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Geno Smith and Tariq Woolen ranked among the top 100 NFL players

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Geno Smith and Tariq Woolen ranked among the top 100 NFL players
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks may be done for the season, but members of the roster are still gaining recognition and accolades for their performance in 2022. Specifically, Tyler Lockett, Geno Smith, and Tariq Woolen, who all made it into Seth Walder’s “Top 100 Most Valuable Players of the 2022 Season.” The article is behind a paywall, so here is a snippet of how Seth Walder describes his selection process:

This is a purely descriptive exercise. It’s simply a measure of who generated more value in 2022.

The ballot, obviously, represents my opinion. That opinion is naturally inclined toward data-based evidence — ranging from pass block win rates to our Receiver Tracking Metrics. I also relied on qualitative analysis such as Pro Football Focus grades, awards (All-Pro teams) and the opinions of colleagues and people that work in the league.

How did I decide to reconcile valuing different positions? I focused on how much value a player created relative to an average starter at their position. This means quarterbacks will dominate the top of the list because the difference between the best quarterback and an average quarterback is much larger than the difference between the best guard and an average guard. But it also means there can be no more than 16 quarterbacks, because any player outside the top half is a relative negative, since a team can only start one QB at a time.

Tyler Lockett and Geno Smith landed at 33 and 34, respectively; Tariq Woolen ended up at 51, one spot above the Green Bay Packers corner Jaire Alexander. They were the only three current Seahawks players to make the list, but Bobby Wagner also cracked the top 100 (68th overall). Geno Smith ranked one spot above Tom Brady, which is fun. Of the three, only Lockett received a brief write-up for his performance. Walder went on to say:

“The 1,033 yards that Lockett recorded this season undersells his impact. In our Receiver Tracking Metrics, Lockett ranked second in Overall Score, only behind A.J. Brown. He ranked second and fourth, respectively, in Open Score and Catch Score. And part of me has a hard time shaking the notion that Russell Wilson’s play plummeted as soon as he left Seattle’s receivers, while Geno Smith had the year of his life while playing with Lockett and DK Metcalf. Correlation isn’t always causation … but it could be.”

I find it a bit surprising that DK Metcalf and Kenneth Walker got snubbed, but otherwise I am still impressed that two of the players to make the list weren’t even guaranteed to be starters last summer. Six receivers preceded Lockett on the list — Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, Devante Adams, and CeeDee Lamb. This is pretty impressive, particularly given that four of the above six players were all drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. The top two — Hill and Diggs were both 5th round selections, interestingly enough. As Walder noted above, Tyler Lockett continued his excellent production despite a QB change. Also worthy of note, he suffered a broken finger during the Week 17 contest against the San Francisco 49ers and still only missed one game, despite initial reports that his season may have ended following the injury. He is quite adept at avoiding contact, but nobody can accuse Lockett of lacking toughness.

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