On Monday, I laid out why I’m most hyped for C.J. Prosise next season, but he’s obviously not the only one who I can’t wait to see out there for the Seahawks. Earl Thomas is probably the name I’ve heard the most in terms of players that Seattle fans are most excited to see get on the field again. Russell Wilson getting a fresh, healthy start. Eddie Lacy wrapped in blue and green. Shaq Griffin, not Malik McDowell, might be the rookie whose name I’ve heard toted the most, probably because he could be getting primo snaps as a starting cornerback in the Legion of Boom.
There are many answers, none wrong. But what about players who don’t suit up for the Seahawks?
As an NFL fan, there are a bunch of dudes who are going to force many of us into Sunday Ticket packages because getting only Seattle coverage simply won’t be enough. There are so many players — young and old, new teams and rookies, rivalries and newfound friendships — that I can’t wait to see in 2017. What about you? Here are a few off the top of my head.
Myles Garrett, edge, Cleveland Browns
He’s got that number one overall pick shine, but it goes beyond that. Garrett is the best edge rushing prospect since maybe Mario Williams in 2006, but you could probably take it a step further and say Julius Peppers in 2002. I do believe that Garrett will be dominant right away, which should also improve the play of Cleveland’s other exciting young defensive linemen -- Danny Shelton and Emmanuel Ogbah. The fact that they are all doing this for the Browns, a franchise so pathetic over the last 18 years that you’d be a monster to not root for their success, only adds fuel to the fire.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
A guy who could legitimately change the running back position if he reaches his full potential. If he played for the Cowboys last year instead of Zeke, he might have topped 2,000 yards.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots
Yes, it’s the hated Patriots, but I can’t help but respect their constant hustle to get better and create a God-level end-game boss for someone to defeat. 16-0 is not out of the realm of possibility again and Cooks will play a major part in their success. He could manage 130 catches in this offense.
Joey Bosa, DE, LA Chargers
Who knows what would’ve happened to the Chargers or Bosa last season if they didn’t somehow manage a long holdout under the current CBA. He was one of the best defensive ends in the NFL as soon as he stepped onto the field. He could be a top-3 d-lineman.
Calais Campbell, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars
He’s not on the Cardinals anymore. He’s instead the centerpiece of a fascinating Jags defense that now also includes AJ Bouye and Barry Church via free agency, defensive end Dawuane Smoot in the third round of the draft, plus Malik Jackson, Dante Fowler, Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, and another guy I wanna put high on this list of players I’m hype for: Jalen Ramsey.
We are nearing the point of calling Ramsey one of the top five cornerbacks in the game. So overall I’m hyped to see if the Jags defense can actually live up to positive expectations.
Jadeveon Clowney, OLB, Houston Texans
He was starting to get it last season and now with JJ Watt back, how good will their edge be between those two and Whitney Mercilus?
Tony Jefferson, S, Baltimore Ravens
Another key player that the Cards lost and it sounds like he could become a transformative player in the Baltimore defense already.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
This will be Tyrod’s best chance to prove he’s worthy of being an NFL starter, without question, now that he’s playing for former Carolina OC Sean McDermott. Could Tyrod be as productive as Cam Newton? That might be a tall order. But is he a better passer than Cam Newton? Maybe.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Honestly, as bad as the AFC South has been for so long, this is an interesting year. I love what the Titans are doing. I am intrigued by what the Jaguars are doing, but skeptical that Blake Bortles can help. The Colts have an exceptionally talented quarterback but not much else. The Texans have JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. This is the most competitive division.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
I’m still a little on the fence with Ajayi. Let’s see how the followup season goes.
John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
My favorite receiver in the draft and I went to Washington State. I think the Bengals could struggle overall but Ross paired with A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert is gonna be something to watch. I know a lot of people will also have eyes on Joe Mixon.
Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints
Rob Staton and I talked a lot about Rankins before the 2016 draft because he’s one of the most explosive prospects to come around in awhile. He got injured last year but when he came back, he was fairly dominant at times. A full season next to Nick Fairley and Rankins could become a 10-sack defensive tackle.
Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons
Another 2016 rookie who I think is about to take it to new heights, Neal was already pretty impactful during Atlanta’s Super Bowl run. The guy a lot of people are calling “The Next Kam.”
Jaylon Smith, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Can he play?
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Maybe on the verge of leading the NFL in receptions and receiving yards. Thomas came out the gate as hot as any receiver Drew Brees has had, so the time in which their careers overlap could be special.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
I’ll leave Marshawn’s details up to you guys in the comments.