I guess I don’t know why people are so worried about the wide receiver position for the Seahawks. Do you know how many fanbases would LOVE to have two of the very best receivers in the game, in the primes of their careers? There isn’t a better wide receiver duo, pound-for-pound, in the entire NFL right now than D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett; I’ll give you Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, if you want to include tight ends, but that’s it (and I would argue, given where Metcalf is in his career so far, he’s more valuable at 23 than Kelce is at 31).
But, what do Seahawks fans obsess over? “Who’s going to be the #3 and #4 receivers?”
WHO GIVES A SHIT?!
I mean, let’s get real, people. Who was our #3 receiver last year? David Moore. I think we did okay with David Moore getting 35 receptions on 47 targets, and I’m pretty sure we can back-fill the David Moore spot with whoever the fuck is still on our roster.
Look, I get it. It would be nice if ALL of our receivers were Pro Bowlers. Hell, why not have 53 All Pros on our roster, wouldn’t that be neat?! The fact that we have two elite receivers – who are going to command the lion’s share of the targets, mind you – should be good enough. Let’s not be greedy. Remember David Moore’s 47 targets last year? Again, it was third-most on the team. Do you know how many Lockett and Metcalf had? 132 and 129 respectively. Of the 563 pass attempts made in 2020, 261 were thrown to those two guys; doing the math, that means 46% of all throws went to two guys. The other 54% of throws were spread out to 13 other guys.
The point is, it doesn’t really matter who those other 13 guys are when you have Metcalf and Lockett.
Dee Eskridge was the big draft pick for us this year. Second round speedster with a Tyreek Hill upside, he figures to be given every opportunity to win the #3 job this season. At the very least, you figure the team will find a way to incorporate him into the offense with some gadget plays or something. But, he’s been dealing with a foot injury, and therefore hasn’t been able to practice. That IS concerning. It’s not The Sky Is Falling-level concerning, but something closer to “Do I wait to finish this thought before I go to the bathroom, or stop mid-sentence and risk losing my … what was I talking about?”
It’s more of a bummer, than anything. Eskridge’s potential is so exciting! Especially in an offense with a Top 5 quarterback and two Top 10 receivers already. If he pans out, do you know what this could mean for us? The mind boggles! Unfortunately, it’s a toe/foot injury, which is kind of the worst-case scenario for a wide receiver, especially one who relies most on his speed. Apparently, it’s non-surgical. And, also apparently, they found him a shoe to wear that is helping heal whatever’s going on. He’s expected to come off of the PUP list in the next few days, so all hope isn’t lost. But, we’re in the middle of the pre-season now (he’ll likely miss the first two games of the three we’ve got), so you can’t say he hasn’t been set back at least a little.
But, again, I’m not too worried. If you think about it like I do – that we’re just replacing David Moore – then we’ve got PLENTY of guys already on our roster who can do that. We certainly don’t need to go out in free agency to find someone more expensive! And, when Eskridge is ready, he should be a built-in step-up in that department over David Moore, just as soon as he gets used to the level of play in the NFL.
Freddie Swain is the natural Next Man Up in this scenario. He was a rookie last year and as far as rookie receivers go, I thought he was pretty good! Especially for someone drafted in the sixth round; what do you expect? I thought he was every bit as good as David Moore already, with upside to be even better. The fact of the matter is, we don’t yet know his ceiling, though everyone seems to think they do. The Seahawks liked Swain enough to trust him as a rookie; I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing.
John Ursua is another late-round draft pick, from 2019, who is fighting to make the 53-man roster. He’s had a tough go of it so far, but he’s still here! Either that means the Seahawks still like him, or he has no other viable suitors (since he was on the practice squad for most of 2020, any team could’ve claimed him if they really wanted him). I’m not super sure what he offers you other than “good hands”, but we saw him try to return punts in the pre-season game last week, so I guess he’s attempting to expand his special teams repertoire (the knock on him was that he was Just A Receiver, and as a result probably needed to find himself in the Top 3 or 4 to reasonably make the roster, since the last 1-2 receivers are usually special teams guys).
Penny Hart was one of those players for the Seahawks last year, playing almost exclusively on special teams. I don’t really know what he is as a receiver, but we’ll see if he has any good will carry over for an opportunity to actually play some on offense in 2021.
I’m not going to write about every single wide receiver the Seahawks have in camp, since the majority won’t make the team. I will say that there’s usually one surprise guy who stands out and finds a way onto the team (a la Hart last year). There’s also usually a pre-season darling who crushes it in the games, but fails to make the team (much to the dismay of fans). This year’s Kasen Williams Memorial candidate appears to be Aaron Fuller, who made a name for himself at the University of Washington, and had 1 catch for 17 yards against the Raiders last week. I expect great things from him the next two weeks, only to be cut before the regular season.
Overall, I’m giving the wide receiver room an A grade. I’m obviously weighting my grade to reflect the fact that the top two guys get nearly half the targets. Their production, combined with the amount of attention they generate from opposing defenses (which, in turn, will open things up for all the other guys on offense), makes this easily one of the best units on the team. Of course, injuries could decimate this grade, as the depth isn’t there. But, really, who in the NFL has the kind of depth that can withstand injuries to your top two guys? And if Eskridge pans out, there’s still room for growth! I could not be more pleased with what the Seahawks are running out there at wide receiver.