Harvin, Wagner on the top 100 countdown
August, 25, 2014
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com
RENTON, Wash. -- It's pretty impressive when a player can miss almost the entire 2013 season and still end up No. 50 on ESPN.com's top 100 countdown of offensive and defensive players in the NFL.
Such is the case for Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin, who did enough the few times he was on the field last season, including an 87-yard kickoff return for TD in the Super Bowl, to get the respect of the ESPN voters.
And Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner finally is starting to get the respect he deserves, coming in at No. 41 on the defensive countdown.
Harvin had hip surgery last summer to repair a torn labrum and played in only one regular-season game, facing his former Minnesota Vikings teammates in November. He had a 58-yard kickoff return that day to give Seahawks fans a glimpse of what he can do.
Harvin played only 59 snaps last season, with 42 of those coming in the playoffs. Along with his TD run in the Super Bowl, Harvin also was the leading rusher that night for the Seahawks with 45 yards, including a 30-yard run on an end around.
Harvin is 100 percent healthy now and has shown signs in the preseason of just how explosive he can be, especially his elusiveness after he makes a catch. In his four seasons at Minnesota before the trade to the Seahawks, Harvin ranked second among wide receivers with 1,857 yards after the catch. Wes Welker was first over that span with 2,508 YAC.
Wagner, who is starting his third NFL season, is the glue in the middle of the Seattle defense. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Wagner has 309 tackles in his first two seasons in the NFL, including the postseason. The only players with more during that span are Carolina's Luke Kuechly (330) and Cincinnati's Vontaze Burfict (311).
What isn't factored into that stat is that Wagner missed two games last season with a high ankle sprain, but he was so anxious to get back that he probably returned too soon and didn't play well the first couple of games.
Once his ankle was healthy again, Wagner was a tackling machine, including 34 tackles in the three playoff games.