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Friday, February 7, 2014
MVP replacements: Seattle Seahawks

By Terry Blount

Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.

So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens? Our NFL Nation reporters and Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl have teamed up to identify each team's most important player and which player in the 2014 draft each team can target to groom as a potential replacement -- MVP insurance. For some teams, their future stars may be slightly younger than others as draft-eligible non-seniors are denoted with an asterisk.

Wilson
The Seahawks are in the Super Bowl because of several MVP candidates that include running back Marshawn Lynch, cornerback Richard Sherman, and free safety Earl Thomas.

But if we’re talking about the real MVP, the player they can least afford to lose, the landslide winner is quarterback Russell Wilson.

You can make a valid argument that Seattle would have made in to the Super Bowl without either Sherman or Thomas, simply because of the extraordinary depth in the secondary.

Lynch also is a major component to the team’s success, rushing for more than 1,200 yards for the third consecutive season. This team’s offense is built around his power running.

Robert Turbin, however, is a quality backup and Christine Michael, the team’s top draft pick last April, is a talented player the Seahawks see as their long-range future in the backfield.

But this team would not be in the Super Bowl without Wilson. Not even close.

Tarvaris Jackson, who was the starter two years ago, is an experienced backup quarterback who knows the system well. But he can’t match Wilson’s ability to scramble and make positive plays with his legs. More importantly, Jackson doesn’t possess the intangible qualities Wilson brings as a team leader.

Truthfully, few teams in the NFL could lose the starting quarterback and continue to play at the same level. And the Seahawks’ top draft needs aren’t at quarterback. The offensive line and possibly a big wide receiver are what the team needs now.

But Seattle is not a Super Bowl team without a healthy Russell Wilson.

Potential pick: Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Similar to Wilson, Shaw lacks ideal measurables (6-0, 209) but brings elite intangibles and leadership skills. Though Shaw’s arm isn’t nearly as strong as Wilson’s, his mobility and creativity to extend plays in the passing game make him a nice fit within the Seahawks' offense. Clearly quarterback isn’t a pressing need, but taking a chance on Shaw in the late rounds could end up providing Seattle with a formidable backup.

-- Kevin Weidl