The Seattle Seahawks struck a deal with the Jaguars to move back into the 2019 NFL Draft after making their final selection, acquiring pick 236 to select wide receiver John Ursua. In order to select Ursua—and ensure his services rather than risking rookie free agency—the Seahawks dealt a 2020 sixth round pick to Jacksonville.
Ursua checks all of Seattle’s boxes at wide receiver, with great explosiveness—a 10-foot broad jump and 37” vertical—and agility (6.77 three cone is the second fastest among receivers drafted by the Seahawks since 2010). Though Ursua is slightly undersized, even for a slot at 178 pounds, it’s only a little lighter than Tyler Lockett weighed in at ahead of his draft.
Where Ursua Wins
After thriving as an underneath receiver at Hawaii, Ursua projects as a slot receiver for Seattle. He wins with crisp breaks at the top, and an ability to find and exploit space over the middle of the field. Ursua’s great agility and functional speed help him to create in open space after receiving the ball, as well.
Where Ursua Loses
There is a decent chance Ursua can create a handful of plays a game at the next level if he’s played into his strengths. Beyond that, he’s limited. Ursua isn’t particularly strong at the catch point—he needs to separate—and is bullied by defensive backs if they get their hands on him. Though they may have similar measurables, Ursua isn’t nearly as threatening vertically as Lockett, either.
Year One Role
Ursua is going to have an uphill climb to make the roster, surrounded by Lockett, David Moore, D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings, Jaron Brown, Malik Turner and possibly Doug Baldwin. He’s likely too small to make much of an impact on special teams, but perhaps Ursua can carve out a role—and buy himself some time—as a returner and gadget player.
Best Case Scenario
If the Seahawks want to dial back Lockett’s touches on special teams, there will be a chance for Ursua to take over that spot. If he can continue to develop as a receiver, and strengthen, perhaps he can become an inside receiver as the team’s fourth or fifth option.
Worst Case Scenario
As a seventh round pick, Ursua’s roster spot is hardly a guarantee. Seattle’s receiver corps has a wide range of skill sets, and Ursua could quite easily be the seventh or eighth receiver on the depth chart by the end of August. Though he would presumably land on the practice squad, the worst case scenario would see him fail to do even that.
The Seahawks evidently saw something in Ursua to make a trade to secure him, instead of rolling the dice in the post-draft scramble for free agents. He’s an intriguing athlete who produced in college, and with a hole likely to appear at slot receiver, Ursua is worth the shot.