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PFF’s rankings for Seahawks position groups might surprise you

Others, not so much.

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Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently republished their rankings for the six main NFL position groups heading into the 2023 season.

Some of the rankings for the Seattle Seahawks might surprise you, and some of them definitely won’t.

The six position groups that PFF ranked are:

  • Offensive Line
  • Running Backs
  • Wide Receivers
  • Defensive Line
  • Linebackers
  • Secondary

Tight ends, quarterbacks, and special teams got zero love. That’s okay though as we all know that Seattle would have ranked No. 1 in all three categories.

(That last bit was sarcasm, minus the sarcasm font.)


For each of the position groups, we’ll look at where the Seahawks ranked, what PFF wrote about their position group, and how Seattle’s position group compares to the position group for each of our division rivals.

Spoiler: San Francisco ranks ahead of Seattle in all six categories.

Offensive Line

(Cue the righteous indignation.)

PFF put the Seahawks offensive line at No. 30, down three spots from 2022.

Their rationale:

Seattle’s line largely rests on the development of its young tackles, Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. While both played well early, each fell off substantially as their rookie seasons wore on.

If those tackles play well, this ranking is too low. But if they don’t improve, this is a group that could struggle badly given its interior personnel.

Damien Lewis was identified as the best player on the O-line with PFF saying:

Damien Lewis allowed 19 pressures last season and earned the best PFF run-blocking grade of the group (66.7).

The 49ers are No. 18 on PFF’s list (down 11 spots from 2022), while the Rams are No. 28 (down 3), and the Cardinals are No. 31 (down 7).

Running Backs

Somewhat appropriately, the Seahawks land at No. 12.

Kenneth Walker III’s 84.8 PFF rushing grade last season was tied for the second-best among rookies. His 50 missed tackles forced were the third most among first-year players and showed his long speed with multiple 60-plus-yard runs in his first season in the league. Not satisfied with just Walker at the position, the Seahawks added UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, with Charbonnet producing 90.0-plus PFF rushing grades in each of the past two seasons.

PFF has San Francisco at No. 1, with our other division rivals at the bottom of the rankings: Arizona is No. 31 and Los Angeles is No. 32.

Wide Receivers

The Cincinnati Bengals repeat at No. 1.

Why am I mentioning them?

Because PFF compares the 5th-place Seahawks to the Bengals in their write-up:

I mentioned the Bengals having the best receiver trio in the league, but Seattle might not be far behind. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for 190 catches for 2,256 receiving yards a season ago, with both players grading above 77.0. Now, they’ll add first-round receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who recorded a 92.1 receiving grade and exceeded 1,600 receiving yards as just a true sophomore at Ohio State in 2022.

The Niners are one spot ahead of Seattle - which is sort of suspect given the write-up:

There are so many receiving weapons to choose from in the Niners offense. They have Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk at the receiver positions, George Kittle at tight end and now Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield. From Week 7 on — when they acquired McCaffrey — the 49ers earned the highest team receiving grade in the league at 87.3.

The Rams come in at No. 14, almost entirely because of Cooper Kupp:

It was pretty tough to place the Rams on this list. If you replace Cooper Kupp with even an above-average wide receiver, this is probably a bottom-five group in the league. But like the Justin Jefferson effect with Minnesota, Kupp is one year removed from one of the most insanely productive seasons we’ve seen, earning a 93.1 receiving grade with over 2,400 receiving yards on their Super Bowl run.

Van Jefferson is a solid player, and Tyler Higbee has been an underrated tight end with over 500 yards in each of his last four seasons.

Kupp does the heavy lifting here, but with him healthy, it’s hard to put this group much lower.

Arizona also comes in surprisingly high . . . at No. 28 overall.

(More sarcasm.)

Defensive Line

Remember where the Seahawks O-line ranked?

Yeah, the D-line matches them at No. 30, although I suspect there’s a little less righteous indignation this time around.

Here’s what PFF had to say about this position group:

During the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seahawks had a chance to bolster their defensive line but elected to pick cornerback Devon Witherspoon instead.

While that represents an improvement for the Seattle secondary, the defensive line remains in a relatively poor position. Although the Seahawks have seven defensive linemen who played at least 250 snaps last season, only one of them ranked in the top 60 at his position in PFF grade.

Edge defender Uchenna Nwosu was easily the best player on the Seattle defensive line, as he picked up a PFF grade of 72.6 last season.

Unsurprisingly, PFF ranked the Niners much, much higher, at No. 2 overall. That ranking dates back to June 16th though, and PFF’s writer(s) clearly forgot to account for Nick Bosa’s holdout when they updated their list.

Aaron Donald single-handedly keeps the Rams in the top-30, but even his presence leaves them outside the top-20 with the FTRs settling in at No. 22 overall.

Arizona comes in dead last because:

The Cardinals lost three impactful starters from last season in J.J. Watt, Zach Allen and Markus Golden, which would be a reason for concern regardless. However, the problem is that the Cardinals did not really attempt to replace those players.

And, to really drive that point home:

Arizona has only one defensive lineman who played more than 350 snaps last season, and that was interior defender Leki Fotu, who ranked 125th out of 127 players at his position in PFF grade.



If you’re one of the 12s who think our linebacker group is a liability heading into the 2023 season, look away now.

Last warning.

PFF thinks the Seahawks have the 7th-best linebacker group in the league.

Bobby Wagner returns home after one year in Los Angeles, and what a spectacular year it was. Despite the struggles of the Rams team around him, Wagner finished 2022 with the position’s best overall grade (90.7) and run-defense grade (91.1). His 91.0 tackling grade also ranked first among his peers, as he missed only four tackles all season. Even at 33, he is still one of the best at the position.

Seattle’s questions lie with the rest of the group. Mainstay Jordyn Brooks is a tackling machine and run defender, but his struggles in coverage have kept his overall grades below 60.0 in each of his first three seasons. He’s durable and tough but may not be a long-term top-end player in the middle. Free agent acquisition Devin Bush faces similar questions as a former first-round pick who has never found his footing.

If either were to have a breakout season, they could combine with Wagner to form an elite group. It just seems unlikely, given their track records.

According to PFF, the 9ers are “the easy choice for the top spot.”

The 49ers have the best pair of linebackers in football and the depth to fill in if one of them were to suffer a short-term injury. They are the current gold standard at the position.

Arizona’s linebackers produce the team’s highest position ranking at No. 23 overall.

The Rams, sans Bobby Wagner, are No. 32.


This is the one I question, with PFF putting the Seahawks’ exceedingly deep secondary at No. 17 overall.

Woolen has some “boom or bust” to his game, as he intercepted six passes but allowed five touchdowns a season ago. Still, he graded well, with his 74.2 coverage grade putting him among the league’s top 30 corners. Diggs is a solid safety who earned a 75.0 coverage grade in 2022, and if Adams can return from injury in peak form, this will be a dangerous unit.

San Francisco lands at No. 9 while the Cardinals (29) and Rams (32) sink to the bottom . . . again.

Recap / Summary

Here’s where each of Seattle’s main position groups rank, according to PFF:

  • Offensive Line: 30th
  • Running Backs: 12th
  • Wide Receivers: 5th
  • Defensive Line: 30th
  • Linebackers: 7th
  • Secondary: 17th

And here’s where those position groups rank for each of our division rivals:

  • San Francisco: 18th, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st, and 9th
  • Los Angeles: 28th, 32nd, 14th, 22nd, 32, and 32nd
  • Arizona: 31st, 31st, 28th, 32nd, 23rd, and 29th

With just over a week until the season opener, we’ll get to see if any of these rankings are accurate soon enough.

Go Hawks!