Seattle Seahawks receiver/returner Tyler Lockett broke his leg last season and began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but he was back on the field on Friday returning punts, per ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia.
It looks like Tyler Lockett is back. Seahawks WR has a helmet on and is fielding punts. Lockett began camp on... https://t.co/GGapnsO3sV— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) August 4, 2017
That means Lockett really only missed four practices, putting him in great position to have a full preseason before the Seahawks opening game against the Green Bay Packers in a little over a month.
Lockett was a Pro Bowl/First-Team All-Pro returner as a rookie in 2015 and has flashed well-above-average ability as a receiver, though he has consistently dealt with injuries while inconsistently being an offensive threat. In 33 career games, Lockett has gone over 100 yards twice (career-high 130 vs the Rams last December) but been under 30 yards 12 times, including catching zero of six targets against the Bucs in a November loss.
I point that out only to emphasize that Lockett is a special talent, but we should caution ourselves from expecting too much out of him until either Darrell Bevell finds the best way to consistently utilize him or as soon as he demands that he can no longer be ignored. It often takes receivers 2-4 years to really adjust to the pro level, so in that regard Lockett is ahead of schedule. As far as his return game goes, I have always assumed that he’d maintain his job long-term as a punt returner and that he’d soon have to be replaced on kick returns, which is more dangerous with far less reward.
Lockett is expected to compete to start — or at least get the second-most snaps at receiver — alongside Doug Baldwin. His competition includes Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, and Amara Darboh. The fact that he’s coming into the competition in early August, instead of early September, means that we’ve got an intriguing battle to monitor for the next five weeks.