Okay, how about a different approach, while it’s harder to analyze a defensive player, without the eye test they just don’t “wow” you or show their worth with stats. But pass the eye test Kenny Easley did in spades!
In1980 our Seahawks could score points, they had a prolific young QB and RB that the year before had approached a 1000 yds (well only 775 yds in 15 games but was a threat nonetheless). Sherman Smith was injured that year, limited to 3 game and was a major factor in the Seahawks finishing that season at 4-12. To give you a reference point our beloved Seahawks had been giving up over 350 points on defense since their conception, in ’80 they gave up over 400 points, the most since their first year.
This set up the ’81 draft, clearly the Hawks need a defensive stopgap and as luck would have it two of the very best safeties happened to be in that draft. Forever linked to Ronnie Lott because they were cross town rivals, Lott at USC and Easley at UCLA, both top ten draft picks, and prolific DBs, some would say the Seahawks ended up with the second best; but not the fans that got to watch Kenny play.
From his first year Kenny was a hit with fans, as big as his snot-slobbering hits on the field. The Seahawks had an enforcer and the fans loved him. Kenny was Kam Chancellor with Earl Thomas’ ball hawking skills. His first year he started 14 games intercepted three passes for 155 yds, one he ran back for 82 yds for a TD setting the table for a blow out win against Cleveland the last game of that season. More important his presentence freed up fellow FS John Harris to intercept 10 passes.
In his first year he helped cut other teams scoring by a mire 20 point, but by his second they’d cut it by over 250 points and by the third teams were game planning to move Kenny out of the area they wanted to throw to. He roamed the middle of the field eliminating or decleating TE’s and WR’s with equal impunity.
Some would say he single handedly turned a Seahawk defensive back field that was as soft as milk toast into one of the most feared in the NFL. A five time Probowler in his too short seven year career, he lead the NFL in INTs in ’85, amassed 32 for his career, and even ran back punts when needed in four of his Probowl years.
It was a sad day indeed that fateful day Kenny Easley was traded/retired. My friends and fellow Seahawk fans Kam is a Probowler and a fine SS in his own right, but he’s no Kenny Easley. For his impact (no pun intended) and being the face of the defense for seven years I suggest Kenny to this list.
Any other takers?