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Seahawks winning despite almost no contribution from rookies

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

DK Metcalf caught a big 40-yard touchdown on Thursday night and his rookie contributions (12 catches, 267 yards, 2 TDs, NFL-best 22.25 yards per catch) have been outstanding. I think he’s been far better than not only the expectation of a late second round pick, but the higher expectations of people who thought he should have been a first round pick. The first five games of Metcalf’s career should drive many a fan’s fantasies about what the future holds for him. Yes, let us all sing the praises of Metcalf immediately. He’s proving to be a rookie that the Seahawks needed right away and he’s producing.

And he’s about it.

Seattle kept inactive first round pick L.J. Collier, second round pick Marquise Blair, and fourth round pick Gary Jennings, all of whom were healthy, among several other rookies. Do not read these last two sentences and immediately jump to the comments to tell me that “It’s early!” and “Stop hating on these guys!” and “Go.” Not just yet. I’m not saying that any of these players were kept inactive because they are bad. Who knows what they are! It’s only been five games and there aren’t places for them, it seems. Jennings, maybe you worry a bit, but still only five games.

No, the reason that I bring this up is because it’s interesting to me. It’s interesting that the Seahawks are 4-1 despite getting almost no contributions from their rookies on offense and defense other than Metcalf. Not good interesting or bad interesting, just “hmmm” interesting. I do think that between the two options, it is a good thing. It’s always a good thing to be 4-1. To do so without contribution from 10 of your 11 picks — despite all those players making the team — sounds great to me.

Because I do still believe that some of these players have really exciting futures. Why wouldn’t I? And I really like the idea of Seattle winning a lot of games this year without them and then being able to turn over some of the roster next year to bring them in. That sounds like a win-win. Then again, we don’t know if some of these early inactives are gonna be good or bad or neutral. It’s too early, but here’s a quick list anyway.

LJ Collier, DE, first round

This doesn’t feel bad to me because the defensive line got very crowded when Jadeveon Clowney arrived and Quinton Jefferson, Rasheem Green started playing lights out. There’s no room for Collier unless he was really raging out in practice. I’m not worried if he’s not raging out though.

Marquise Blair, S, second round

I think there’s probably a really interesting plan for Blair and someday they’ll be able to pull it out, but at the moment they like their safeties.

DK Metcalf, WR, second round

Good.

Cody Barton, LB, third round

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I think Barton could become the best player in this group. Again, no room for him, which is just how good these linebackers are.

Gary Jennings, WR, fourth round

Well, they reportedly cut him but they did change their minds for whatever reason. It’s not very promising.

Phil Haynes, G, fourth round

Remember him? He could be coming off of PUP soon.

Ugo Amadi, DB, fourth round

Had 20 snaps on defense in Week 1 but only one in the three games after. I don’t recall seeing Amadi on defense on Thursday. He’s a regular on special teams and has made at least one big play there. The Seahawks are happy with running Mychal Kendricks out there instead of a nickel, so it’s not that concerning that Amadi didn’t win “that job” since that job isn’t used very much.

Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, fifth round

The idea about Barton but then doubly hard. But that’s only regarding defensive snaps. He’s been in on a heavy amount of special teams snaps.

Travis Homer, RB, sixth round

He’s always active but he’s yet to take a snap on offense. They run three-deep most weeks at running back with C.J. Prosise as a very good third back, so where would Homer get in? He is in on some special teams plays.

Demarcus Christmas, DT, sixth round

Also expected to be able to come off PUP soon. If all stays healthy, where would they even play a fifth defensive tackle? Seattle is getting back Jarran Reed in two weeks. Another guy who is blocked for now.

John Ursua, WR, seventh round

They traded a 2020 sixth round pick to secure Ursua and they clearly like him a lot. Where would he play? Tyler Lockett, Metcalf, David Moore, and Malik Turner are all looking pretty good. I know that there’d probably be some calls to replace Jaron Brown but I don’t see any similarities between those two players. It’s not a 1 for 1. They like Brown’s blocking a lot. It’s not gonna happen for Ursua unless a player gets hurt. Even then, it’s not like Turner or Moore are getting many targets.

The Seahawks got to this point thanks to the over-achievement of several players in comparison to the expected situation in April when they were drafted. Seattle took three wide receivers and Doug Baldwin retired, but Will Dissly turned into the true number two and the coaches really like some other young players like Moore and Turner, which is a good thing. They got Burr-Kirven with special teams in mind and that’s what he’s doing. Barton was a 2020 plan. Clowney became available at an insanely low price.

They drafted 11 players, kept them all, and are 4-1 despite only one of them contributing on either side of the ball.