Saturday, June 27, 2009

Top 10 Seahawk Players of the Decade

by: Chris Sullivan

Mike Sando just posted (well, okay, it was yesterday morning...) a top 25 players of the decade list, and I thought, why not? Time for the Top 10 Seahawks of the Decade:

10. Cortez Kennedy - While this decade will not be considered to be one rife with Tez-struction, I would be remiss to exclude the man who is one of, if not the, best player to ever put on Seahawks green and blue. Tez only played in the 2000 season with the Hawks this decade.

9. Bobby Engram - Engram was not and is not a flashy guy, but he proved to be Mr. Reliable and never (okay, rarely) whined and moaned about being the third receiver. He turned that into a strength and became Hasselbeck's safety blanket. In addition, few Seahawks have been more out in the charity spotlight than Engram and promoting the Seahawks in doing so.

8. Kelly Jennings (just joking) - Marcus Trufant - Tru is an incredible athlete and has become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL since moving over to the left side. In 2008, his numbers declined a bit but that was not largely a reflection on him so much as it is on the rest of the secondary. By the end of the 2009 season, it's likely that he'll need to move up the list a bit...

7. Mack Strong - All Mack Strong ever did was lead-block Shaun Alexander into some of the best seasons an NFL running back ever had. Strong was a background guy but a great one and, when an injury forced Mack to retire he stayed on the squad and helped Leonard Weaver to become 'The Weave.' Great guy, great fullback, great Seahawk.

6. Steve Hutchinson - Hutchinson will forever be a sore spot for the Seahawks fans and Tim Ruskell. He is the best guard in football to this day, and along with Walter Jones, is the main reason for Shaun Alexander's excellence.

5. Darrell Jackson - It's hard for me to put D-Jack up here after proving himself to be not much of a team player, but Jackson did nothing but catch (and drop) passes for his 7 seasons with the Seahawks. While Hasselbeck made him and sustained him, no one can deny he had talent and with 47 touchdown receptions and more than 6,400 receiving yards, he produced here.

4. Lofa Tatupu - Lofa won a starting spot as a rookie and immediately took over the defense, leading them to the team's only Super Bowl. Tatupu had a mediocre 2008, but he has some of the best instincts in football and he makes the guys around him better. The fact that he will be a Seahawk for the rest of his effective career is very good news.

3. Shaun Alexander - Knock Shaun all you want, by the end I was annoyed and frustrated too, but we can't forget that this guy was THE symbol of the Seattle Seahawks for the better part of this decade. Without Alexander and his toothy smile (regardless of what was happening in the game) the Seahawks would never have gotten the attention that they did. Without someone running near the top of the charts or passing there, a team can be ignored especially when they're in South Alaska. While Hasselbeck and Holmgren were the nuts and bolts of the offense's success, Alexander was the head of state.

2. Matthew Hasselbeck - There are few people as likable as Matt Hasselbeck, and fewer still more self-deprecatingly humorous. I'm hoping when he retires he takes over Jimmy Fallon's shell of a late-night show. Anyway, Hass came to Seattle in a trade as a cocky, mediocre quarterback. He was disciplined and smart and underwent a massive transformation that we now take for granted. Imagine Matt Leinart of 2008 leading the Cards to the Super Bowl. Now you're talking. Hass is the face, and the arm, of the franchise. There are injury concerns going forward based on his past, but no one can deny when you think back to the "Golden Years" of the Seahawks it is Hasselbeck and Holmgren all the way (and maybe a Sea Gal or two).

1. Walter Jones - If there has ever been a Seahawk who is a better football player or more dominant force than Cortez Kennedy, it is Walter Jones. Jones is, arguably, the most complete and best offensive lineman to ever play the game. There may never be another Walter Jones and I will forever be proud to be a Seahawks fan because this great man and great player dominated defenses in our Blue and Green.

Honorary Mentions: Michael Sinclair, Josh Brown, Jerry Rice, Julian Peterson and Robby Tobeck.