Eight best players in the Seahawks’ NFC West

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 28: Free safety Earl Thomas (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 28: Free safety Earl Thomas (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /
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ST. LOUIS, MO – DECEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford
ST. LOUIS, MO – DECEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford /

Players four through one

4. Bobby Wagner, Linebacker – Seahawks

12th Man Rising wrote a recent article explaining the greatness of Wagner. He is the best linebacker in the NFL. The Seahawks cannot afford to lose two defensive players, Wagner and Thomas.

The defense would suffer without several players, but losing Wagner causes the system to change. Too many players in the middle of the field would need to trade places for Seattle to have anywhere near the same success.

3. David Johnson, Running Back – Cardinals

Johnson led the league in yards from scrimmage in 2016 with 2,118. He touched the ball 373 times.

But head coach Bruce Arians wants even more from Johnson in 2017. And why not? Johnson is just 25 with two years in the league. The Cardinals should use him as much as they can. Johnson has set a goal for himself to get over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He was not far off last year. Chances are he meets that goal this year.

2. Earl Thomas, Safety – Seahawks

Thomas proved his importance to the Seahawks last year in the games he missed. Seattle was not the same team. Teams were able to control the ball by throwing and Seattle was dismantled in two games in a way they had not been since Thomas entered the league. The Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons took advantage.

After breaking his leg Thomas tweeted a suggestion he might retire. This did not happen, of course. Thomas will probably return this season even more motivated. Seattle will play with the confidence of knowing that the future Hall of Fame safety is controlling the middle and Seattle will have a great chance at regaining the top spot in defensive points-allowed-per-game.

  1. Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle – Los Angeles Rams

Donald is a mismatch in the middle. He is not the biggest player, but he may be the strongest. He also has unnatural quickness. Nearly unblockable in the middle of line, he keeps the Rams from becoming the Browns.

Related Story: Ranking the top QBs in the NFC West

Donald is so far above any other player at his position in the division that this is why he is the overall best.  In his three years in the NFL, he has been first team All-Pro in two seasons. The fact that he plays defensive tackle means he is less obviously spectacular than players who have more room to run. But every player who has to go against him and every opposing coach knows his worth.

Also, he is only 26 so there will many years to enjoy his brilliance.