The two players responsible for some of the most memorable plays of the 2019 Seahawks season were both named to the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2020 list on Monday.
Receiver Tyler Lockett, who made what was arguably the best catch of the NFL season in a Week 5 win over the Rams, checked in at No. 65 on the list, his second straight Top 100 selection after debuting at No. 98 last year. Free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who scored a pair of defensive touchdowns for the Seahawks last season, made the Top 100 for the fourth time, moving up from 63rd last year to No. 41 this year.
Lockett, a third-round pick in 2015, has emerged as Seattle's No. 1 receiver over the past two seasons and thrived in a larger role. In 2018, Russell Wilson had a perfect passer rating for the entire season while targeting Lockett, and in 2019 Lockett established career-highs in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,057) to go along with eight touchdowns, including the aforementioned spectacular grab in back corner of the end zone after a Wilson scramble and pinpoint-accurate throw that was one of the best throws and catches of the 2019 season. That touchdown was the type of play that illustrates Lockett's savvy for the game, something the Seahawks saw in him dating back to his career at Kansas State.
"When we watched him, we thought that he looked like the most experienced player in college football," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last season. "We thought he had the best route running ability, the best natural moves and the best instinct. He just was a smaller guy. We weren't sure how he'd translate his movement to the league. We held him in really high regard for all of the finesse and all of the instinctive things. Right now, there's nothing that he can't makes sense of. Some of the turn arounds that he made on the touchdown catch, on another catch he made on the scramble situation, it was just almost instant reactions to put himself in the great positions and all. He has the extraordinary ability to capitalize on that too. He can finish the play and make the game catch and all that as he showed. It's nothing new. It's just pretty exciting to have a guy playing like that at that level and also, to have had the background with Russ. The two of them, they're both just highly, highly instinctive football players… As we've seen so many times, those guys just see football together. They see it as one, and that's chemistry and extraordinary savvy."
As good as Lockett's 2019 season was, it could have been even better if not for a Week 10 leg contusion that led to him being hospitalized overnight in the Bay Area. Lockett, who had 59 catches for 767 yards and six touchdowns through nine games prior to the leg injury, somehow made it back from that injury without missing a game, but between that injury and serious bout with the flu, his numbers did decline a bit in the second half of the season.
Clowney was acquired in a trade with Houston just before the start of the season, and despite battling through a core muscle injury for much of the season, was a disruptive force on defense. Clowney's numbers didn't always show it—he finished with 3.0 sacks, seven tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and two touchdowns in 13 games—but as this vote from his peers demonstrates, he was still a handful for opposing offenses.
Clowney's ability to take over a game was fully on display in a Week 10 win over the 49ers when he earned NFL Defensive Player of The Week honors after recording five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. With NFL training camps opening this week, Clowney remains a free agent, and both Pete Carroll and John Schneider, as well as Clowney, left the door open to his return when asked about his free agency in interviews during the offseason.
Lockett and Clowney join a pair of Seahawks in the Top 100 who were revealed on Sunday night, running back Chris Carson (96) and receiver DK Metcalf (81). The NFL Network's Top 100 countdown continues Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT with players No. 40-11, and on Wednesday with the Top 10.
Barring significant snubs, the Seahawks figure to have at least three more players listed in quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Bobby Wagner and newly acquired safety Jamal Adams, all of whom were All-Pro selections in 2019.
A look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett from the 2019 season.