GLENDALE AZ - JANUARY 10: Jeff Maehl #23 of the Oregon Ducks catches a two-point conversion to tie the game late in the fourth quarter against Zac Etheridge #4 of the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10 2011 in Glendale Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Oregon's Jeff Maehl is an UDFA wide receiver that I could see the Seahawks having interest in for a number of reasons and principal among them is his precise route running. In the Seahawks offense, over the last season or two at least, tempo and timing have been extremely important and we saw a very talented and dangerous player in Golden Tate lose snaps due to imprecise routes and mistakes. Tate was largely replaced by veteran free agent Brandon Stokley, who made his money by finding the soft spot in the zone and having dependable hands. Maehl similarly excelled on Oregon's potent offense by running good routes, catching everything they threw his way, and by using his shiftiness and agility to create separation for himself. He's a former safety that understands defensive formations and this should theoretically help him in finding spots in zones. For these reasons I'm very intrigued with the former Oregon Duck.
He's not speedy in the traditional sense; he ran an underwhelming 4.6 40 at 6'1, 190 pounds, but had ridiculous numbers at the Combine in the agility drills, setting an all-time record in the 3-cone drill at 6.42 seconds. This type of athleticism is arguably more important in the slot anyway because of the ability to come in and out of your breaks with crispness and balance, gain separation from your opponent, and elude a tackle or two after the catch. He's not going to beat many NFL corners in a footrace but he's a smart, long limbed receiver that will most likely find a home in the NFL due to his above mentioned skills.
Maehl caught 68 passes for 942 yards and 12 TDs in 2010 for the Ducks and it should be added that he's a gamer: he pulled in 9 passes for 133 yards in the BCS Championship game against Auburn, one of which was a big two-point conversion (pictured above).
Check out the catch at 0:30 of the 2nd video and you can see the lateral speed and agility everyone talks about as he breaks the ankle of the safety in coverage. The next play, he runs a fade that he sets up well with a text book juke to the inside to beat his man outside.
If you want to see a pretty amazing catch check out what he does at 2:33. Watch the route he runs at 3:07; he sells his fake inside well and is smooth out of his break. He makes another pretty good grab on a fade at 3:42.
Anyway, I could really see John Schneider liking this guy for all the reasons I stated above. If they're looking for a guy like Stokley for the slot Maehl might be a good option. The Seahawks are trying to get younger and get younger quickly, and Jeff Maehl is one of the most intriguing wide receivers that went undrafted.