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Which Seahawk is the biggest 2017 X-factor?

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Among many candidates.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
let’s just assume that’s a red zone reception
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2016 season, more than a couple Seattle Seahawks X-factors were bandied about. You heard their names; you wished them unabashed success. Jeremy Lane. DeShawn Shead. Paul Richardson. Garry Gilliam. Thomas Rawls. Nolan Frese. Even Jimmy Graham in his return from patellar issues.

Some ended up disappointing, and the team paid for it. Some ended up kicking ass and taking names, maybe even yours. Which is good. We all need a little humbling from time to time.

Well in advance of the 2017 season opener, a lineup of potent X-factors is already starting to take shape. There’s the top draft pick, Malik McDowell. There’s the most expensive free agent, Luke Joeckel.

There’s the polarizing Jermaine Kearse. Kearse was almost impossibly... wearse in 2016 than 2015. His catch rate dropped by 30 points on third down (56.3 to 26.3) and Russell Wilson had a peculiar 1.6 passer rating when targeting Kearse on third down as late as mid-November.

(Read more here — this is a statistical masterpiece by Casey Castle, from last December.)

Lane returns as a wild card, as a guy who could go from shoring up a depleted DB room to playing his way out of the cornerback rotation.

OT George Fant, K Blair Walsh, and more... the list of names boggles; any one of these guys could bring the season glory or turn it gory. So who carries a larger share of the 2017 Seahawks’ fate in his hands than anyone else?

Poll

Among these unknown quantities, whose performance, good or bad, will shape the outcome of the 2017 season the most?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    OT George Fant
    (472 votes)
  • 0%
    LS Nolan Frese, or Tyler Ott, or replacement
    (5 votes)
  • 9%
    OL Germain Ifedi
    (193 votes)
  • 23%
    OL Luke Joeckel
    (473 votes)
  • 1%
    WR Jermaine Kearse
    (22 votes)
  • 3%
    CB Jeremy Lane
    (79 votes)
  • 9%
    DT Malik McDowell
    (191 votes)
  • 2%
    DT Jarran Reed
    (50 votes)
  • 7%
    WR Paul Richardson
    (156 votes)
  • 10%
    K Blair Walsh
    (205 votes)
  • 1%
    LB Whoever The Third Linebacker Is
    (21 votes)
  • 5%
    Catch-all: any other 2017 draftee or any of the young CB such as Pierre Desir or DeAndre Elliott or Neiko Thorpe.
    (109 votes)
1976 votes total Vote Now

As you’ll notice, I left off some commodities that seem proven, and the whole RB room too. Thomas Rawls, if any measure of healthy, will dominate. If C.J. Prosise looks anything like he did against the Patriots and Eagles for six quarters of play, the Seahawks will win more games next season. If Eddie Lacy carries for anywhere close to 1,000 yards, ditto on the added victories. Same with Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett. We’ve seen what those guys can accomplish. The others — they’re far more unknown, far more X-y.