After a brief trade down, the Seattle Seahawks added their second wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft with the selection of Gary Jennings. Seahawks GM John Schneider mentioned on Friday evening they may not be done at receiver, and they followed through on that with their first selection on day three.
As I wrote last night, Seattle has always emphasized speed and explosiveness over agility at wide receiver, and that proved true again with Jennings:
Explosiveness > agility pic.twitter.com/ScG0osrX3J— Alistair Corp (@byAlistairCorp) April 27, 2019
Jennings has good size, at 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds, and excellent explosiveness. Among receivers in this year’s class, he finished with the second highest SPARQ score—behind D.K. Metcalf.
Where Jennings Wins
Jennings wins over the middle of the field, separating with crisp breaks and the awareness to find space against zone coverage.
I like Gary Jennings' toughness and concentration between zones. He does a good job of fully extending. Very solid possession receiver to pair with Tyler Lockett's and D.K. Metcalf's downfield speed. #Seahawks #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/EzqG5fTPr8— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) April 27, 2019
The compact wideout uses physicality to his advantage before and after the catch, and should continue to thrive over the middle of the field in the NFL.
Where Jennings Loses
As one would expect from a receiver coming from West Virginia, Jennings’ game isn’t particularly refined at this point. His body control is awkward and there should be concerns over how natural of a ball catcher he is.
Year One Role
Similar to Metcalf, Jennings’ role will depend on Doug Baldwin’s status. Should Baldwin retire, as is expected, Jennings will have a chance to compete for regular snaps playing as the Z receiver and in the slot. If Baldwin does indeed come back, Jennings may be limited to a special teams role (or even inactive on game days).
Best Case Scenario
Already, Jennings has the tools to be a solid slot receiver at the next level. Though his game does need to be rounded out, in the best case scenario Jennings can seamlessly replace Baldwin, giving the Seahawks toughness and reliability out of the slot, and interchangeability with Tyler Lockett both vertically and horizontally.
New @Seahawks WR Gary Jennings led the draft-eligible Big 12 WRs in yards per route run from the slot last season. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/52PwEVPjV6— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 27, 2019
Worst Case Scenario
Seattle’s draft history since 2010 is littered with mid-to-late round picks at wide receiver who failed to develop. Mountaineers receivers drafted in the Dana Holgorsen’s tenure are the same. There’s a clear direction Jennings’ career goes if it doesn’t pan out.
The Seahawks have two major question marks at wide receiver: Will David Moore develop any further, and will Doug Baldwin return? With the selections of Metcalf and Jennings, they’ve afforded themselves insurance in case both answers to those questions turn out to be no.