2016 cheat sheet: Seattle Seahawks
[Editor’s note: This article was updated on Aug. 31, 2016.]
To get you ready for the 2016 NFL season, the PFF analysis crew is assembling team “cheat sheets” to catch you up on the latest changes, grades, and rankings of note involving your NFL team.
The Seattle Seahawks have been arguably the best team in the NFL over the past three years, with three trips to the playoffs and two Super Bowl appearances, including the hoisting of the the Lombardi Trophy three years ago. With an aggressive defense that is loaded with talent and exciting skill-position players ready to break out—like wide receiver Tyler Lockett—Seattle should be viewed as one of the favorites in the NFC again this year.
Three biggest things to know
1. Russell Wilson remains one of the best in the game.
Not many people expected Russell Wilson to become one of the best quarterbacks in football when the Seahawks drafted him in the third round back in 2012, but that’s exactly what he’s become. Capable of challenging defenses both with his arms and his legs, Wilson forced 11 missed tackles on 101 runs last year, and finished 2016 as our sixth-highest graded quarterback overall.
2. Seattle looking at several RB options to replace Marshawn Lynch.
The loss of Marshawn Lynch in the Seahawks’ backfield is huge, and one for which the team has added several players to try to and address. Thomas Rawls impressed last season as a backup and as a replacement while Lynch was out injured, forcing 26 missed tackles on 147 carries as he rushed for 830 yards and four touchdowns. They drafted C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, and Zac Brooks, but Christine Michael is one to watch too, after finally starting to impress last year; he averaged 4.9 yards per carry and forced seven missed tackles while rushing for 192 yards on 39 carries late in the 2015 season.
3. On paper, the Seahawks’ offensive line looks poor again.
The Seahawks’ offensive line has been their biggest weakness in recent years, and it looks set to remain that way in 2016. They drafted Germain Ifedi in the first round, but he earned a negative grade in 2015 for Texas A&M. They have veterans in tackles Garry Gilliam and J’Marcus Webb, guard Mark Glowinski, and center Justin Britt, but no player on this unit earned a higher overall grade than 49.9 last year.
Key arrivals and departures
Top three draft picks: G Germain Ifedi (Round 1, pick No. 31 overall, Texas A&M), DT Jarran Reed (Round 2, pick No. 49 overall, Alabama), HB C.J. Prosise (Round 3, pick No. 90 overall, Notre Dame)
Signed in free agency: CB Brandon Browner (Saints), J’Marcus Webb (Raiders)
Left via free agency: LB Bruce Irvin (Raiders), OT Russell Okung (Broncos), DT Brandon Mebane (Chargers), J.R. Sweezy (Buccaneers)
Rookie to watch
Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (Round 2, pick No. 49 overall)
The Seahawks traded up with the Chicago Bears to land Jarran Reed, and he is the perfect plug-and-play replacement to Brandon Mebane in their defensive system. A monster against the run in his final season with Alabama, Reed earned the second-highest run-defense grade among players on the defensive interior last year, notching 35 tackles that resulted in a defensive stop.
Highest-graded player of 2015
Doug Baldwin, WR, 91.1 overall grade
Baldwin elevated himself to become our seventh-highest graded NFL receiver last year. Outstanding with the ball in his hands, he forced 18 missed tackles on 78 receptions, and dropped just two of the 80 catchable passes thrown his way. Taking full advantage of his role as the Seahawks’ No. 1 receiver, Baldwin became Russell Wilson’s top target, and one of the best in the NFL.
Tyler Lockett, WR
With Baldwin grading as one of the best receivers in football, the Seahawks are poised to have one of the best WR duos in the NFL if second-year receiver Tyler Lockett can improve in 2016. Lockett recorded the third-most receiving yards by a rookie last year, scoring six touchdowns and forcing eight missed tackles on 51 receptions. A weapon on returns, too, the sky is the limit for the player who was our 32nd-ranked WR as a rookie.
Base defense (2015 season grades shown)
Base offense (2015 season grades shown)