Power Ranking The Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl Starters
Seattle Seahawks: Power Ranking Super Bowl Starters
It has been a magical season for the Seattle Seahawks, but not one that wasn’t expected. The Seahawks followed an 11-5 record and a loss in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs in 2012 with a 13-3 record and a trip to the Super Bowl in 2013. They were big players in the 2013 offseason, fortifying an already deep defensive line with five new additions and trading for Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin.
Two of the offseason additions were Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Both were key role players who got a lot of snaps during the season, and both were involved in a game changing sack/fumble of San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, which was returned into the red zone in last weekend’s NFC Championship game.
The defensive additions and the emergence of young players such as MLB Bobby Wagner have turned the Seahawks' defense into the best in the league. The Seahawks are No. 1 in nearly all defensive statistical categories, the most important being turnovers created, yards allowed and points allowed.
The offense was given a key versatile weapon in Harvin, which was supposed to help this offense become dynamic, but he only played in one game in the regular season due to injury and was then knocked out of the Seahawks' playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.
Harvin is probable for the Super Bowl after sitting out the NFC championship game with a concussion, a contest which he likely would have been carted off from if he played based on the hits that were shelled out. He will be needed on Super Bowl Sunday as the Seahawks and Russell Wilson struggle produce yards through the air. The fact that big receiver Sidney Rice is on injured reserve doesn’t help.
Seattle will need to move the ball efficiently in the air to keep up with Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense, because even though the Seahawks have the best defense in the league, Denver’s offense averaged 37.9 points per game this season.
The Seahawks are better built for the blizzard conditions, which could present themselves at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ in February. In a game that could set the new record for turnovers in a Super Bowl depending on how sloppy it gets, the Seahawks’ running game with Marshawn “The Moose” Lynch and strong defense instantly gives them an edge.
The Seahawks need to control time of possession and keep the ball away from Manning and the Broncos’ prolific offense. Even though it will be cold and he’ll be playing the NFL’s best defense, Manning will put up points when he has the ball.
If Lynch rushes for more than 100 yards and Wilson has no more than one turnover, the Seahawks will win their first Super Bowl. They need to close out this magical season the right way, and that is with a Lombardi Trophy.
The Seahawks are one of the most loaded in the NFL, so power ranking their starters is tough. Nonetheless, I have done it for you.
22. RG J.R. Sweezy
J.R. Sweezy is the worst starter on the offensive line, which makes him the worst starter on the team. Offensive line is the Seahawks' weak point, and Sweezy is the weakest link. He played the most snaps of any Seahawks' O-lineman this year, but was consistently the worst. This former defensive lineman struggled in both pass-blocking and run-blocking and will likely continue to do so in the Super Bowl when up against Denver's Sylvester Williams and Terrance Knighton.
21. RT Breno Giacomini
Breno Giacomini was supposed to be a solid run-blocker and okay pass-blocker, but he proved run-blocking was an area he struggled. While Giacomini's pass-blocking improved, he was a liability in run-blocking and his back-up out-played him in the seven games he missed due to injury.
20. FB Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson is an eight-year veteran in the NFL, which is impressive for a man who plays a position that is being slowly cropped out of pro football. Robinson is a key part of opening holes for Marshawn Lynch, who ran for more than 1,000 yards again this season.
19. LG James Carpenter
After the Seahawks' offensive line established themselves as the worst unit on the team, it's no surprise I have three out of five starters already listed. James Carpenter and the offensive line are the reason you see Russell Wilson running for his life in highlight films.
18. ROLB Malcolm Smith
This former seventh round pick is starting in the Super Bowl due to the injury of KJ Wright. Malcolm Smith caught the game-sealing interception in the NFC Championship game when Richard Sherman tipped the ball to him in the end zone. Smith has caught an interception in three out the Seahawks' past four games.
17. LOLB Bruce Irvin
Bruce Irvin, who had a big season as a defensive end in 2012, was suspended the first four games of the 2013 season and struggled with his position change. Irvin will have to make an impact in the Super Bowl whether it’s as a blitzer, run-stuffer or in coverage against the Broncos’ talented tight end.
16. TE Zach Miller
Zach Miller is a talented tight end who didn’t have much of a chance to show it this season, as he was kept in to help block very often due to the Seahawks' shaky offensive line. Miller has game-breaking talent and will be able to show it now that Russell Okung is back and healthy.
15. DT Tony McDaniel
Tony McDaniel was a cheap, last-second offseason addition to help add depth to the Seahawks' defensive line. Seattle got what they paid for and more, as the former Miami Dolphin became a starter and played a big role in run defense.
14. CB Byron Maxwell
Byron Maxwell has played admirably after stepping in for a suspended Brandon Browner. Maxwell actually played better than Browner, who was struggling this season before his suspension. Maxwell will likely be the main target of Peyton Manning, so he will need to play the game of his life.
13. WR Golden Tate
Golden Tate, the former Notre Dame standout, is solid as a No. 2 receiver. But in an offense that was in desperate need of a No. 1 receiver, Tate's inability to step up and produce consistently was troubling.
12. DE Chris Clemons
Chris Clemons finds mainly himself as a run-stopper in this Seattle defensive line filled with role players. Clemons, who is now 30 years old, has lost some of his quickness around the corner, but still is very capable of setting the edge. Despite playing on less passing downs, Clemons still tallied 4.5 sacks.
11. DE Red Bryant
Red Bryant is a key part of a run-stopping defense. Like Chris Clemons, he doesn’t play on most passing downs. Instead, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett take their places. Bryant and the Seahawks' defensive line will need to focus on stopping the run game of the Broncos, because if Denver can run the ball on you, their whole playbook is then open. That is when you don't have a chance.
10. WR Doug Baldwin
I love Doug Baldwin. He plays with a "boulder" on his shoulder, and you have to love a player with something to prove. It is why he makes so many impact plays, such as his huge kickoff return and his long downfield reception in the NFC Championship, both of which led to points. After injuries to the two original starters, Baldwin took advantage of his opportunities and remains in the starting lineup.
9. QB Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson is the leader of the offense, and I wish I could put him higher than nine. Wilson's play has been getting worse as the season has gone on, and he didn’t have a great performance in the NFC Championship game. Wilson needs to trust his arm (and receivers) and let the football fly instead of hesitating, then using his legs. Wilson needs to be a game-changer, not just a game-manager, if Seattle wants to win the Super Bowl.
8. DT Brandon Mebane
Brandon Mebane is a huge reason the Seahawks choke out the run so well. He can control two gaps in the run-game, which allows Seattle's linebackers to make easy tackles on the opposing team's running back. Mebane will need to provide the Seahawks with his best performance two Sunday's from now, because if the Broncos have success running the ball, then the Seahawks will never stop that offense.
7. C Max Unger
Max Unger made the Pro Bowl based off reputation (like most players) after a down season. Unger is a great run-blocker, but this season, he struggled along with the rest of Seattles' offensive line.
6. MLB Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner has improved even more in his second season in the NFL, becoming one of the best 4-3 middle linebackers in the league. Wagner, who is a bit undersized, standing at 6-feet, is an instinctive player who led the team in tackles in both of his years with the team.
5. LT Russell Okung
Russell Okung, a former first round pick, is as solid as they come at LT. His only problem is that he has never played a full 16-game season. The good news for Seattle is that Okung will be starting for the most important game of the season. The Seahawks will need him, as their offensive line is their weakest link.
4. SS Kam Chancellor
Kam Chancellor has become the big, scary safety that NFL receivers don’t want to meet over the middle. The man de-cleats tight ends regularly and his coverage skills have improved greatly from last season. Chancellor brings the muscle to this ball-hawking secondary, which is the best in the league. He also had a clutch interception of Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game.
3. RB Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch is consistently the hardest running back to tackle in the NFL. Lynch tallied a new high in broken tackles after running behind the worst O-line he ever had. He has earned the nickname "Beastmode" and will need to bring one more beast-like performance this season to win his first Super Bowl ring.
2. FS Earl Thomas
Earl Thomas has become one of the best safeties in the NFL, and the tandem of him and Chancellor is the best in the league. Thomas had five interceptions this season while offensive coordinators were scheming to keep the ball away from him. He will likely produce at least one game-changing play in the Super Bowl.
1. CB Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman was the least targeted cornerback in 2013, yet led the league in interceptions. Sherman backed his offseason claims that he was the best cornerback in the league and single-handedly (literally) swatted the Seahawks into the Super Bowl with his game-saving deflection that led to a Malcolm Smith interception with less than a minute left in the NFC Championship game.