the league's top corner. Sherman shuts down an entire side of the field and makes teams pay when they throw his way. His 24 interceptions since the start of 2011 are easily tops in the NFL. No other defender has had more than 15.
14. Marshawn Lynch, RB
He is a true workhorse back with 280 carries or more in four straight seasons. Lynch has shown no signs of slowing down. He averaged 4.7 YPC last season, the second best mark of his career, and scored a personal best 17 touchdowns. According to Football Outsiders, Lynch averaged 2.5 yards after contact last year, second in the league among running backs who had at least 100 carries. Adrian Peterson (11th) was the only running back who finished ahead of Lynch.
15. Earl Thomas, S
In previous years, when college safety prospects were asked who they wanted to emulate, they said Ed Reed. Now? A large number point to Thomas. His range is unmatched, and that allows the Seahawks to use single-high looks all game long. In addition to playing the deep middle, Thomas can attack downhill and make plays in the run game. Among the top 35 players on the list, Thomas was the only safety.
23. Jimmy Graham, TE
In what was considered by some to be a down year in 2015, Graham still caught 85 balls for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Seahawks acquired him via trade from the Saints and are counting on Graham to help them improve their 14th-ranked red zone offense from a year ago. Rob Gronkowski (fifth) was the only tight end who finished ahead of Graham.
32. Bobby Wagner, LB
He is a master at reading, diagnosing and finishing at the ball. Wagner had 104 tackles last year, even though he missed five games due to injury. He was rewarded this offseason with a four-year, $43 million contract extension. Carolina's Luke Kuechly (13th) was the only inside linebacker to finish ahead of Wagner.
33. Russell Wilson, QB
Before he got his contract extension, many argued over where Wilson ranked among his peers. According to this list, he's seventh, behind Aaron Rodgers (second), Tom Brady (third), Andrew Luck (12th), Peyton Manning (19th), Ben Roethlisberger (24th) and Tony Romo (31st). Wilson completed 63.1 percent of his passes last year and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt. He's thrown 46 touchdowns against 16 interceptions the past two seasons, and Wilson used his legs more than ever before last season, rushing for 849 yards while averaging 7.2 YPC.
36. Kam Chancellor, S
He is part enforcer and part big brother in the Seahawks' secondary. Even while holding out, Chancellor's been watching film and advising the younger safeties on the team. The Seahawks need him, and if Chancellor really wants to exercise leverage, he may have to show he's willing to lose paychecks in the regular season. The only safety on the list ranked higher than him is his teammate, Thomas.
60. Michael Bennett, DL
The Seahawks play him at defensive end in their base looks and move Bennett inside in nickel. He has versatility and pass-rush skills. According to Football Outsiders, Bennett's 28.5 hurries led the team last year, and he also posted seven sacks to go along with 13 QB hits.
91. Russell Okung, OT
The Seahawks have done plenty of mixing and matching on the offensive line this summer, but Okung has been a constant. He's been a five-year starter at left tackle and is only 26 years old. Okung is a free agent after this season, and the Seahawks will have to determine what his worth is going forward. He is the eighth-ranked tackle on the list.
Sheil Kapadia | espn.com | September 1, 2015