SUPER BOWL: Profiles of key Seattle players
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Projected starters and key players for the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl:
Russell Wilson, QB (3), 5-11, 206, 3rd season, Wisconsin
Holds NFL record for wins at start of career with 42, including postseason … Third-round draftee who immediately seized starting job and led Seattle to playoff appearances in all three seasons … Dynamic runner who excels throwing on the run … Poised in the pocket, very dangerous outside of it … Played at North Carolina State, then one year at Wisconsin as grad student.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, (24) 5-11, 215, 8th season, California
”Beast Mode” with a penchant for Skittles … Powerful back with a burst, broke 24-yard TD run in NFC title game … Rushed for 1,306 yards and had career-best 17 total TDs this season … Also a threat as receiver out of backfield.
Will Tukuafu, FB, (46), 6-2, 280, 5th season, Oregon
Signed at midseason after foot injury landed starter Derrick Coleman on IR … Capable lead blocker for Lynch in two-back sets … Has also gotten snaps in rotation on defensive line.
Doug Baldwin, WR (89), 5-10, 189, 4th season, Stanford
Undrafted out of college, plays with an attitude about it … Can get deep but is not known for speed. … Excellent working as slot receiver … Led team with 66 catches and 825 yards. … Wilson looks for him in key situations.
Jermaine Kearse, WR (15), 6-1, 209, 3rd season, Washington
Caught winning TD pass in NFC title game for 35 yards in overtime … Same distance as his winning TD reception in last year’s NFC title game … Took over second receiving spot after trade of Percy Harvin. … Had 38 receptions and 14.1 average per catch.
Luke Willson, TE (82), 6-5, 252, 2nd season, Rice
Took over when Zach Miller was lost for the season due to ankle surgery … Ability to make big plays in passing game … Had 80-yard TD at Arizona in Week 16 and TD reception in divisional round win over Carolina … Tendency to drop easy passes at times.
Russell Okung, LT (76), 6-5, 310, 5th season, Oklahoma State
First-round pick 2010 (sixth overall) who has developed into Pro Bowl-level blocker … Injuries have set him back at times. … Missed two games with calf and chest injuries.
James Carpenter, LG (77), 6-5, 321, 4th season, Alabama
A surprise first-round selection in 2011, who finally found consistency this season … Started all 13 games played in regular season, missing three because of ankle injury … Strength is in run blocking.
Max Unger, C (60), 6-5, 305, 6th season, Oregon
Among the best centers in the game when healthy … Intelligent, strong, really gets off the ball after he snaps it. … A 2012 All-Pro but missed 10 games in regular season with ankle and foot injuries. … Seattle was a far more efficient offense with Unger on the field.
J.R. Sweezy, RG (64), 6-5, 298, 3rd season, North Carolina State
The one consistent on Seattle’s offensive line this season … Started every game and took on more responsibility with injuries creating changes … Played through ankle injury in second half of NFC title game.
Justin Britt, RT (68), 6-6, 325, 1st season, Missouri
Started first 17 games as rookie, winning job in training camp … Missed NFC title game with knee injury … Expected to be available for Super Bowl … Solid in run game but looked like rookie at times in pass protection.
Tony McDaniel, DT (99), 6-7, 305, 9th season, Tennessee
One of many members of rotation in the trenches, also has played for Jacksonville and Miami … In second season with Seattle, had 31 tackles playing mostly on run downs.
Kevin Williams, DT (94), 6-5, 311, 12th season, Oklahoma State
Signing of former All-Pro veteran has proved vital … Started season in rotation, but moved to starting nose tackle after Brandon Mebane suffered torn hamstring and was lost for season … Plays mostly on run downs.
Cliff Avril, DE (56), 6-3, 260, 7th season, Purdue
In his second season with Seattle, has been solid with increased snaps this season … Only had five sacks but led team with 20 quarterback hits in regular season … Has sack in both postseason games … Signed four-year extension in late December.
Michael Bennett, DE (72), 6-4, 274, 6th season, Texas A&M
Seattle’s most important defensive linemen … Rarely leaves the field after playing in a rotation most of last season … Led team with seven sacks … Had 39 tackles in regular season.
O’Brien Schofield, DE (93), 6-3, 260, 5th season, Wisconsin
Part of defensive line rotation past two seasons … Usually enters on third downs … Signed deal in free agency with Giants, but deal was voided and re-signed with Seattle.
Bruce Irvin, OLB (51), 6-3, 248, 3rd season, West Virginia
First-round pick who has developed into a full-time starter who rarely leaves the field … Has become better in pass coverage and remains solid run defender playing on line of scrimmage … Gets to rush the QB in passing situations … Had seven sacks in regular season.
Bobby Wagner, MLB (54), 6-0, 241, 3rd season, Utah State
One of the league’s most unnoticed stars … A do-everything LB who stays on the field … Missed five games with toe injury, but still voted first-team All-Pro … Seattle’s defense took off when Wagner returned … Had 104 tackles – second on team – despite missing time.
K.J. Wright, OLB (50), 6-4, 246, 4th season, Mississippi State
The other Seattle linebacker that rarely leaves the field … Played both weakside and middle linebacker, filling in for Wagner when he was injured … Led Seattle with 107 tackles … Signed four-year extension in December.
Richard Sherman, CB (25), 6-3, 195, 4th season, Stanford
One of the best cornerbacks in football … Will play press coverage or lay back and is equally adept … Hits hard, too and has improved support in run game … Had only four interceptions in regular season, but has pick in both postseason games … Needs to be watched if elbow injury suffered in NFC title game will limit him in Super Bowl.
Byron Maxwell, CB (41), 6-1, 207, 4th season, Clemson
Became full-time starter this season and got plenty of action with teams choosing not to challenge Sherman very often … Finds the football and has good hands … Coaches say he’s the best technician of Seattle’s CBs … A sixth-round pick who has flourished.
Earl Thomas, S (29), 5-10, 202, 5th season, Texas
Despite lack of size, Thomas is one of the league’s most rugged safeties … Versatile, active and smart, gets to the right place nearly all the time … Suffered separated shoulder in NFC title game but played second half with brace … Three-time All-Pro who was first-round pick in 2010.
Kam Chancellor, S (31), 6-3, 232, 5th season, Virginia Tech
Monster hits mark his game and has learned to do it legally … Amazing athleticism for player his size … Had 90-yard INT return for TD in divisional round win over Carolina … Potential matchup with Rob Gronkowski could be pivotal in Super Bowl.
Steven Hauschka, PK (4), 6-4, 210, 7th season, North Carolina State
Also has kicked for Baltimore and Denver … Caught on with Seattle in 2011 and has been very strong … Has made 125 of 141 field goal tries for Seahawks and is particularly solid from distance … Worst game this season came at University of Phoenix Stadium, missing three FGs in win over Cardinals.
Jon Ryan, P (9), 6-0, 217, 9th season, Regina (Canada)
A rare player from Canadian college ball, Ryan has been a defensive weapon for the Seahawks … Began career with Green Bay, has been with Seahawks since 2008 … Put 28 punts inside the 20 and for second straight season … Good athlete who threw 19-yard TD pass to Garry Gilliam in NFC title game.
Bryan Walters, PR (19), 6-0, 190, 5th season, Cornell
Not very dynamic on punt returns, but sure-handed … Averaged 7.7 yards per return.
Doug Baldwin, KR (89), 5-10, 189, 4th season, Stanford
Has been a spot kick return option after trade of Percy Harvin … Took over last week after Paul Richardson was injured in divisional round win over Carolina … Fumbled kickoff against Green Bay in NFC title game.
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