May 20, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) participates in organized team activities at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Top 25 Seahawks Under 25: Part Five (#5-1)


 

As the Seahawks draw nearer and nearer to their season opener against the Carolina Panthers, I figured I should stop procrastinating and wrap up my “Top 25 Seahawks Under 25” series, although there isn’t that much suspense as to who the players at the top of the list are. I said when I started this series that the Seahawks have some really exciting young talent, and these five are the best of the best. 

#5 Bruce Irvin

Height: 6-3

Weight: 245

Age: 23

40 time: 4.41

Years Pro: 2

Career Stats

League

Games

Games Started

Tackles

Assists

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Passes Defended

NCAA

21

21

45

16

22.5

5

1

NFL

16

0

10

7

8

1

0

 

 

 

Summary: Bruce Irvin is pretty much the purest pass rusher imaginable. At this point there is one facet to his game, but the one thing he does, he does well. Irvin has excellent long speed but he also has the quickness that makes an elite pass rusher. He might not be there yet, but he is absolutely a player on the upswing. He will be sorely missed early in the season but count on Irvin making an impact when the games matter the most.

#4 K.J. Wright

Height: 6-3

Weight: 246

Age: 24

40 time: 4.75

Years Pro: 3

Career Stats

League

Games

Games Started

Tackles

Assists

Sacks

Forced Fumbles

Passes Defended

NCAA

41

35

131

127

8

3

14

NFL

31

27

112

45

3

2

7

 

 

 

Summary: K.J. Wright is quietly one of the better players on this defense and gets very little credit for it most of the time. He may not have Irvin’s ceiling as a difference maker but he has two years under his belt as an above average starter in the NFL which is something I thought was of great significance when ranking the two players. Wright has length and range and these qualities make him a capable coverage backer when called upon. Pete Carroll has also mentioned Wright as a LEO candidate at times, indicating the coaching staff also believes in his ability to rush the passer. By and large there isn’t a lot that Wright can’t do and even if he’s overshadowed by the man above him on this list he is a very valuable component of this defense.

#3: Bobby Wagner

Height:6-0

Weight: 233

Age: 23

40 time: 4.46

Years Pro: 2

Career Stats

 

League

Games

Games Started

Tackles

Assists

Sacks

Interceptions

Passes Defended

NCAA

27

27

200

245

4.5

4

4

NFL

16

15

85

54

2

3

4

 

 

 

Summary: Frankly, I’m still pretty miffed that Bobby Wagner didn’t win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. Wagner does everything you could ask of a MLB and more. He swallows up running backs and makes plays in the passing game as well. The Seahawks haven’t seen a dynamic force in the middle like this since the early Lofa Tatupu years, and it makes a big difference to a defense. While pass rushers and corners may be the defensive players that the league puts the biggest premium on, a great middle linebacker can go a long way. Make no mistake, Wagner is one of the top middle linebackers in the league already.

#2: Earl Thomas

Height: 5-10

Weight: 208

Age: 24

40 time: 4.37

Years Pro: 4

Career Stats

League

Games

Games Started

Tackles

Assists

Interceptions

Forced Fumbles

Passes Defended

NCAA

27

27

97

38

10

5

29

NFL

48

47

166

62

10

3

22

 

Summary: It’s pretty surprising to see a guy on this list with the kind of NFL resume that Earl Thomas has, but Thomas cracked the NFL at a young age and has been durable and consistent for three years. He is already a two time Pro Bowler and one could argue he is the best player on this team, let alone this list. While Richard Sherman gets more press due to his outspoken manner, Thomas quietly makes this defense effective. With his expansive range he frees up Kam Chancellor to play a big role in run support and allows the corner tandem to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage without fear of being beat deep.  A true centerfielder. Failure to resign Thomas to a long term contract would be a devastating loss for this team.

#1: Russell Wilson

Height: 5-11

Weight: 204

Age: 24

40 time: 4.53

Years Pro: 2

Career Stats

League

Games

Games Started

Passing Yards

Passing Touchdowns

Interceptions

Rushing Yards

Rushing Touchdowns

NCAA

50

49

11720

109

30

1421

23

NFL

16

16

3118

26

10

489

4

 

Summary: There’s not much to say about Russell Wilson that hasn’t already been said. Wilson exceeded all reasonable expectations last year, and most unreasonable ones. As second year player on a stacked team, he is already the face of the franchise and the most important player on the Seahawks. Being a quarterback helps, but Wilson isn’t just some quarterback. He’s a franchise quarterback the Seahawks stole with a third round pick.

Not only are the players on this list immensely valuable at this moment but they stand to remain that way for years to come. While 2013 is an important season for the Seahawks it is far from their only shot to be a contender. Thanks to some of the players listed here, as well as plenty of other players who are barely 25 or older (Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Russell Okung, Max Unger etc.) this team is in it for the long haul. Even if this year doesn’t go as planned, and I’m not saying it won’t, the Seahawks are in pretty good shape for the forseeable future.

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