Which Seahawk is the biggest 2017 X-factor?


Among many candidates.

Before the 2016 season, more than a couple Seattle Seahawks X-factors were bandied about. You heard their names; you wished them unabashed success. Jeremy Lane. DeShawn Shead. Paul Richardson. Garry Gilliam. Thomas Rawls. Nolan Frese. Even Jimmy Graham in his return from patellar issues.

Some ended up disappointing, and the team paid for it. Some ended up kicking ass and taking names, maybe even yours. Which is good. We all need a little humbling from time to time.

Well in advance of the 2017 season opener, a lineup of potent X-factors is already starting to take shape. There’s the top draft pick, Malik McDowell. There’s the most expensive free agent, Luke Joeckel.

There’s the polarizing Jermaine Kearse. Kearse was almost impossibly… wearse in 2016 than 2015. His catch rate dropped by 30 points on third down (56.3 to 26.3) and Russell Wilson had a peculiar 1.6 passer rating when targeting Kearse on third down as late as mid-November.

(Read more here — this is a statistical masterpiece by Casey Castle, from last December.)

Lane returns as a wild card, as a guy who could go from shoring up a depleted DB room to playing his way out of the cornerback rotation.

OT George Fant, K Blair Walsh, and more… the list of names boggles; any one of these guys could bring the season glory or turn it gory. So who carries a larger share of the 2017 Seahawks’ fate in his hands than anyone else?

As you’ll notice, I left off some commodities that seem proven, and the whole RB room too. Thomas Rawls, if any measure of healthy, will dominate. If C.J. Prosise looks anything like he did against the Patriots and Eagles for six quarters of play, the Seahawks will win more games next season. If Eddie Lacy carries for anywhere close to 1,000 yards, ditto on the added victories. Same with Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett. We’ve seen what those guys can accomplish. The others — they’re far more unknown, far more X-y.

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