Seahawks: Ranking the 4 most underrated players on their 2022 defense

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Seattle Seahawks are undeniably a worse team without Russell Wilson than they were with him. However, there are still reasons to feel hopeful about this group heading into this season.

For one thing, they have a head coach who has only suffered one losing season in 10 years despite his faults. More importantly, this roster has some severely-underappreciated talents on both sides of the ball. Here are the team’s four-most underrated players on defense in 2022.

SS Jamal Adams

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the thing.

Jamal Adams’ reputation has been tarnished for a number of reasons over the last couple of years and almost none of them are his own fault.

The most critical factor working against Adams is the fact that the trade to acquire him was an awful move by Seattle’s front office. You can love Adams’ game and still recognize it’s the Worst Trade Pete Carroll and John Schenider Have Ever Made and that’s really saying something given the level of competition involved.

Adams should not be blamed for their mistake.

Only a few weeks before the Seahawks made the deal with the Jets I ranked Adams the best safety in the league when I was running Panthers Wire and hoping that Matt Rhule (who’s a Jets fan on top of everything else) would make a play for him. I stand by that ranking and still believe Adams can literally be the best safety in football if he’s able to stay healthy and is used correctly by this new defensive coaching staff.

Another major point being used against Adams is the obscene contract that Carroll and Schneider had no choice but to give him after surrendering two first-round picks to get him. Adams deserves every penny he can get and athletes should never be shamed for earning a contract that makes more sense for them than for the organization. Seattle fans who feel bitter towards Adams because of the size of his salary should remember that it’s not their money being spent.

Worst, Adams is the victim of false narratives coming from both traditional media outlets and social media – where truth and objective analysis go to die screaming. Adams dropping an interception might make for a good viral moment on an otherwise atrocious episode of Thursday Night Football, but using that one play to write off the talent of one of the NFL’s most unique defenders is absurd.

The best way we can describe this dynamic is headline bias – fans using specific, highly visible anecdotes to draw sweeping conclusions about Adams’ ability as a football player. We won’t argue that he hasn’t had some rough moments on the field, especially last season. However, it’s important to remember the context and not get too hung up on two or three plays that happened in high-variance moments on national television.

It may help fans not to think of Adams as a traditional safety – and Clint Hurtt and Sean Desai can help by not putting Adams into situations where he is less suited to thrive. Specifically, dropping Adams into coverage against athletic tight ends and shifty slot receivers is setting him up to fail. Letting Adams roam free around the box to wreak havoc on the opponent’s backfield is setting him up for success.

Nothing short of a Defensive Player of the Year award will justify the trade and the contract they’ve given him. However, the idea that Adams is somehow vastly overrated or a below-average defender is fundamentally ridiculous and he’ll prove it this season.

OLB Uchenna Nwosu

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nwosu has a few factors working against him when it comes to how much people overlook his game. First of all, playing for the Chargers in general doesn’t help and he only became a full-time starter last season, earning 15 starts after his previous high having only been for.

Nwosu doesn’t put up eye-popping traditional pass rush numbers, either. He totaled five sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 30 pressures in 2021 and most stars at this position put up bigger numbers than that.  Nwosu deserves more attention though because he’s one of the best all-around outside linebackers in the NFL – a classic jack of all trades. He plays tight coverage for his position, can rush the passer and excels at getting his hands into passing lanes.

Nwosu is the kind of contributor who flies under the radar but helps your team win those one-score games that ultimately decide who makes the playoffs and who goes home early.

DT Shelby Harris

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Fans should bring that same hate-the-game-not-the-player energy when evaluating Jamal Adams to the Russell Wilson trade… some of it anyway. While we’re not crazy about Drew Lock, the Seahawks did acquire a pair of very capable athletes at two positions that often get overlooked.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss why tight end Noah Fant is one of the most underrated players on Seattle’s offense this year. For now, let’s give defensive tackle Shelby Harris his moment in the sun.

Bringing Harris in might seem like overkill for an interior rotation that already has two very-solid starters in Al Woods and Poona Ford. However, doubling down on that strength is actually a good idea – especially considering Harris’ ability to impact the passing game. Not only can Harris get to the QB, he has a talent for getting his hands up into passing lanes for pass breakups.

Like Nwosu, Harris is an exceptional all-around defender who will make his team better even if you won’t get a meme out of it.

FS Quandre Diggs

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

There’s not much left to say about Quandre Diggs being underrated anymore since we’ve been harping on it for almost a full calendar year now. Him being left off ESPN’s polling of the NFL’s top-10 safeties according to league executives is still disappointing, though.

The idea that Diggs isn’t an elite talent at his position is simply not supported by the film.

Since coming over in a trade with the Lions Diggs has arguably performed as the single best ball-hawking safety in football. The interception numbers speak for themselves, but Diggs also isn’t gambling for turnovers the way some other DBs who will remain nameless do.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Diggs remains underrated is because much of his best work doesn’t make it into the box score – or even the broadcast angle on TV. The truth is he plays the deep-third of the field as well as anyone in the league right now. End of story.

[vertical-gallery id=90531]

1

1

1

1

1

1