Seahawks 2019 Awards: Most Improved Player
Following a season-ending loss in the NFC Divisional Round, the Seahawk Maven writing staff will be selecting award winners for the Seahawks successful 2019 campaign. Up next in our award season countdown, Rasheem Green made tremendous strides in his second season to garner Most Improved Player honors.
In a year full of regression on the defensive side of the football, the Seahawks struggled to muster much of a pass rush throughout the 2019 season, finishing with just 28.0 sacks as a team in 16 games.
But if there's a sliver of optimism that can be gleaned from an otherwise disappointing year chasing after opposing quarterbacks, defensive end Rasheem Green made the kind of jump coach Pete Carroll always hopes for as players transition into their second NFL season.
As a rookie, the then-21-year old Green struggled to carve out a role in Seattle's defensive line rotation. He missed several games with an ankle sprain and upon his return, he saw a reduction in snaps and didn't dress for the season finale or a 24-22 wild card loss to Dallas.
Showing his rawness coming out of USC, Green finished with just nine combined tackles, a single sack, and a single quarterback hit while playing 201 defensive snaps.
But with another offseason under his belt to get stronger and refine his technique, Green emerged as a valuable rotational defender for Seattle this season. Earning eight starts with Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah battling various injuries, he ended the year with a team-high 4.0 sacks, five quarterback hits, and three forced fumbles.
His success continued into the postseason, as Green recorded one of Seattle's season-high seven sacks in a 17-9 wild card win over Philadelphia.
Reflecting on his vast improvement from year one to year two, Carroll was quick to point out that Green's evolution provides hope for 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier, who also endured a very difficult rookie season in Seattle.
"I hope – I already talked to him about it – he can make the kind of jump that Rasheem made from year one to year two. I thought Rasheem had a terrific season this year to help us out and start to get his career rolling."
Still just 22 years old, Green has plenty of room to grow into a long-term starter for the Seahawks. His rise to key contributor illustrates a prime reason why players can't be labeled as a bust after just one season.
In a perfect world, Collier will take a few cues from his teammate and will progress in a similar manner, providing two young defenders as foundational building blocks for the team's front line moving forward.
Previous Seahawk Maven award winners:
Comeback Player of the Year: K.J. Wright