BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 12: Rueben Randle #2 of the Louisiana State University Tigers falls to the one yard line after being tackled by Tyree Robinson #22 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Tiger Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tigers defeated the Hilltoppers 42-9. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
This two-word phrase is now engrained in the Seahawks fanhood lexicon after Pete Carroll mentioned that getting more 'touchdown makers' was one of his top priorities in this year's Draft and offseason. Now - most believe, well, some believe that in this draft, it will be DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE, SOME MORE DEFENSE, then maybe a QB and RB somewhere. I personally would put money on the fact the Seahawks will take a defensive end or linebacker with their #1 pick, but barring some situation where everyone is gone by the time they pick, you might see an offensive player. That's what this post is for.
Let's lay out a scenario: Suppose that by the 11th/12th pick, LB Courtney Upshaw, DE Quinton Coples, DE Melvin Ingram, or DT Devon Still and Michael Brockers are all gone. Trent Richardson is off the board. If this is the case, I can see the Seahawks looking at WR, potentially. It may be a luxury pick, but assuming the Hawks can't trade back and don't want to take a guy like Ryan Tannehill or Brock Osweiler so damn early, there are some nigh-elite receivers out there to look at.
Here are Mike Mayock's top-5 at the position, as it stands pre-Combine.
Fall: Floyd, Jeffery
New entry: Randle
Out: Wake Forest's Chris Givens
Blackmon is the consensus number one receiver but Kendall Wright is right on his heels. Either player would be a huge addition for the Seahawks and I honestly wouldn't be disappointed to see one of them in Seahawks' blue next season. They're different in style a bit - Wright is more of a vertical outside/seam threat and a little bit smaller, and Blackmon is the 'catch everything' type of playmaker that can do a lot of different things for your offense, particularly in the red-zone (touchdown maker).
Michael Floyd is a physical freak of nature and his size/speed combination is likely to intrigue a lot of teams. At 6'3, 223, he caught 100 passes this season and 9 touchdowns to cap a 271 catch, 37 touchdown career. Floyd is one guy to watch very closely at the Combine because if he runs in the 4.3s or 4.4s, his stock could soar, a la Jonathan Baldwin of Pitt from last season.
Rueben Randle has quietly risen up the charts and is now in the first-round discussion by some. He's got size - 6'4, 208, and caught 53 passes and 8 touchdowns for the Tigers this year, even with a rather deficient passing offense. Doug Farrar profiled him at Shutdown Corner and noted that Randle is a "tremendous after-catch receiver who seems stronger on the run than his body type would reveal. Perfectly willing to go over the middle and make the tough catch in traffic, and he's a load to take down on slants and posts. Always looking to turn upfield and make that extra gain."
Farrar adds, "Perhaps at his best on sideline routes -- he gets the ball quickly, turns aggressively, and starts juking for extra space right away. Also great with fade routes, where he can use the boundary to gain an advantage."\
Anyway - that sounds like the type of player any team would want, but in terms of the Seahawks, at first blush he seems like the type of guy you could put opposite Sidney Rice to make both sides dangerous, or could fill in if/when Rice gets hurt.
Alshon Jeffrey is slipping down boards - there were some rumors that he ballooned up to 245 pounds at one point and running the 40 in 4.88 seconds, then the other day I saw someone write that he was down to 215. The Combine will be huge for the South Carolina product - at a listed 6'4, 230 - if he runs slow or comes in out of shape, he could really hurt his stock. He's a red-zone beast though and has been compared to the USC version of Mike Williams coming out. Someone to keep an eye on, regardless, especially if he falls into round two.
Falling off Mayock's list is Wake Forest's Chris Givens. I don't know a ton about Givens so I won't fake it. NFLDraftScout.com says this about him:
As an NFL Draft prospect, Chris Givens offers a lot of production and agility. Givens relies on quickness and change of direction to achieve separation, and can make the spectacular catch. While most of his production came off short throws with plenty of YAC, Givens is a legit deep threat. Despite injuries in high school, Givens was healthy for the duration of his career at Wake. Givens could fit as a #2 WR or slot in most schemes, and likely is best suited for a West Coast offense.
Not making the list is Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu. I know that Rob Staton is high on Sanu and I've seen him in several analysts' first-round mock drafts, so he bears mentioning. An all-around receiver at 6'2, 215 - he's got great hands, is excellent after the catch, and is a playmaker over the middle. He had a ludicrous 115 receptions in 2011, setting a Rutgers school record. I like Sanu - he's got the potential to surprise a lot of people and so far is a bit under the radar.
Also not making Mayock's list is UNC's Dwight Jones. Jones has been profiled a lot by Rob Staton as well over at Seahawks Draft Blog and is the type of all-around, big, fast, playmaking receiver that I could see the Seahawks lusting after. He's a guy to keep on your radar as well.
Now, the good news is that this receiver class seems pretty deep so the Seahawks may not go receiver this high. Likely, they won't, actually. So, who else do you watch? Here are a few- Ryan Broyles, Nick Toon, Jermaine Kearse, Juron Criner, Stephen Hill, Brian Quick, Marvin McNutt Jr., Jeff Fuller, Gerell Robinson, B.J. Cunningham - the list goes on and that's really just a smattering, and considering the Hawks found a guy like Doug Baldwin in rookie free agency last year, it wouldn't surprise me to see them pillage this group some in the later rounds.
1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State. 6'1, 215
2. Kendall Wright, Baylor. 5'10, 190
3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame. 6'4, 223
4. Rueben Randle, LSU. 6'4, 203
5. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina. 6'4, 230
Chris Givens, Wake Forest. 6'0, 195
Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers. 6'2, 215
Dwight Jones, North Carolina. 6'4, 225