Top 100 Seahawks Countdown: No. 10-1
Over the course of 44 seasons, the Seahawks have boasted plenty of star power on offense, defense, and special teams. But which players stand out as the best of the best in franchise history?
To take part in the festivities, each member of the Seahawk Maven writing staff assembled their own individual rankings for the top 100 players in Seahawks history.
After compiling averages from all seven lists, who made the final cut? Putting a bow on our countdown, here are the top 10 players in Seahawks history with highest ranking, lowest ranking, and analysis courtesy of our writing staff.
10. Richard Sherman, Cornerback
Seahawks Tenure: 2011-2017
Highest Ranking: 9
Lowest Ranking: 12
Writer’s Take: Perhaps it was the familiar burn of lowered expectations that propelled an unheralded fifth-round pick to become one of the greatest defensive players Seattle has ever seen - the Stanford graduate has spoken at length about how being underestimated throughout his life landed him where he is today. Maybe it was his gregarious personality or his confident trash-talking that got him fired up against opponents. Whatever it was, Richard Sherman became a cornerstone for a historic defense over seven years, and his time in the "Legion of Boom" leaves an indelible mark on the Seahawks franchise.
Sherman arrived via the 2011 draft and worked his way up from being fourth on the depth chart to becoming a true shutdown corner, logging 32 interceptions and 99 passes defended, not to mention racking up 377 tackles and earning First-Team All-Pro honors three times. He led the NFL in interceptions in 2013, the year the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, and famously made "The Tip" in the NFC Championship Game that year. During his time, the Seahawks defense led the league as the number one scoring defense for four consecutive years from 2012-2015. Still starring for the 49ers, Sherman is not only one of the best cornerbacks of the decade - he is one of the best ever to sport a Seahawks uniform. -Aryanna Prasad
9. Jacob Green, Defensive End
Seahawks Tenure: 1980-1991
Highest Ranking: 7
Lowest Ranking: 13
Writer’s Take: When discussing the best players to ever don a Seahawks uniform, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Green’s name rarely enters the discussion, which is an absolute shame given his durability, longevity, and consistently impressive production during a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Drafted in the first round out of Texas A&M, he became an immediate starter in 1980 and blossomed into the franchise’s first elite pass rusher, racking up 12.0 or more sacks in four consecutive seasons from 1983 to 1986. He registered a career-best 16.0 sacks for the Seahawks in 1983, helping the team reach the playoffs for the first time and advance to the AFC Championship Game that season. The following year, after recording 13.0 sacks during the regular season, he came through in the clutch with 2.5 sacks against the Raiders in a hard-fought 13-7 Wild Card win.
In 12 seasons with the Seahawks, Green exceeded double-digit sacks five times and only posted four seasons with less than 6.0 sacks. Two of those years, 1980 and 1981, he was unofficially credited with 18.5 sacks, as the statistic wasn’t officially recorded by the NFL until 1983. Somehow, he only made two Pro Bowl teams, but he did earn All-Pro honors in 1983 and 1984. When he hung up his cleats after the 1992 season, he wrapped up his career with 97.5 sacks, a franchise record and the third-most all-time at the time of his retirement. Nearly 30 years later, he’s still tied for 36th all-time and the Seahawks rewarded him for his remarkable career by inducting him into the Ring of Honor in 1995. -Corbin Smith
8. Earl Thomas, Safety
Seahawks Tenure: 2010-2018
Highest Ranking: 6
Lowest Ranking: 12
Writer’s Take: One of the founding members of the “Legion of Boom,” Thomas was a crucial part of Seattle’s secondary, earning six trips to the Pro Bowl and receiving First-Team All-Pro honors three different times. Selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the 5-foot-10, 202-pound free safety made an instant impact as a rookie, starting in all 16 regular season games and producing 64 solo tackles, seven pass deflections, five interceptions, two quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. His elite speed and instincts allowed him to sit back in center field and hunt for the ball from sideline to sideline, creating increased flexibility for Seattle defensively. Whether he was decking massive tight end Rob Gronkowski as he tried to make a catch in the middle of the field or tomahawking the ball out of a ball carrier’s hands near the goal line, he was constantly flying to the football and created turnovers in bunches.
Before injuries started hindering his production in 2016, Thomas started in every regular season contest from 2011 to 2015, recording 305 solo tackles, 38 pass deflections, 16 interceptions, seven forced fumbles, and three quarterback hits. Carrying his stellar production into the playoffs, the Texas standout made 11 postseason starts and created 54 solo tackles, nine pass deflections, two interceptions, and one forced fumble, helping Seattle reach consecutive Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014. Despite his ugly departure, Thomas will eventually enter the team’s Ring of Honor and his bust will one day be in Canton as one of the greatest free safeties in NFL history. –Thomas Hall.
7. Marshawn Lynch, Running Back
Seahawks Tenure: 2010-2015, 2019
Highest Ranking: 7
Lowest Ranking: 9
Writer’s Take: There may not be a player who better epitomized the greatest era of Seahawks football quite like Marshawn Lynch. In one of the greatest trades in franchise history, general manager John Schneider rolled the dice on the former first-round pick, acquiring Lynch from the Bills in exchange for a 2011 fourth round pick and a 2011 sixth round pick. Though he started slow, one of the most impressive four-year stints by any running back in team history started in the Wild Card round in January 2010, as he stiff-armed and trucked his way through the Saints defense on the famous "Beast Quake" touchdown to seal the upset.
In 83 career games in Seattle, "Beast Mode" would rush for 6,381 yards, scored 66 total touchdowns, make four consecutive Pro Bowls, and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2012. He joined LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, and Walter Payton as one of only four running backs all-time with four consecutive seasons of 1,200 rushing yards and 11 or more rushing touchdowns. Counting the "Beast Quake," he's the author of several of the best touchdown runs in NFL history and his return to the Seahawks late in the 2019 season only added to his legend in the Pacific Northwest. -Colby Patnode
6. Bobby Wagner, Linebacker
Seahawks Tenure: 2012-Present
Highest Ranking: 3
Lowest Ranking: 8
Writer’s Take: Coming in just behind four Hall of Famers at the top of our countdown, the scary thing about Wagner is that he isn't done yet as a Seahawk. He’s building his own Canton-worthy resume right in front of our own eyes and at 30 years of age, still has a ton of great football left in him. The best middle linebacker of his era, “Wagz” has recorded over 100 tackles in each of his first eight NFL seasons and has exceeded 130 tackles seven times, including leading the league with 159 tackles in 2019. Aside from being the most reliable tackler in the game, he’s also the premier coverage linebacker in football, as illustrated by his 47 passes defensed and 10 career interceptions. As a result of his dynamic skill set, he’s been selected First-Team All-Pro in five of the past six seasons and earned Pro Bowl honors each of those years.
The fact that Wagner has not won Defensive Player of the Year is a disgrace, especially looking back at his dominant 2016 season. Along with posting a career-best 168 combined tackles, he recorded 4.5 sacks, made 18 quarterback hits, intercepted a pass, showing off his well-rounded game at its peak. His leadership and presence on the defense cannot be measured by stats and he has lasted the longest from the Legion of Boom, Super Bowl-winning era, making him a surefire top-five choice in Seahawks history. -Nick Lee
5. Kenny Easley, Safety
Seahawks Tenure: 1981-1987
Highest Ranking: 3
Lowest Ranking: 7
Writer’s Take: Before there was "Bam Bam," there was Kenny Easley, the original enforcer of Seattle's secondary. Selected fourth overall in the 1981 draft, the former UCLA star proved to be a powerful addition to a franchise still building its foundations. The hybrid safety hit like a linebacker and sprinted like a cornerback, earning a fearful reputation in a decade full of defensive greats like Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, and Reggie White. His rookie campaign started off with a bang as he intercepted three passes and returned one for a touchdown, a spectacular showing that earned him AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year accolades.
During his seven years with the Seahawks, Easley led the Seahawks to the playoffs three times, earning First Team All-Pro three consecutive years from 1983-1985. In 1984, he led the league with 10 interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns, which earned him NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was the first Seahawk to earn such an honor, a testament to the influence he had on what would become a defense-oriented franchise. Although health issues abruptly ended Easely's NFL career in 1987, he was finally recognized as an all-time great when he was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. For his impact turning the Seahawks into a contender, he is easily one of the most important figures in franchise history. -Aryanna Prasad
4. Cortez Kennedy, Defensive Tackle
Seahawks Tenure: 1990-2000
Highest Ranking: 3
Lowest Ranking: 6
Writer’s Take: Boasting a personality as large as the man himself, Kennedy wasted little time living up to his No. 3 overall selection in the 1990 NFL Draft. After only starting two games as a rookie, he made his first Pro Bowl in 1991, posting 73 tackles and 6.5 sacks, a precursor to one of the best seasons by a defensive tackle in NFL history. Despite playing on a two-win Seahawks squad in 1992, his greatness could not be ignored. The former Miami star was recognized as NFL Defensive Player of the Year and earned First-Team All-Pro honors after amassing 92 tackles, 14.0 sacks, and four fumble recoveries.
One of the most complete defensive tackles in NFL history, Kennedy excelled at shooting the gap and chasing down opposing quarterbacks as well as grinding out plays to stuff the run. From 1991 to 1999, he made the Pro Bowl in eight out of nine seasons and was named First-Team All-Pro three consecutive years from 1992 to 1994. On five different occasions, he posted at least 70 tackles and 6.5 sacks, incredible production for an interior defensive lineman. He also developed a reputation as one of the NFL's "good guys," always willing to help teammates and taking young players under his wing. Following a tremendous career, the game-changing defender was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor in 2006 and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. -Corbin Smith
3. Russell Wilson, Quarterback
Seahawks Tenure: 2012-Present
Highest Ranking: 1
Lowest Ranking: 6
Writer’s Take: After handing Matt Flynn a three-year contract in 2012, no one expected a third-round pick out of Wisconsin to immediately win the starting gig and play in every single regular season game in 2012. Luckily for Wilson, that’s exactly what happened during his rookie season, as he established a new team rookie record with 26 touchdown passes to lead the Seahawks to the playoffs. Since then, the 31-year old signal caller hasn’t looked back. Once viewed as too small to play quarterback in the NFL, Wilson hasn’t missed a single snap and has already broken franchise records for passing yards (29,734), passing touchdowns (227), and fourth quarter comebacks. A threat both as a passer and a runner with an uncanny ability to extend and improvise plays, he has earned six Pro Bowl nominations and garnered Second-Team All-Pro accolades in 2019.
Reaching the Super Bowl in just his second season and leading Seattle to a second trip to the big game the following year, Wilson owns a 9-6 playoff record and has produced 264 competitions for 3,612 yards, 23 touchdowns, a 62.3 percent completion percentage, and a 96.7 passer rating in 15 playoff games. Having thrown at least 30 touchdowns in four of the past five seasons and throwing less than seven interceptions each of the past two years, the former Badger only seems to be getting better and has a chance to topple Aaron Rodgers for the best career passer rating in NFL history. At this point, there's no debate he's the best quarterback in Seahawks history and could be building a Hall of Fame resume. –Thomas Hall.
2. Steve Largent, Receiver
Seahawks Tenure: 1976-1989
Highest Ranking: 2
Lowest Ranking: 4
Writer’s Take: When the Seahawks began their existence in 1976, they acquired an unheralded prospect in Largent prior to the start of their inaugural season in exchange for an eight-round pick. All he did was become one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history. The Tulsa alum became Seattle's first ever Pro Bowler in 1978, with 1,168 yards and eight scores. The Pro Bowls just kept coming from there, as he eventually earned seven selections over his 14-year career, with eight 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. Twice, he led the NFL in receiving yards - 1979 and 1985 - illustrating his long reign atop the NFL as the best receiver in the game. He also laid out big hits when he needed to, as former Broncos safety Mike Harden would attest.
When Largent retired after the 1989 season, he possessed every major receiving record in league history, including receiving yards (13,089) and touchdowns (100). The game has changed immensely since his playing days and he's been surpassed by several players in both of those categories, but his records still hold in Seahawks lore as he remains the franchise's leader in receptions, yards, and he has more than twice the receiving touchdowns as the second-best player. Now enshrined in Canton, Largent is clearly the best skill player to ever put on a Seahawks uniform. -Nick Lee
1. Walter Jones, Offensive Tackle
Seahawks Tenure: 1997-2008
Highest Ranking: 1
Lowest Ranking: 3
Writer’s Take: Strong arguments can be made for Largent, Easley, and Kennedy, who all reside in Canton as members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to stake claim to this top spot. But while all three of those players had outstanding careers, none of them achieved the greatness of Jones, who belongs in the discussion as one of the greatest players to play in the NFL regardless of position.
Entering the league as a first-round pick out of Florida State in 1997, Jones quickly found his way into the starting lineup at left tackle right and started all 180 games he played in over the next 12 seasons. During that time, the Seahawks attempted over 5,500 passes and “Big Walt” gave up only 23 quarterback sacks protecting the blind side. Even more astonishingly, he was flagged for a holding penalty just nine times. To put that number in perspective, former Seattle right tackle Germain Ifedi was called for 14 holding penalties during the 2017 and 2018 seasons in 149 less games. That’s greatness that few, if any, players can match at any position.
Starting in 1999, Jones made nine Pro Bowls in 10 seasons and earned First-Team All-Pro honors four times, including 2005 when Seattle won its first-ever NFC Championship and a berth to the Super Bowl. Additionally, he was a Second-Team All Pro selection twice and was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Ensuring he would be remembered forever in the city of Seattle and the State of Washington, then-governor Christine Gregoire proclaimed April 30 as “Walter Jones Day” shortly after his retirement in 2010 and he joined Largent and Kennedy as the only players in franchise history to have his number retired. -Corbin Smith