At long last, we’ve reached the end of a look at the hopefuls on the Seattle Seahawks’ 90-man roster. Seattle had eleven draft picks and made several significant moves in free agency. These are some simple thoughts on the new players and things to look for as the days count down in the final week leading up to training camp.
Wide Receivers: Jaron Brown, Amara Darboh, Jazz Ferguson, Gary Jennings, Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore, Keenan Reynolds, Caleb Scott, Malik Turner, John Ursua, Terry Wright (12)
This is, for many, the most anticipated position group in 2019 for the Hawks. So many questions surround the receivers: Doug Baldwin - what happens without him? Tyler Lockett - will he succeed as an undersized #1 receiver? DK Metcalf - who is he? DK Metcalf’s abs - are they real?
It also happens to be one of the positions people want to read and write the most about right now. I, for one, hate double dipping on great material that’s already been shared, so some of this preview will refer you to the abundance of literature already in circulation on Field Gulls
Leader – Tyler Lockett. He’s now unquestionably the best pass catcher on this roster in any position, but his voice has also continued to grow since his rookie year. During this year’s OTA press conference, Lockett was practically gushing about his teammates, about this season, about Doug Baldwin, and his own training and growth. He’s funny, he’s eloquent, he’s well versed about his position, and he’s a shining beacon of hope to small guys everywhere that not every athlete has to be 6’2” 220 lbs.
A very short word about DK Metcalf – not only is DK the most hyped Seahawks rookie since Russell Wilson, I think he’s even more talked about. From the good, bad and ugly, to the internet’s never-ending ability to be better athletes than professionals, he has been the center of speculation for months. If you haven’t made up your mind on him already, nothing that can be written here will make any difference. But please, Seattle, let’s give it more than two games before offering Metcalf on the altar of John Schneider’s worst decisions.
Oh yeah, that other rookie - Gary Jennings – He didn’t put up DK Metcalf’s 4.33, but the reason he was chosen was still his speed. Though he ran a 4.42 40yd at the combine, he was the fastest player at the senior bowl, a fact John Schneider specifically referred to in the post-draft press conference.
Three fastest players so far in south practice:— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) January 22, 2019
Gary Jennings (WR)- 21.5 mph
Tyre Brady (WR) -19.8mph
Mark Fields (DB) - 19.7mph
Next two are TEs ... pic.twitter.com/ZcgnxtiCMa
His highlight reel is packed mostly with late-run separation. With some of what David Moore did last year, and what DK is expected to be able to do, it will be interesting to where Jennings can find a role.
Is there Moore than we saw last year - David Moore. Most of the confusion with Moore last season came from how productive he was in the exact middle of the season. A non-presence in the first three games, and invisible in the final five, Chris Carson’s 2017 7th round counterpart put up four very impressive games in his second year. More than once he made Russell Wilson look like a genius.
Moore already showed he’s a legitimate deep threat. Route versatility was one of the factors that kept him from ever getting more than four receptions in a game. But Pete Carroll believes Moore improved his mental game this offseason:
Moore can’t just disappear when there’s a competent defender across from him. That’s why it’s encouraging that Moore is learning the ‘Z’ (inside) receiver position as well as the X this year, expanding the way defenses will have to cover him.
“It’s like twice as much learning,” Carroll said of Moore. “We’re most excited about the fact it’s obvious he made a jump. That’s what we look for. Sometimes it happens between rookie and sophomore year … he’s ready now and that’s all that counts.”
Moore has a chance this season to make the final two draft picks of 2017 look like Schneider’s best (the only good?) selections.
Intriguing Newcomer - John Ursua. He’s 5’9”, even shorter than Lockett. He’s a 25 year old rookie, thanks to a redshirt season and a 2-year LDS mission. He speaks English, French, and Hawaiian. He led the nation with 16 TD receptions in his senior year at University of Hawaii.
Ursua also has the ability to battle for slot receiver this year. He’s more of an in-traffic, sure-handed guy than the outside gymnasts hoping to get other receiver spots. Plus, Seattle traded next year’s 6th round pick to Jacksonville to get back in the draft and nab Ursua, so even after 10 picks Schneider didn’t feel comfortable leaving Ursua on the table. Expect him to get a real opportunity to see how he handles the middle of the field.
Missed opportunity - Jaron Brown. We’ve already discussed Pete Carroll’s admission that the Seahawks underutilized Brown last year. On paper, his 2018 was terrible...sort of. 5 TDs in 14 receptions is an usual ratio to say the least, and it tied Baldwin and Moore for second most receiving touchdowns. But he never saw more than three targets, and unless his name was being called by Steve Raible you’d tend to forget he was even out there.
The upcoming possibilities for Brown are perhaps more varied than any of the guys on this list. Per NFL experience, it is technically conceivable that Brown could be the #2 receiver for Seattle. He’s got the most, compared to 0-1 for much of this squad. As Field Gulls asked earlier, does that inspire you?
Because of the lack of experience elsewhere, Brown is also the only receiver besides Lockett on something other than a rookie deal. That makes everyone else cheap, and if anything remotely close to 14-166-5 is expected again...that’s not really worth it. He’ll have to step it up big, which it sounds like he is doing.
Most to lose – Amara Darboh. It sure feels like Seattle has struggled with to draft the third round well since Tyler Lockett in 2015. CJ Prosise, Rees Odhiambo, and Naz Jones seem to have tanked, while Nick Vannett, Lano Hill, and Rasheem Green have not met expectations. Darboh is very likely to land in the first category this preseason, with how fierce this WR battle is going to be.
He missed the 2018 season for a surgery on a clavicle issue, after being cut by the New England Patriots the day after they claimed him off waivers. He’s now basically not seen the field as a receiver in two years - 8 receptions for 71 yards in his career - and Seattle just drafted three receivers for the first time under John Schneider.
Dances - Let us take a moment to celebrate the group that seemed determined to make us all forget about the previous regime of the Tight End techno.
It just kept going.
An endless supply, really.
Add in the Sherman tip tribute, and that’s three major US sports represented in a celebration. Maybe this season we’ll get a nod to the Women’s World Cup? I’d sip some tea to that.
Best Madden 2019 Rating – Tyler Lockett 87. Rookies came out recently and they started DK Metcalf at 77.
Most important stats heading into 2019 – Russell Wilson, 427 passing attempts last year, dead last in the NFL of 16-game starters. But chances are, you’ve already heard Seattle does not play football like the LA Rams. There have been conversations aplenty on what the Hawks should do, and at times it feels fans dislike the guy who led them to a franchise scoring record about as much as they dislike the guy who, well, was Darrell Bevell.
But let’s throw this one into the mix: 7.3, average completed air yards per throw. That’s third in the league behind the...uniqueness that was last season’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers duo. Russ likes to throw the ball far.
With so much of the conversation this year on replacing Baldwin, where Lockett will play, and what the heck will Seattle’s slot receiver look like, one has to wonder if Brian Schottenheimer will be able to bring all this together. With the additions of speed demons like Metcalf and Jennings, the uncoverability of Lockett, and another year of RB growth, the oft-lamented run-run-deep pass looks like it will either be the death of this offense, or the very foundation on which Seattle is trying to build.