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Rookie Report: 2019 Seahawks rookies class showed what they’ve got against Vikings

NFL: MAY 04 Seahawks Rookie Mini-Camp

On Monday Night the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Minnesota Vikings 37-30, and while DK Metcalf remains the lone member of the rookie class who is playing a material role for the Seahawks, some of the other 2019 draftees are starting to leave their fingerprints on games.

DK Metcalf

Metcalf had six catches on seven targets while leading the team with 75 yards receiving. The six catches ties his career high, a high he’s now reached in three of the past four games. So, while it appears as though it may have taken the team some time to recognize how his skillset is best put to use on the field, he has been lights out for the Hawks recently. In the four games the Hawks have played in November and December, Metcalf has 21 catches on 32 targets (65.6% catch rate), 303 yards and a touchdown.

To put into perspective how much more production Seattle is getting out of Metcalf this season compared to other rookie wide receivers across the NFL, here is a modified list of the top twelve rookie wide receivers across the NFL in terms of receiving yards. If the list weren’t modified, Metcalf would be at the top of the list for targets, receptions and yards, however because it’s modified he’s not at the top, he’s ninth. And eleventh.

DK Metcalf’s 2019 production versus other rookie WRs broken up between Weeks 1-9 and Weeks 9-12

Rank Players Tm G Tgt Rec Yds TD Ctch%
Rank Players Tm G Tgt Rec Yds TD Ctch%
1 Terry McLaurin Washington 11 72 42 646 5 58.30%
2 A.J. Brown Tennessee 12 54 34 626 4 63.00%
3 Deebo Samuel San Francisco 11 59 42 564 3 71.20%
4 Marquise Brown Baltimore 10 60 36 520 6 60.00%
5 Darius Slayton New York Giants 10 62 37 505 5 59.70%
6 Mecole Hardman Kansas City 12 37 23 450 5 62.20%
7 Preston Williams Miami 8 60 32 428 3 53.30%
8 Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh 12 61 36 423 3 59.00%
9 DK Metcalf Weeks 1-8 Seattle 8 45 23 402 4 51.11%
10 Hunter Renfrow Oakland 11 53 36 396 2 67.90%
11 DK Metcalf Weeks 9-13 Seattle 4 32 21 303 1 65.63%
12 Jakobi Meyers New England 11 35 22 299 0 62.86%

In short, Metcalf is generating far more production than is typical for rookie wide receivers. That is phenomenal news for a wide receiver group that could lose both Jaron Brown and Josh Gordon in free agency this spring, and sets the stage for a potential trio of Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and David Moore, with Malik Turner and John Ursua right behind them.

Cody Barton

Barton has been a key member of the Seattle special teams units all season, but against the Vikings he got into the action a little on defense. The eleven defensive snaps he played on Monday was more than the total of seven defensive snaps he had played over the first eleven games of the season. With Mychal Kendricks set to be a free agent after the season, and both K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner getting older, hopefully Barton gets a chance to take the training wheels off on defense in the coming weeks.

Travis Homer

Travis Homer had a big night, logging his first regular season carry and returning two kickoffs for 51 yards. That first ever carry, of course, was good for 29 yards, which means he now leads the team in yards per carry and the debate can begin to rage regarding whether Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny should be benched since their respective yards per carry averages are in the neighborhood of 80 percent lower.

On a serious note, perhaps most importantly Homer continued to show what he can do returning kickoffs. Fans have been calling for someone, anyone beside Tyler Lockett to return kickoffs, and Homer has now returned three kickoffs this season and is averaging a very good 26.7 yards per return. There’s no questioning that it’s obviously a very small sample, but it’s beginning to appear as though Seattle may have found their replacement kick returner, allowing Lockett to focus on being one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

The Special Teamers

Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi and Ben Burr-Kirven did not play any on defense, but all three were key contributors on special teams, just as they have been all season. Amadi and Blair each recorded a tackle on special teams, and while BBK did not make it into the box score, he was, as usual, a very important member of the special teams unit.

The Inactives

While several members of the rookie class were busy making their mark on the field, a handful remained on the sideline. Notably, L.J. Collier, Phil Haynes and John Ursua were all healthy scratches, but that is nothing that is too surprising in looking at how the season has played out.

In particular, while Demarcus Christmas was not technically on the inactives list because he is still on the physically unable to perform list. In a bit of trivia that will interest all of about a half dozen regular Field Gulls readers, Christmas is now in a very unique place. Specifically, since he has spent the first thirteen weeks of the season on the PUP list, Christmas will not earn an accrued season for 2019.

However, because he is not in the final year of his contract, his rookie contract will not toll. That means that in 2020 Christmas will be back with the team on the second year of his four year rookie contract, but would not be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the fourth year of that contract. Assuming he makes the roster each season going forward, Christmas would finish his rookie contract with just three accrued seasons, which would make him a restricted free agent rather than an unrestricted free agent. Of course, with the possibility of a new CBA being adopted in the next year or two, it’s possible that all of this could change and became outdated. Only time will tell.

In any case, it’s now a matter of waiting until next Sunday to see if the rookie class can help the Seahawks secure a playoff spot when they play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14.