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Russell Wilson and then who? Ranking the top 10 players on the Seattle Seahawks roster ahead of training camp

UPDATED: Wed., July 24, 2019

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) walks off the field with wide receiver Tyler Lockett following an organized team activity  June 4  in Renton, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) walks off the field with wide receiver Tyler Lockett following an organized team activity June 4 in Renton, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – As the Seattle Seahawks prepare for their first training camp practice Thursday, here’s a look at the 10 best players who will suit up for the team this season.

10. Jarran Reed

Potential role in 2019: Starting defensive tackle beginning with week seven after he serves a six-game suspension.

Main competition: None.

Why he’s ranked here: Well, it’s hard to know where to rank Reed after the news earlier this week that he will be suspended for the first six games of the 2018 season. Seattle will have to get through a tough slate of games without their best interior defender. How they manage that stretch could play into what they decide concerning Reed’s future.

9. Michael Dickson

Potential role in 2019: Starting punter and holder.

Main competition: None.

Why he’s ranked here: Too high for a punter? Not the way the Seahawks want to play – controlling field position, forcing opponents into back-breaking mistakes somewhere along the way. He may not be able to improve on his 9 yards per carry rushing average this year, though.

8. K.J. Wright

Potential role in 2019: Starting weakside inebacker.

Main competition: Shaquem Griffin, Ben Burr-Kirven.

Why he’s ranked here: Even Wright figured he was on his way out following the 2018 season. But Seattle made an aggressive move to keep him, realizing that the linebacker tandem of Wright and Bobby Wagner can go a long way toward cleaning up issues created by the youth that will have to play at other spots.

7. Justin Britt

Potential role in 2019: Starting center.

Main competition: None.

Why he’s ranked here: Britt is another player whose future beyond this season is far from guaranteed – the Seahawks could save $8.75 million against the cap releasing him before the 2020 season taking a $2.9 million dead cap hit. But that’s for down the road. For 2019, Britt is entrenched as the starting center for the fourth year since making the move there in 2016.

6. Bradley McDougald

Potential role in 2019: Starter somewhere at safety

Main competition: Waiting to see how the competition unfolds around him to see where he will line up.

Why he’s ranked here: Assuming there are no issues with his knee following offseason surgery, McDougald will be asked to anchor a young secondary that enters a season without any founding members of the Legion of Boom for the first time since 2009. McDougald said he prefers strong safety – which was his primary spot last season, as well – and the stats seem to show he’s a better fit there. Football Outsiders ranked him far better against the run (23rd) than the pass (63rd) of 79 total safeties last season.

5. Chris Carson

Potential role in 2019: Starting running back.

Main competition: Rashaad Penny.

Why he’s ranked here: Expect Carson to be the starter even if the team will look for ways to get Penny into things as much as possible. Carson proved his worth last season when he rushed for 1,151 yards and also, according to Sports Info Solutions, had 58 broken tackles, the most in the NFL, two ahead of Saquon Barkley (and maybe further reinforcing the thoughts of those who question teams taking running backs high in the draft).

4. Tyler Lockett

Potential role in 2019: Starter at slot wide receiver, but used in other spots.

Main competition: Nope.

Why he’s ranked here: With Doug Baldwin retired, the task of carrying the receiving corps – especially while the younger players progress – falls on Lockett. He could hardly have been better last season with Russell Wilson charting a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when throwing his way in 2018. But Lockett will get used more in the slot this season and likely asked to come up with a few more of the dirty-work type of third-down and red-zone catches that Wilson so often in the past threw Baldwin’s way. Expect opponents to give him a bit more attention while they see how the rest of the receiving corps responds.

3. Duane Brown

Potential role in 2019: Starting left tackle.

Main competition: Nada.

Why he’s ranked here: The straining to find reasons for Seattle’s improved offensive line play a year ago seemed at times to overlook Brown, who had been acquired at midseason the year before and promptly suffered a high ankle sprain. Healthy and available all of last season, Brown gave Seattle its best left tackle play in a long time, allowing just 2.5 sacks with just one penalty in a team-high 1,067 snaps, according to Football Outsiders. He also provided a steadying influence on other players, notably Germain Ifedi.

2. Bobby Wagner

Potential role in 2019: Starting middle linebacker.

Main competition: None.

Why he’s ranked here: The unquestioned leader of the defense and as good of a defensive player as there is in the NFL, the big story entering camp is when Wagner will get a new deal. You hardly need more proof of how good Wagner is. But it may have gone under the radar last season that Wagner led the Seahawks with 11 passes defended, also second most of any linebacker in the NFL.

1. Russell Wilson

Potential role in 2019: Starting QB.

Main competition: Are you kidding?

Why he’s ranked here: That he is now the highest-paid player in NFL history means the expectations for Wilson are as high as ever. He had maybe his best season a year ago, with a 35-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio that spoke as loudly as any stat in why Seattle won a surprising 10 games. It also caused many to wonder if the Seahawks use Wilson enough, a critique that might underestimate the impact of Wilson – and his ability to operate the zone read – on Seattle’s running game. Regardless, what we know for sure is that at age 30, Wilson is smack in the prime of his career, and the biggest reason for optimism that Seattle can again win double-digit games and get back to the postseason.

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