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Rookie Report: L.J. Collier with first big play for Seahawks

NFL: JUN 06 Seattle Seahawks OTA Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In Week 4 of the 2019 NFL Season the Seattle Seahawks headed south to take on the Arizona Cardinals in the first divisional matchup for either team yet this year. The winless Cardinals have had issues this season, with a new coach, a new offense and a new quarterback not doing much for the team in the win column through the first three weeks. Seattle kept it that way Sunday, as while the Cards offense had success in spurts here and there, the Seahawks defense did a great job for most of the day, limiting Arizona to just ten points as the Hawks came away with a 27-10 victory.

However, in spite of the victory, it was yet another quiet day for the Seattle rookie class for the most part. There were fewer rookies suiting up for the team in Week 4, as rookie defensive tackle Bryan Mone was waived on Thursday in order to make room for Adrian Colbert. Mone had averaged just under two dozen snaps per game over the first three weeks of the season, but with L.J. Collier, Ziggy Ansah and Poona Ford all coming back from injuries, his services were not needed. Add in that only two games remain until Jarran Reed is eligible to return from suspension, and all of a sudden Mone may be destined for a longer than anticipated stay on the practice squad. In any case, getting to the rookies.

L.J. Collier

After having been a healthy scratch in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, Collier saw his most extensive action of the season against the Cardinals. His day was mostly quiet, except for a great tackle of David Johnson on a 2nd & 19 draw play. On the play it appears as though Collier and Al Woods are running an end-tackle stunt, which puts Collier unblocked in perfect position to make the play, which is exactly what he does.

And then a better angle which shows how the stunt developed and then the quality tackle by the rookie.

DK Metcalf

Metcalf has had a blazing hot start to his rookie season, but had his least productive game as a pro against Arizona. It appeared as though the team may have given some of Metcalf’s snaps to Jaron Brown, who spent the first five years of his career playing for the Cardinals. In Week 4 Metcalf had season lows in targets (4), receptions (1) and yards (6), and accounted for half of Russell Wilson’s six incompletions on the day.

The big knock on Metcalf coming out of college, obviously, were his low scores in the 3-cone and shuttle at the combine and at his Pro Day. The biggest knock on his football skills were his limited route tree and his low catch rate. So far the Seahawks have continued to give Metcalf routes similar to those his college coaches did, while his catch rate remains low. By pulling in just one of four targets Sunday, he now stands at 10 catches on 23 targets, for a catch rate of just 43.5%.

Now, before anyone panics, that’s not such a huge deal at this point. The types of passes on which he’s been targeted so far have, for the most part, not been high percentage passes, and his catch rate, while it could be higher, is acceptable for the types of targets he’s seen to date. He’s shown an ability to make tough catches and shown why the team drafted him.

However, in spite of his size and vertical leaping ability, he has not been great at the 50/50 balls that the team has tried to feed him, as was seen twice against the Cardinals. First in the first quarter.

And then again later in the second quarter.

In short, he’s still a rookie, and despite bursting onto the scene with some big, splashy plays, his game still needs some work. That said, his 223 receiving yards put him well on his way to performing in line with his draft status. Since the current CBA, along with its practice restrictions, were adopted in 2011, rookie wide receivers drafted between 2.54 and 3.74 have a mean of 468 yards and a median of 447 yards receiving. Thus, Metcalf is well on pace to outperform those levels, especially with the Los Angeles Rams on tap on Thursday evening, when it’s possible Seattle fans might be lucky enough to see Metcalf matched up against Marcus Peters and his patented 0-cover style of playing.

The rest of the rookies

Travis Homer dress, but didn’t appear to log any snaps Sunday, Phil Haynes and Demarcus Christmas remain on the PUP list, while Gary Jennings, John Ursua and Marquise Blair were all healthy scratches against the Cardinals. Ugo Amadi had a special teams tackle on a third quarter punt, while Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven had quiet days that didn’t land them in the box score.

The contributions from rookies this week were so small that I’ll be doing a Sophomore Summary in the coming days to look at the contributions of the members of the 2018 draft class.