The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks face each other regularly, which means we have a pretty good idea about a lot of what we can expect to see. However, there are still some lesser known players we’ll want to keep an eye out for this Sunday.
I chatted with Field Gulls editor Kenneth Arthur this week, and he offered up some names on both sides of the ball
Offensively, I don't have a good answer for you. Nobody on the offensive line, that's for sure. Graham is the only relevant tight end. I think the receivers are all performing about as expected. Paul Richardson is maybe going to finish with more yards and touchdowns than expected (Probably ~800 and 8) but he was playing really well at the end of last year and he's also not so dominant that I can say for certain that he'll make any notable plays this week. And the running backs are also mostly bad, though it is surprising that the team may be using J.D. McKissic and Mike Davis the most. Your readers already know about Davis. McKissic isn't a great back but he's small and speedy and is capable of breaking off a big play now and then. I don't know that anyone's sure of the availability of Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls, the latter of whom was a healthy scratch in Week 11.
Defensively, I'd start with Nazair Jones. Seattle picked Malik McDowell at the top of the second round, a defensive tackle, so not a lot of people were thinking about the defensive tackle that they took at the end of the third, Jones. Then McDowell had an ATV accident and seriously injured his head or face (not sure we ever got a clear answer on that) and has yet to play, while Jones has used the opportunity to show that he might have an even brighter future. Jones intercepted Aaron Rodgers on his first career snap and he's looked very adept against the pass. He has 1.5 sacks in the last three games.
Similarly, I think that Jarran Reed (second rounder in 2016) was kind of a forgotten man but he's really blossomed in his second season. He could be a true three-down defensive tackle against the run and the pass, but he missed last week with a hamstring injury. Reed was limited in practice on Wednesday.
Justin Coleman has been a better slot corner than I expected and it would not be surprising to see them bring him back in that position for next season. Dion Jordan was signed in the offseason but there were hardly any expectations that he'd even make the roster. He did in spite of missing basically everything following knee surgery as an NRI and then he was activated a couple of weeks ago. Jordan has flashed some of that potential that made him the third overall pick in 2013 and his production may have helped the Seahawks make the decision to release Dwight Freeney.