For the sixth straight year, Russell Wilson has been recognized by his peers as one of the best players in the league, checking in at No. 11 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players list.
Wilson, a five-time Pro-Bowler, matched a career-high with 34 touchdown passes, that total leading the NFL in 2017, while also passing for 3,983 yards on 339 completions, both of those numbers ranking second in his career behind the numbers he put up in 2016.
While it wasn’t by design, Wilson was a bigger part of Seattle’s offense last season than he has ever been, and for the most part he handled that extra responsibility well. With the running game struggling to get going for a number of reasons, Wilson not only put up some of the best passing numbers of his career, he also led the Seahawks with 586 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Wilson was particularly impressive late in games, posting an NFL-best 134.1 passer rating in the fourth quarter while throwing an NFL-record 19 fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
“I don’t know how you could carry it much more, numbers-wise,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said late last season. “He’s having a fantastic football season, and he’s doing marvelous stuff… I don’t know, we would be in a different mode without him for sure, and he’s a fantastic player.”
Yet for all Wilson accomplished last year and has done over the first six years of his career, he and the Seahawks are counting on him being even better in 2018. When the Seahawks made a change at offensive coordinator this season, Carroll said one of the big reasons behind the shift was to try to get the most out of Wilson by having a singular voice in charge of the offense, and early on, Carroll likes what he’s seeing in the relationship between Wilson and Brian Schottenheimer.
“Russell has really responded to it,” Carroll said during offseason workouts. “I think he enjoys the challenge of it. Schotty is challenging him to keep moving and keep growing as a quarterback. You look at all the years that he’s been playing, but still there’s always been more growth. There’s always more to learn and understand, and Schotty has really kind of opened the door to that for Russell. Hopefully we’re going to see the best version that he can put out there this time around, because he’s been challenged even more than ever. It’s an exciting relationship that we’re watching unfold.”
Wilson is the fifth Seahawks player voted onto the Top 100 list so far this year, joining receiver Doug Baldwin (99) safety Kam Chancellor (75) safety Earl Thomas (42), and linebacker Bobby Wagner (21).
Here’s the full list of players unveiled this week:
20. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints, RB
19. Everson Griffen – Minnesota Vikings, DE
18. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers, QB
17. Jalen Ramsey – Jacksonville Jaguars, CB
16. Khalil Mack – Oakland Raiders, DE
15. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots, TE
14. Calais Campbell – Jacksonville Jaguars, DE
13. DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans, WR
12. Luke Kuechly – Carolina Panthers, LB
11. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks, QB