Cliff Avril, Defensive End
Avril entered this conversation last year, when he broke out with 11.5 sacks and earned his first-ever Pro Bowl nod. He played well off of Bennett. If you watch his and Bennett’s highlights from last season, you’ll much of them both. By supplying a steady pass-rush, Avril sets up the rest of the defense to make plays.
Even the lethal Legion of Boom can’t cover receivers downfield forever. Avril ensures that opposing quarterbacks don’t have time to wait their receivers open. Avril, perhaps even moreso than Bennett last year, caused passers problems and created chaos along opposing offensive lines. He batted down three passes at the line and forced five fumbles from his defensive end spot in 2016.
K.J. Wright, Linebacker
Wright is another versatile player on the Seahawks defense who allows everyone else to do what they do best. He covers tight ends, rushes the passer, locks down run plays–everything a linebacker is expected to do.
Wright did it all in 2016, knocking down five passes, forcing and recovering one fumble, sacking the quarterback four times, and making 70 solo tackles while assisting another 54. He’s everywhere. When paired with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, Wright is poison for run or pass plays.
Plus, Wright is one of the best overall tacklers in the NFL:
Wright remains one of the finest OLBs in the league. Does that make him indispensable to this Seahawks defense?