Like clockwork, the NFL has unveiled the list of its Top 100 players of 2020. As it has for almost a decade, the list is created by the players themselves, giving us fans a fascinating window into how the men playing the sport feel about each other.
By asking the players directly to make the rankings, the evaluations are done in a subjective way—with each voting player taking their own personal opinions and experiences into account. Where a player ranks on the list can be roughly translated into how much space they occupy in the minds of those they compete against each Sunday.
And this year, the Seattle Seahawks landed six players on the NFL Top 100 list.
CHRIS CARSON – RUNNING BACK – RANK 96
In his third season on the Seahawks, Carson led the backfield with 278 rushing attempts for 1230 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was poised to carry a large workload into the playoffs until a season-ending injury dashed those hopes and ended his year.
Carson didn’t make the list in 2019, so there’s some comfort in seeing his game starting to get the respect it deserves. He’s expected to be fully recovered and ready to start the upcoming season by week one, and assuming he can put a full season of work in the books, I expect Carson to vault forward on next year’s list.
D.K. METCALF – WIDE RECEIVER – RANK 81
In his rookie season as a Seahawk, Metcalf turned 58 receptions (on 100 targets) into 900 yards and 7 touchdowns. Additionally, he broke an NFL playoff record for any rookie receiver with 160 yards (and a TD) against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Following his big breakout, Metcalf entered the list at an appropriate spot, but don’t be surprised if he continues to climb as the years, and his accomplishments, stack on top of each other. We all know the Hawks hit big on drafting Metcalf, but it appears that the rest of the NFL recognizes it too.
TYLER LOCKETT – WIDE RECEIVER – RANK 65
In his fifth season with the Seahawks, Lockett totaled 82 receptions (on 110 targets) for 1057 yards and 8 touchdowns. That’s an astonishing catch rate of 74.5%, ranking him third among wide receivers overall.
Lockett ranked 98 on the 2019 list, and it’s no surprise that after a 1000-yard season and his second consecutive season with 8+ receiving touchdowns, he would climb 33 spots this time around. In the eyes of his peers, Lockett has emerged as a high-performing but low-profile receiver whose talent on the field speaks louder than the player himself.
JADEVEON CLOWNEY – DEFENSIVE END – RANK 41 (FREE AGENT)
As a free agent, Clowney’s future as a Seahawk is unknown. He could just as easily be re-signed in Seattle as he could leave for greener pastures. So, while he’s a good player that I hope returns to play for the Seahawks, I’m not going to invest too much in waiting it out.
JAMAL ADAMS – SAFETY – RANK 27
Coming off three stellar seasons playing for the New York Jets, the recently-acquired Adams is an exceptional defensive player. In 14 games last year, the newest Seahawk tallied 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 6.5 sacks, and 10 tackles for a loss. In the process, he leapt 10 spots on the Top 100 list.
Now that Adams is on the Seahawks, our 2020 prospects look better than ever. Sure, trading for him cost a lot, but greatness isn’t cheap, and Adams is without question great. How well he fits into the defensive scheme has yet to be seen, but given his positional versatility and game-changing talent, I predict he’ll have a massive impact on the team and be even higher on the list next year.
BOBBY WAGNER – LINEBACKER – RANK 13
In his eighth season as a Seahawk, Wagner put up a stat line that included 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 86 tackles, 7 tackles for a loss, and 4 quarterback hits. Oh, it was also his fourth consecutive season making the First-Team All-Pro as a linebacker. Long Hall-of-Fame career made short, Wagner is a perfect football player.
On last year’s list, Wagner led the Hawks with a rank of 15, but this year, he not only rose a few spots, but he checks in as the third overall defensive player on the list. He only follows Los
Angeles Rams DE, Aaron Donald (last year’s number 1 player) and New England Patriots CB, Stephon Gilmore.
Wagner is an almost perfect football player. I couldn’t even remember the last time he was flagged for a penalty, so out of sheer curiosity I looked it up only to discover that he had one single penalty last year. In fact, he’s totaled only 15 total penalties in his entire career. It’s truly amazing.
RUSSELL WILSON – QUARTERBACK – RANK 2
Coming off an MVP-caliber season in 2019, Wilson more than proved his tremendous value to players across the league last year. He put up over 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns while yet again never missing a game.
Last year, his peers ranked Wilson in the 25 spot, but it appears that they’ve finally woken up to his unique blend of mobility, vision, and leadership this time around. Not to mention the prettiest deep ball in the league.
Before the final list was revealed, I wondered where Wilson would fall in relation to Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. Given their incredible seasons (Jackson won the MVP award, Mahomes led his team to a Super Bowl win and won the Super Bowl MVP award), it seemed possible that they’d go higher than Wilson.
To my great surprise, I was thrilled to see Wilson get the respect he deserves on this year’s list. You can’t deny what Jackson did last year, and the utter dominance with which he did it, but Wilson’s been doing it consistently for years and that seems to have counted for something extra this year.
Now that we’re about 5 weeks away from the kickoff of the 2020 season, and things like this Top 100 list and the upcoming season of Hard Knocks on HBO are pumping all of us up for the return of football, I couldn’t be more excited.
And I predict that next year, the Seahawks will add at least two more players to next year’s list. But, that’s a long way away from now with an unprecedented number of season-ending variables at play.
The only thing I’m certain of is that I’ll be watching these highest-ranked players, as well as everyone else, looking closely for them to live up to these rankings…if not exceed them.