We’ve got just two installments left looking through the potential impact of the players on the 2021 roster. With six days until the season opener, it’s getting serious. These are the dudes. You know their names, but you haven’t seen them on TV. Everyone here is capable of winning a game for their team, which means Pete Carroll decided most of them will be making their debut this year on opening day.
The Top 10 Most Impactful Seattle Seahawks
10. DK Metcalf, wide receiver
Here’s a fun stat: In total yards, Metcalf is the 28th-ranked receiver in the history of the Seahawks franchise. He did that in two seasons.
Metcalf is nuts - and he become the highest player for the Seahawks on the NFL Top-100 in his third year. At a position that gets a ton of attention. Nevertheless, we saw that Metcalf’s 1303 receiving yards alone won’t advance Seattle through the playoffs, which is why he’s not higher on our impact ranking. But it’s been clear from day one that Russell Wilson has absolutely loved this deep threat target who’s just so different than Tyler Lockett. Metcalf’s addition to Lockett gives the Seahawks legitimate playmaking ability on any point of the field. Whether Wilson utilizes all these weapons correctly, are the types of things that will make Seattle’s hopes to finish atop the most competitive division in the NFL.
9. Jordyn Brooks, linebacker
Most fans are going to owe John Schneider an apology on this one. This guy is a really - really - good first-round pick. He played over 50% of the snaps in Preseason Week 1 before the team felt comfortable enough with him as a full time starter to get him the heck out of harms way for the rest of August.
This was probably missed by most, but Brooks was the team’s leading tackler in the final two games of the 2020 season. More than Jamal Adams or Bobby Wagner. He progressed faster throughout the course of one rookie season than any I remember seeing in a long time. Take where he left off by season’s end, and add that sophomore knowledge into the beginning of this season...he’s going to put up some numbers.
The reason Brooks is here on this list is because he and Darrell Taylor combined are why K.J. Wright is not. This is the emotional part of the business, and it’s honestly easier for me to not acknowledge that reality, but it is also an incredible compliment. Wright is one of the best to ever do it, and the brass has faith that Brooks is ready to replace him on the field, though never in our hearts.
8. Tyler Lockett, wide receiver
Hear me out. Will Tyler Lockett have a better season than DK Metcalf? At this point in his career, I think not. But last year, one of them had 132 targets and the other 129. Though only a 1.1% difference, Lockett had 17 more receptions than Metcalf and the same amount of touchdowns.
Lockett is a wildly different player than Metcalf, and until he dies will have more reliable hands than the would-be-Olympian. We also saw, at multiple points throughout the season, how devastating it is when an offense does not have a true #2 threat. Lockett struggled through some injuries at times last year, and it showed on both WR scorecards. Because Lockett has been such a quality receiver for so long - and knows how to handle the different schemes a bit better - he opens up a far higher potential for Metcalf. That’s why I maintain, for at least one more year, even if Lockett doesn’t have a better season than Metcalf, you need him more. That may change at some point, but not yet.
7. Brandon Shell, right tackle
Look I’m not going to lie to you I’ve shamelessly played both sides of the Germain Ifedi card for years. Was he a very reasonable outcome of a first round pick? Yes. Is he still one of the greatest Seahawks to throw under the bus? Absolutely.
Shell is not that and will never be that and it makes me very happy. Last year, Shell allowed three sacks and committed four penalties. In 2017 Germain Ifedi allowed four sacks and committed 21 penalties.
For helping the team move forwards instead of backwards from the right tackle position, Brandon Shell has been upvoted.
6. D.J. Reed,
right left cornerback
He’s not the hero we deserved; he’s the hero we needed. Still, Reed’s really hard to put a finger on. Is he great? I don’t know. Is he even good? Um, probably?
Reed clocks in at extremely average in a swathe of statistics. The reason he’s a top-10 influential player this season is because Seattle chose to have options at every other position this year. Cornerback...not so much. Not yet, at least. There is a glimmer of hope, however. This is the best I can offer in terms of Reed not being a fluke.
Last season, Reed’s passer rating when targeted was 75.8. Defensive golden child and adopted son of D.K. Metcalf - Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots - was 75.7. No, they weren’t one and two, Reed actually comes in at 33rd in the NFL with that number. However, that includes a bunch of dudes that barely qualify but don’t start for their teams, like Jimmy Smith, Matt Milano and our own Ryan Neal.
Of cornerbacks who started 10 or more games last year, Reed was the 7th best in the NFL in passer rating allowed. That is both interesting and encouraging. Again, it might mean nothing, but the drop-off after Reed at the moment is noticeable, and has resulted in a laughable amount of moves and trades from the front office. Can you even imagine how many passing yards this team would give up if the starting defense had not one but two corners worse than Reed?
Tomorrow, the top five.