NFL 2018 power rankings countdown No. 17: Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on December 3, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on December 3, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

A preview of the Seattle Seahawks ahead of the 2018 season.

Check back every day for a new 2018 team preview in this year’s NFL power rankings countdown.

Today’s team is the Seattle Seahawks.

17. Seattle Seahawks

Keegan’s highest rated player: Bobby Wagner, linebacker

Biggest strength: Russell Wilson

Biggest weakness: Offensive line

Best offseason move: Extending Duane Brown

Worst offseason move: Not drastically improving the offensive line

Game to circle on calendar: Week 11, vs. Green Bay

Breakout candidate: Shaquill Griffin, cornerback

Key players in contract years: Austin Davis, Mike Davis, Jalston Fowler, Tyler Lockett, Brandon Marshall, D.J. Fluker, Tom Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Frank Clark, K.J. Wright, Earl Thomas, Justin Coleman, Neiko Thorpe, Byron Maxwell, Sebastian Janikowski, and Jason Myers

Offensive preview

Russell Wilson will carry the Seahawks this season. Gone are the days of Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, and the Legion of Boom. If Wilson continues to dominate over the next few years with this lack of a supporting cast, it could vault him into Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady levels. Even if he struggles this year, it will be hard to dispute that he is a top five quarterback.

The Seahawks could have a position battle at running back. The two frontrunners for the starting spot will be rookie Rashaad Penny, who has a lot of potential, and Chris Carson, who is back from injury. The Seahawks have a lot of decent running backs, but no clear cut leader in their backfield.

Seattle’s receiving corps is lacking in talent — especially after losing tight end Jimmy Graham in free agency — but Wilson is talented enough to make his receivers better than they actually are.

Doug Baldwin and Brandon Marshall form a decent veteran receiving corps, and the addition of Jaron Brown should help. Nick Vannett will be the early favorite for the starting tight end spot, but I wouldn’t count Ed Dickson or Will Dissly out.

The Seahawks’ offensive line should be better this season. Duane Brown will be at left tackle for the entire year, and Justin Britt is a reliable center.

The rest of this offensive line is more of a question mark. Ethan Pocic has the most upside of players on the line (with the exception of Britt and Brown), and the addition of D.J. Fluker won’t hurt. But still temper your expectations with this offensive line.

Defensive preview

This defense is a shell of what it once was, but the Seahawks have a lot of young players that could breakout this season. It all starts on the defensive line with Jarran Reed and rookie Rasheem Green, who should both be productive this year despite their young age. The most dominant player on the line will be Frank Clark.

Bobby Wagner will be the anchor of the Seahawks’ defense, and he is the main reason why they will have one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL this season.

The other two starters are Barkevious Mingo (who will be used mostly for pass rush purposes), and K.J. Wright. One other player to watch is rookie Shaquem Griffin, who could be an impact player from day one.

Shaquill Griffin will be the Seahawks’ top cornerback this season, but the rest of the depth chart is a little more concerning. Don’t be surprised if Byron Maxwell competes with Neiko Thorpe for the number two cornerback spot.

If the Earl Thomas holdout continues into the regular season, I would be incredibly concerned about this secondary. The Seahawks made a smart move signing Maurice Alexander, and Bradley McDougald is good enough to fill in for Thomas for a short period of time. But if this holdout continues for a while, it will be hard to be without a safety like Thomas for a long period of time.

Coaching staff/front office preview

Pete Carroll is one of the best coaches in football, but the rest of his staff could use some work. Brian Schottenheimer did a good job with Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis last season, but he is a downgrade from Darrell Bevell at offensive coordinator. No longer having Kris Richard at defensive coordinator will sting, he was a key architect of the Legion of Boom.

GM John Schneider has struggled in his last few drafts, compared to his incredible drafting early in his Seattle tenure, but he should still be regarded as one of the best general managers in football. If there is anyone that can find the talent to rebuild this team into what it once was, it’s Schneider.

Overall outlook for 2018

This team will have a chance to contend for a playoff spot in November or December, mainly  because of Russell Wilson (who will be an MVP candidate). But this team will have a fair amount of struggles with a defense that is rebuilding.

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Previous teams:

18. New York Giants
19. San Francisco 49ers
20. Indianapolis Colts
21. Detroit Lions
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. Chicago Bears
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Baltimore Ravens
26. Washington Redskins
27. Cleveland Browns
28. Buffalo Bills
29. New York Jets
30. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers