Seahawks 2020 Awards: Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year

Though Seattle didn't have a chance to see what second-round pick Darrell Taylor could do during his rookie season, the team's 2020 draft class still made a substantial impact during a 12-win campaign. Which first-year players stood out above the rest?
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While they didn't finish their season as envisioned with a Wild Card round playoff loss at Lumen Field, the Seahawks still enjoyed a strong 12-win season that culminated in their first NFC West title since 2016 and fifth overall under coach Pete Carroll.

Over the course of the season, Seattle had no shortage of star power, as three players earned All-Pro honors and numerous others could have staked a claim to such distinction playing for one of the NFL's best teams. Seven players also garnered Pro Bowl nods, including four first-time selections.

Looking back at one of the best regular seasons in franchise history, which rookies from Seattle's 2020 draft class stood out above the rest? Our writers make their picks:

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Corbin Smith: Damien Lewis

It would be unfair not to tip the cap to receiver Freddie Swain, who certainly exceeded expectations with 159 receiving yards and two scores as a sixth-round pick. But no rookie made a greater impact for the Seahawks than Lewis, who instantly became a day one starter at right guard and never looked back. Selected to the Pro Football Writers Association's All-Rookie squad, the third-round pick out of LSU finished with the fourth-highest run blocking grade on Pro Football Focus for guards with 750 or more snaps, mauling opponents at the point of attack to open holes for Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. He also stepped up in the clutch to start a game at center, a position he had never previously played.

Ty Gonzalez: Lewis

While Lewis certainly took his rookie lumps, including struggling with penalty issues, the former Tigers standout was easily the biggest success the Seahawks have had with a rookie offensive lineman in the Pete Carroll era. Lewis appeared in all 16 of Seattle’s games despite suffering a concerning ankle injury in Week 3, allowing just three sacks all year in pass protection and earning a 70.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. The sky looks to be the limit for Lewis moving forward and he should be in the lineup for years to come.

Nick Lee: Lewis

This might be one of the most obvious choices to make. Lewis is an absolute gem on the interior offensive line. From the start of camp after being selected in the third round, he was the starter at right guard. He showed his willingness to adapt when he took over at center for the injured Ethan Pocic against the Cardinals on a Thursday night game and performed admirably with minimal practice. The Seahawks found a guard they can plug in for the next decade.

Colby Patnode: Lewis

Starting as a rookie in the NFC West can be a baptism by fire when you see players like Aaron Donald twice a year and Lewis definitely had his ups and downs after being named a Week 1 starter. But while he led all NFL guards with 12 penalties, he held up incredibly well, receiving a 70.2 grade from Pro Football Focus in year one and allowing just a trio of sacks. He should only get better as he continues to gain experience and working with line coach Mike Solari.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Corbin Smith: Jordyn Brooks

Though Brooks got off to a slow start due to an abbreviated training camp and a knee injury that cost him a pair of games, he proved to be an integral part of the Seahawks defensive turnaround in the second half. Bringing much-needed speed to the second level as the team's new weakside linebacker, the first-round pick out of Texas Tech racked up 56 tackles over Seattle's final 11 games despite playing less than 40 percent of defensive snaps in six of those contests. He came on late in the season with three straight games posting at least eight tackles, including in the wild card loss to the Rams, and also made strides in coverage down the stretch. Even if K.J. Wright re-signs, he should be in line for expanded playing time in 2021.

Ty Gonzalez: Brooks

It took a while for Jordyn Brooks to get more involved in Seattle’s defensive game plan as a rookie with Bruce Irvin in front of him to open the season, but once he received his opportunity, he was all over the field towards the end of the season. Brooks wrapped up the year with 57 combined tackles, including two for a loss, and showed a great feel for pass coverage. With an expanded role likely in 2021, Brooks’ first season should have inspired a ton of confidence in Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. and he could be the next big star at linebacker for the Seahawks.

Nick Lee: Alton Robinson

I toyed with the idea of Jordyn Brooks here, but Robinson out-performed his draft status at a position where the Seahawks absolutely needed help, especially with Darrell Taylor out all year. After being the second defensive end taken by Seattle in the fifth round, most didn't expect him to contribute right away, but he did. He generated 4.0 sacks while playing in 15 games, providing some much-needed juice to a previously anemic pass rush. He has a chance to be a big factor chasing down quarterbacks in the future.

Colby Patnode: Brooks

Brooks came on strong at the end of the year, showing some of the upside that led to the Seahawks surprisingly using a first round pick on him. After tallying tackles in bunches in the final month of his rookie season, he's primed for a major jump in his sophomore year and should see his playtime increase substantially alongside perennial All-Pro Bobby Wagner.