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ESPN gives Seahawks roster a thoroughly middling ranking

The Seahawks wide receivers do get praise as the strength of the team.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

It’s NFL roster rankings time at ESPN, and as always it’s Mike Clay leading the charge when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of every team. This year he’s joined by Aaron Schatz and Seth Walder.

As expected, the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are at the top of the table, while the New York Jets are 4th. The Denver Bronocs and New York Giants are at the bottom, while the Seattle Seahawks are stuck in the middle. They couldn’t get any more in the middle, in fact.

From beyond the ESPN+ paywall, here’s a look at why the Seahawks were ranked 16th:

Biggest strength: Wide receiver. Seattle’s roster has several standout units, but wideout gets the nod here over the defensive line. DK Metcalf (10th in receiving yards and fifth in TD receptions over the past four seasons) and Tyler Lockett (11th in receiving yards and sixth in TD receptions over the past six seasons) form a terrific one-two punch. We also figure to see more of Jaxon Smith-Njigba this season after the 2023 first-rounder posted a 63-628-4 receiving line. That’s an elite trio, and Jake Bobo and Laviska Shenault Jr. provide solid depth. — Clay

Biggest weakness: Offensive line. Seattle continues to throw darts at its line, but it has yet to pay off. Four of the team’s five projected starters (LG Laken Tomlinson, C Nick Harris, RG Anthony Bradford and RT Abraham Lucas) posted poor PFF grades in 2023, and LT Charles Cross has yet to live up to his first-round pedigree. The Seahawks spent three draft picks on the line during April’s draft, but only one was before the sixth round (third-rounder Christian Haynes). It’s hard to imagine this group improving much on last season’s below-average finishes in pass block and run block win rate. — Clay

The article also projects Mike Jackson as a starting cornerback over Tre Brown, which would be a role reversal from the previous season when Brown beat Jackson for the job. All other projected starters seem logical, although I’m not sure I’d be a fan of Seattle’s second draft pick not being a starter on what is supposedly one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.

Aaron Schatz highlighted Derick Hall as a “non-starter to know” if only for the expectation that he’ll need to improve in his second season. Seth Walder named Jaxon Smith-Njigba as his “X-Factor” for 2024, citing the likely need for him to make a major second-year leap given Tyler Lockett’s age and “signs of decline last year.”

This is actually a drop from last season, when the Seahawks ranked 12th, and Seattle was described as having “no overwhelmingly poor units.” Wide receiver was the biggest strength then and remains the case now.

So, quite literally, ESPN believes the Seahawks have a “mid” roster. I believe Seattle has a strong receiver and running back group, above-average quarterback play, but the offensive line is such a huge question mark that it makes or breaks the season. On defense, I’m a believer in the interior defensive line, a little less so at edge rusher, unsure about the lack of linebacker depth, and confident in the cornerback play. Safety is another area where I’m not totally confident.

I’m not up in arms over this ranking, which apart from the Jets, puts them alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars atop the list of non-playoff teams from 2023. Doesn’t seem that outrageous to me to suggest Seattle’s roster (at least on paper) is not as strong as a bunch of teams that actually qualified for the playoffs. Maybe you feel differently, in which case we have a poll!


What do you think about ESPN ranking the Seahawks roster 16th?

  • 4%
    Too high
    (44 votes)
  • 33%
    Too low
    (360 votes)
  • 61%
    Feels about right
    (659 votes)
1063 votes total Vote Now

And nice try, I could’ve put “I don’t care” as an option but you’ll just have to make that remark in the comments.