The Seattle Seahawks have an interesting history in the National Football League. They might be the only team to have started in one conference and go back and forth during their franchise history. But they’ve also featured a lot of interesting players at every position since being an expansion team that debuted in the 1976 season.
But unlike the legends of teams like the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, legendary Seahawks aren’t really household names – i.e. Jim Zorn, Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy. But in the last decade and a half, the Seattle Seahawks have seen a rise in their overall popularity. A number of great players like Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander, along with protection from the likes of Walter Jones, gave Seattle their first Super Bowl appearance in the 2005 season.
The current roster features a few key players that are building their own legacies to join the best of the franchise when they are done. However, every franchise has their highs and lows. The Seahawks had a number of losing seasons between the loss to Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL and their big 43-8 upset over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Russell Wilson could be a Hall of Fame quarterback and players like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas could be considered two of the best secondary players in league history. But that defense in Seattle wasn’t always the dominant force that leads the league in scoring and turnovers. Both sides of the ball have their stars and their duds who have played for the Seahawks since the start of the 2000 season.
15 Best – Marcus Trufant, CB
Before the likes of Richard Sherman would break out as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Marcus Trufant was the star of Seattle’s secondary for most of the 2000s. He was a local product growing up in nearby Tacoma and grew up in an Army family stationed there. He would play at Washington State University before being drafted 11th overall by the Seahawks in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Trufant would collect 21 interceptions in 10 seasons. His biggest year was the 2007 season where he earned his one and only Pro Bowl invitation. In 16 games, Trufant would collect seven interceptions with 150 return yards and one touchdown. He also collected 78 tackles as the star of the Seattle defense. He would struggle with injuries in the 2011 and 2012 seasons before retiring; allowing Sherman to become the team’s No. 1 cornerback.
14 Worst – Koren Robinson, WR
Koren Robinson was a disappointment when looking at his overall career. But there was some hope early on in his career with the Seahawks. The former North Carolina State wide receiver was the ninth overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft. After a rookie season with just 536 yards and one touchdown, Robinson broke out in 2002 with 1,240 yards and five touchdowns. Seattle looked like they found a new franchise wide receiver.
However, his numbers dropped to just 495 yards and two touchdowns in 2004. Outside of the football field, Robinson had a number of personal issues that included substance abuse. He would play for Minnesota and Green Bay before playing one more year in Seattle in 2008; just 400 yards in 12 starts. The reason Robinson is viewed negatively is because he was selected over receivers like Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson.
13 Best – Earl Thomas, S
Earl Thomas suffered an unfortunate injury during the Seahawks’ 40-7 win on Dec. 4. A broken left tibia has led to him considering retirement from professional football. If he does leave football, he will have only played seven seasons as a free safety in Seattle’s dominant secondary. After being chosen 14th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, Thomas has become part of Seattle’s Legion of Boom.
While Thomas has been a hard-hitting safety with more than 400 tackles, he’s also created a large number of turnovers. In his seven seasons, Thomas has collected 23 interceptions. He’s had three five-interception seasons in 2010, 2013 and 2015. The former Texas Longhorn was also an ironman where he never missed a start until that Dec. 4 game against Carolina.
12 Worst – Jerramy Stevens, TE
There was a lot of hope for tight end Jerramy Stevens when he was Seattle’s first-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. Stevens was another local product who grew up in Olympia and went to the University of Washington. However, he struggled with consistently producing for a Seahawks offense led by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. His best season was in 2005 where he had 554 yards and five touchdowns.
But he struggled to be a dependable target that led to the Seahawks letting him go after the 2006 season; his numbers dropped to just 231 yards and a catch percentage of only 45.8. Stevens would play himself out of the league after four rough seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During those four years with the Buccaneers, Stevens had 72 receptions for 759 yards and seven touchdowns.
11 Best – Richard Sherman, CB
There might be a number of NFL fans across the country who don’t like Richard Sherman’s confident attitude. But he’s the kind of player who is able to both talk the talk and walk the walk. He’s defied odds his entire life as a Stanford graduate, with honors, after growing up in Compton, California. He was also a fifth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. To say Sherman had a chip on his shoulder is a severe understatement.
Now playing in his sixth season, Sherman has surpassed the 30-interception mark for his career. His best season was in the 2013 championship season where Sherman had eight interceptions and recovered two fumbles. This performance came after his first eight-interception season in the 2012 season. Sherman is also a hard-hitting cornerback that has struck fear into opposing wide receivers.
10 Worst – Christine Michael, RB
During the last few years, the Seattle Seahawks have struggled to find an heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch. It’s a big reason why Seattle selected running back Christine Michael in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Michael would not be the person to take over the running game for Beast Mode. It was apparent during his first two seasons in Seattle. He wasn’t able to outperform other running backs selected in later rounds (i.e. Thomas Rawls).
Michael would be traded to Dallas in 2015, but returned to Seattle after Rawls was injured this season. While he did have 469 yards in nine games this season with Seattle, Michael also had troubles holding onto the ball with a few poorly timed fumbles. He would be waived and picked up by Green Bay; but the starting running back duties have gone to former wide receiver Ty Montgomery.
9 Best – Matt Hasselbeck, QB
Matt Hasselbeck might not be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, but he certainly had a very successful career that lasted 17 seasons between four NFL teams. Hasselbeck spent 10 of those seasons with the Seattle Seahawks where he had a pretty respectable season with an 82.2 quarterback rating during that time.
His best season was during the Seahawks Super Bowl XL run where he threw for nearly 3,500 yards, 24 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Hasselbeck would leave the Seahawks with the team in rebuilding mode and head to Tennessee. While he was mostly a backup quarterback in his final years, Hasselbeck still put up big numbers when he was needed. Overall, he retired with 36,638 yards, 212 touchdowns and a career rating of 82.4.
8 Worst – Charlie Whitehurst, QB
Charlie Whitehurst is certainly a journeyman in the NFL. He was selected in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but he would actually be out of the league until the 2010 season when Seattle signed him as a backup. Whitehurst was actually the starting quarterback for the Seahawks' season finale to win the 2010 NFC West division title at a 7-9 record.
That division championship winning game wasn’t even impressive; he completed 22 of 36 passes for 192 yards. He would appear in three games during the 2011 season with Seattle and lost both of his starts with just 298 yards. Whitehurst has played in the NFL over the last 11 years with five separate teams. His career completion rate is an abysmal 55.3 percent and he has a career record of 2-7 as a starter. There’s a reason he’s called “Clipboard Jesus.”
7 Best – Russell Wilson, QB
Russell Wilson has helped lead Seattle to a fifth-consecutive playoff berth this season and third NFC West Division title in that period of time. Wilson has also been the Seahawks’ quarterback in back to back Super Bowl games, including the dominant 43-8 win over Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII. Wilson is only in his fifth season in the NFL, but he’s certainly earned himself the right to be considered one of the franchise’s best quarterbacks.
While NFL scouts were worried about his height (5-foot-10), he’s made up for it with quick feet to extend the play and find open receivers. Wilson had his first 4,000-yard passing season in 2015 with 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Injuries slowed him down in the first half of the 2016 season, but a healthy Russell Wilson is a “Dange-Russ” Wilson.
6 Worst – Lamar King, DT
Defensive linemen may not be expected to get large statistical lines that many linebackers and defensive backs can accumulate. But a defensive end usually has as a chance to build a respectable line. Lamar King had a good second season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2000 with 42 total tackles and six sacks while starting 14 games. At that point, the Seahawks looked like they made a smart move with the 22nd selection in the 1999 NFL Draft.
But the production quickly fell from 2001 to 2003. Jackson couldn’t stay in a respectable physical shape required to succeed in the NFL. Through five seasons in Seattle, King had a total of 94 tackles and 12 sacks in a total of 57 appearances. Before the start of the 2004 season, King would be out of the NFL.
5 Best – Marshawn Lynch, RB
If there was ever a player who best personified the phrase “actions speak louder than words,” that person would be Marshawn Lynch. While he wasn’t a big fan of speaking to the media, he was certainly the main focus of the Seahawks offense from 2010 to 2015. He had four consecutive seasons with more than 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns each in 2014 and 2015. Lynch’s production came from big, bruising runs.
The infamous Beast-Quake run from the 2011 NFC Wild Card playoff game against New Orleans felt like our reality was really in Lynch’s copy of the Madden NFL video game and he had an infinite trucking cheat code. Lynch dealt with injuries during the 2015 season and the team had found a young, talented running back in Thomas Rawls. Lynch would retire quietly from the NFL as arguably Seattle’s best running back ever.
4 Worst – Lawrence Jackson, DE
The Seattle Seahawks have done very well drafting in the later rounds to find their star talents. But they’ve had issues with first round selections. Lawrence Jackson is one of those names who was chosen 28th overall by the Seahawks in the 2008 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, Jackson played in all 16 games, but had just 21 tackles and two sacks. He saw a small boost in 2009 with 27 tackles and four-and-a-half sacks.
Jackson would then find himself in Detroit from 2010 to 2012. He wouldn’t start another game at the defensive end position. His tackle production would continue to fall despite having a six-sack season in 2010. By the way, Seattle won the trade with the Lions getting Jackson for cornerback Byron Maxwell – a beneficiary of playing in Seattle’s defense.
3 Best – Walter Jones, OT
Offensive linemen don’t usually get a lot of statistics to compare who is the best. But in the case of Walter Jones, there is very little argument against his 2014 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Big Walt was a nine-time Pro Bowl player and is considered one of the best left tackles in NFL history. In his 180 career games over 12 seasons, Jones only gave up just 23 sacks.
Along with left guard Steve Hutchinson, Jones was considered the biggest factor in allowing running back Shaun Alexander to have 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns during the 2005 season. He was also providing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck plenty of time to have a big season of his own. He’s also one of a handful of Seahawks to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
2 Worst – Aaron Curry, LB
During the 2009 NFL Draft, linebacker Aaron Curry was considered a very safe selection. After having a great collegiate career at Wake Forest University, Curry was chosen fourth overall by the Seattle Seahawks. But in his first season in Seattle, he had just 53 tackles and two sacks over 14 games. As the full-time starting linebacker in 2010, Curry saw very small improvements in tackles (57) and sacks (3.5).
Curry would then be traded to the Oakland Raiders. During his two seasons with the Raiders, he faced criticism for whether he had the desire to be worthy of the praise he received before the 2009 NFL Draft. Curry would be cut from the New York Giants during the 2013 training camp, which led to him announcing his retirement from the NFL.
1 Best – Shaun Alexander, RB
Statistically, the only other running back who was able to surpass Marshawn Lynch is Shaun Alexander. The former Alabama star was a first round choice for Seattle in the 2000 NFL Draft. It didn’t take long for Alexander to be the focal point of a powerful Seahawks offense. Rushing yards and touchdowns continued to increase during the first half of his career and peaked at the 2005 season – 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Alexander’s production fell to 896 yards in 2006 and 716 yards in 2007. His final season was spent with the Washington Redskins in 2008; he had just 24 yards in four games. However, Alexander had a great career with 9,453 yards and 100 touchdowns in only nine seasons in the NFL. His rise paved the way for the Seahawks to improve as a franchise.