RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks may have more overall depth than any team in the NFL, which makes listing the team’s top 10 players a difficult task.
But what the heck. Here’s my list, from 10 to No. 1. No doubt your list will differ, but it’s a fun debate.
No. 10: Brandon Mebane: An anchor on the defensive line at nose tackle. Mebane (6-1, 310) is first in the NFC among interior lineman for total tackles the past two seasons.
No. 9: Brandon Browner: Maybe the most underrated player on the team in my book. Browner is “the other” starting cornerback, the one who is completely overshadowed by Richard Sherman. But at 6-4, 220, Browner is a talented athlete who can intimidate receivers with his size and strength.
No. 8: Chris Clemons: The 10-year veteran from Georgia has posted at least 11 sacks in each of the past three seasons from his defensive end spot. But he’s 31 now and coming off ACL surgery in the offseason, and it’s iffy whether he’ll be ready to play opening day. But if his leg is healed, Clemons still has a few productive years left.
No. 7: Max Unger: At center, he’s the glue on an offensive line that took huge strides forward last season. He was voted in as the Pro Bowl starter last season and first team All-Pro by Associated Press after starting every game in 2012.
No. 6: Russell Okung: It took a while for the former first-round draft pick to make his mark at left offensive tackle, suffering through ankle injuries his rookie year in 2010. But Okung (6-5, 310) was voted in as a Pro Bowl starter last season. He’s the man that needs to protect Russell Wilson’s blind side and keep him healthy.
No. 5: Kam Chancellor: A devastating hitter from his strong safety spot, Chancellor has flattened his share of receivers. At 6-3, 230, he’s one of the biggest safeties in the NFL.
No. 4: Richard Sherman: He may be the Mouth of Mount Rainer, but Sherman backs it up on the field with his aggressive play and enormous talent. He’ll gladly tell you he’s the best cornerback in the NFL, and he might be right. He was a first-team All Pro last year and a member of the NFL All-Rookie Team in 2011. He had eight interceptions last year and three forced fumbles.
No. 3: Marshawn Lynch: Just give him a few of his favorites Skittles to munch on, show him a tiny opening at the line of scrimmage, and Beast Mode takes over. Lynch had the best season of his career last year, rushing for 1,590 yards and a 5.0-yard average per carry. He would just as soon run over a defender as around one, but he can do either better than most running backs in the NFL.
No. 2: Russell Wilson: Listing him this high after a surprisingly successful rookie season might look like a stretch for the talented quarterback, but Wilson is one of those rare individuals who comes along once in a generation. He is small (5-11) and he doesn’t have the best arm in the league, but Wilson has all the intangible qualities you can’t teach. He’s a winner, a hard-working, high-character guy who makes everyone around him better. His teammates believe in him, and that’s half the battle.
No. 1: Earl Thomas: He’s the smallest man among the giant secondary known as the Legion of Boom, but Thomas is the true anchor of the group. He's only 5-10 and 200 pounds, but is quite possibly the best free safety in the NFL. He plays big in the big games. Thomas, who earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl spot last year, had three interceptions in the 2012 regular season, and two more in the playoffs. Thomas is an instinctive defender who leads an extraordinary secondary.
You probably noticed I left receiver Percy Harvin off the list, only because he won’t be on the field until late November or early December. But he’s clearly one of the most talented athletes on the team.
That’s why it’s so tough to only list 10. So who are your 10?