Seahawks' Tyler Lockett ranks NFL's top young QBs, says Russell Wilson can still get better

The Seattle Seahawks won't be in this weekend's NFC Championship Game, but it's no fault of two of their best players.

Quarterback Russell Wilson, fresh off his fourth 30-plus-touchdown season in five years, completed almost 68 percent of his passes and led the team in rushing against the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, his No. 1 target, Tyler Lockett, led both teams with nine catches, racking up 136 yards and a touchdown to put Seattle within five points of a trip to the conference title game.

When they look back on the season, however, they know they can do better. In fact, if you ask Lockett, they will get better -- specifically Wilson, even though he's also coming off a year in which he was long considered an MVP candidate.

"I think this was the best season Russell has had since I've been here," Lockett told CBS Sports, "and we have a lot of reasons to be excited about the future. The more we continue to play together, the more chemistry we have and deeper our bond becomes, the better we can be."

Lockett has played alongside Wilson since 2015, when both players went to the Pro Bowl. He's seen No. 3 throw at least 34 touchdowns three times, including in 2018, when the quarterback posted a career-high passer rating of 110.9. So it's saying something that he views this past season, Wilson's age-31 campaign, as the best yet.

He's also aware his own QB is now far removed from being one of the NFL's "up-and-coming" stars at the position. Asked to identify the game's top young signal-callers, he specifically named Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.

Lockett's eyes are on 2020 now, with hopes of helping Wilson capture his second career Lombardi Trophy, but in the meantime, he'll be busy working with New Era during the apparel company's 100th anniversary. The 27-year-old wideout said signing with New Era as a brand ambassador alongside Jimmy Garoppolo, Christian McCaffrey and other NFL players was "one of the coolest moments of my career," and now he's promoting his own line of signature hats.

"There's nothing better than seeing fans wearing the caps I designed," he said.

And that's really where he wants his off-field focus to be -- on others.

"I could sit here and do all this stuff for me," Lockett said, "but at the end of the day, it's not going to make me truly happy. What makes me happiest is seeing the influence I have on fans and our community. I take my responsibility to be a positive role model very seriously, and I love showing kids that anything is possible with hard work and strong beliefs."

New Era, which is celebrating 100 years of business in 2020, has produced hats for the NFL since the 1980s and became the official sideline cap of the league in 2012. Tony DeSimone, the company's VP of licensed sports, said the partnership has evolved to include New Era-sponsored apparel at everything from the scouting combine to the Super Bowl, with all NFL players outfitted with draft, sideline and training camp caps as well as cold-weather knits. Lockett is one of their seven different player partners.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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