Friday Round-Up: Seven Seahawks Make Pro Football Focus' List of the Top 101 Players of 2015

A daily link round-up of what's "out there" about the Seattle Seahawks.


Good morning, 12s.

Here's a look at what's "out there" for today - Friday, May 13 - about your Seattle Seahawks:

7 Seahawks Make PFF's Top 101 of 2015

Seven Seahawks have made Pro Football Focus' list of the Top 101 players of 2015, a ranking which was finalized Thursday. The number ties with the New England Patriots for second-most in the League to the Carolina Panthers, who lead the NFL with nine players in the Top 101.

The list, "based soley on 2015 play" as PFF notes, includes cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 23), defensive end Michael Bennett (No. 29), quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 32), free safety Earl Thomas (No. 39), linebacker K.J. Wright (No. 53), wide receiver Doug Baldwin (No. 55), and defensive end Cliff Avril (No. 61). Wilson, Wright, Baldwin, and Avril were all unranked by PFF last year.

Here's what PFF had to say about each Seahawk on its list, coupled with a key stat on each player and what the site graded as each player's best performance from this past season:

23. CB Richard Sherman

Perhaps overshadowed by Josh Norman this season—both on the field and in trash-talking terms—Richard Sherman was nevertheless excellent once again. He finished the season allowing just 48.4 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught, and had the second-best figure in the league in number of snaps in coverage between giving up a catch, trailing only Arizona's Patrick Peterson in that regard. Not quite his very best, but Sherman was still fantastic in 2015.

Best performance: Week 8 at Dallas: +5.0

Key stat: Sherman surrendered a reception every 18.4 coverage snaps, the second-best mark among CBs.


29. DE Michael Bennett

Seemingly unblockable at times, Michael Bennett has had quite the rise from undrafted free agent to one of the league's most consistently-excellent defensive linemen. 2015 marked his third straight season of above-average play, with the two before that not much worse, and he has become the lynchpin of a dominant Seattle defensive front. Bennett was one of the biggest factors in the wildcard victory over Minnesota, notching six total pressures and five defensive stops in that game, thoroughly wrecking several Viking drives almost on his own.

Best performance: Week 13 versus Minnesota: +7.8

Key stat: Including the playoffs, Bennett recorded 91 total pressures, the most among all 4-3 DEs.


32. QB Russell Wilson

Far more than the game-managing label he has had to deal with for much of his career, Russell Wilson was excellent again in 2015—often without Marshawn Lynch to carry the load. Working behind a consistently suspect offensive line in Seattle, Wilson was pressured on 42.5 percent of dropbacks, a figure higher than all other quarterbacks other than Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater. Despite that, he was accurate on 71.6 percent of his passes under pressure, the third-best mark in the league. He also added to his case with one play against the Minnesota Vikings, which effectively decided that low-scoring battle in freezing conditions.

Best performance: Week 13 at Minnesota: +6.2

Key stat: Wilson had the league's fourth-highest completion percentage (adjusted for drops, spikes, etc.), at 77.6 percent.


39. FS Earl Thomas

No player brings a skill-set with him so vital to a defense as Earl Thomas does to the Seahawks. His unusual range and speed gives the Seattle defense the ability to play with a single-high free safety and still create impact plays over the middle of the field from that position. Other teams have tried to replicate Seattle's defensive system, but without their version of Earl Thomas, it will always seem a poor imitation. Once again, he was instrumental in making plays from the middle of the field and cementing his spot as the prototype free safety in the league.

Best performance: Week 6 versus Carolina: +3.6

Key stat: Thomas earned the third-highest overall PFF grade among safeties (89.2) in 2015.


53. LB K.J. Wright

Bobby Wagner gets all of the ink in the linebacker corps in Seattle, but K.J. Wright may be the better player. He certainly graded far better this season, and had one of the highest coverage grades among all NFL linebackers. He didn't allow a single touchdown all year, despite being targeted a significant amount (78 times) in his coverage role within the Seahawks' scheme.

Best performance: Week 8 at Dallas: +3.2

Key stat: The receiver in Wright's coverage was targeted 78 times in 2015, but the Seahawk didn't allow a single touchdown during the regular season.


55. WR Doug Baldwin

Often shortchanged in terms of credit due for his play, Doug Baldwin is an excellent NFL receiver and had a fantastic season for the Seahawks. No receiver yielded a higher passer rating when targeted than Baldwin in 2015, giving his quarterback a passer rating of 141.0 when thrown at. He can play in the slot or outside, and simply produces whatever is asked of him.

Best performance: Week 12 versus Pittsburgh: +3.1

Key stat: When targeting Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson had a passer rating of 141.0, the best mark when targeting any single receiver in the NFL.


61. DE Cliff Avril

There are several players on the Seahawks' roster that get more press than Avril, but few that perform so consistently well. He wasn't quite able to match Michael Bennett's impact on the D-line last season, but he wasn't far behind, notching 70 total pressures. Life became a lot easier for the Minnesota Vikings when Avril left the field injured, and his absence made a visible impact on the game.

Best performance: Week 10 versus Arizona: +6.3

Key stat: Avril recorded 70 total pressures and five batted passes on his pass rushes during the regular season.

Tweet Of The Day

Today's "Tweet of the Day" comes from us - @Seahawks, as we share a short video highlighting wide receiver Ricardo Lockette's four seasons in Seattle. 

More From Around The Web

Here at Seahawks.com, digital media reporter John Boyle details the scene at wide receiver Ricardo Lockette's retirement press conference and recaps five things we learned from general manager John Schneider's Wednesday segment on PFT Live, one of which includes an update on Jimmy Graham's rehab.

Here's how Lockette's former teammates reacted on social media to the wideout's retirement news. 

Jayson Jenks at the Seattle Times recalls Lockette's top five moments with the Seahawks.

Eric Mandel at 710Sports.com recaps a recent radio conversation with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who shared comments on two former Buckeyes who landed in Seattle in tight end Nick Vannett and safety Tyvis Powell. 

And with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski set to appear on the cover of the next Madden video game, ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert ranks the Madden cover seasons since 2000 and cornerback Richard Sherman comes in at No. 2. Sherman was on the cover of Madden 15. 

Several members of the Seahawks organization turned out for Ricardo Lockette on Thursday, May 12 to support the former Seattle wide receiver's decision to retire from the NFL.

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