It was not even a week ago that Chris Simms put his foot in his mouth regarding which NFL quarterback throws the best deep ball. Now, everybody’s favorite whipping boy, ProFootballFocus.com, has published its offseason wide receiver rankings, which appear likely to get fans of the Seattle Seahawks riled up.
Yes, they manage to rank the Seahawks wideout group, led by Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, as the seventeenth best wide receiver corps in the NFL. Seventeenth is, technically, in the bottom half of the league, so their tweet is not incorrect. However, what might get under fans skin more than the fact that they rank the Hawks wideouts in the bottom half of the league is the fact that the rankings put Seattle at the bottom of the NFC West.
Yes, in spite of the absolutely phenomenal production Lockett has generated over the past two seasons in a run first offense, and a rookie season from DK Metcalf that far surpassed the norms for rookie wide receivers, the other three NFC West teams are given higher rankings. Specifically, they rank the four division teams as such when it comes to the position:
So, while the Seahawks are indeed the lowest ranked team in the NFC West, the grouping is bunched up in the middle of the rankings and it would appear to be a situation ripe for the Hawks to quickly move past the others. Specifically, while fans may not be overly excited about the names behind Lockett and Metcalf on the depth chart, there is a surprisingly large amount of upside potential for 2020.
To get right to the point, the likely third and fourth options at wide receiver, Phillip Dorsett and David Moore, are coming into 2020 ready to fill specific roles that could propel the Seattle offense. Without wasting any time, here’s a quick look at what Dorsett has done during his career in terms of production:
2015: 18 receptions on 39 targets, 225 yards and 1 touchdowns
2016: 33 receptions on 59 targets, 528 yards and 2 touchdowns
2017: 12 receptions on 18 targets, 194 yards and 0 touchdowns
2018: 32 receptions on 42 targets, 290 yards and 3 touchdowns
2019: 29 receptions on 54 targets, 397 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The initial takeaway for many from those numbers may be that Dorsett had his most productive season four years ago, so perhaps it may not be wise to expect him to come in and contribute a whole lot. However, that would be a bad takeaway. The better takeaway from those numbers would be that 2016, the most productive season of Dorsett’s career, came when Dorsett played the most snaps out of the slot in his career, and during the lone season of his career in which he played in an offense for which Brian Schottenheimer was on the coaching staff.
This is not to say that Schotty was directly responsible for Dorsett’s 2016 production. Rather, it simply infers that as a member of the offensive coaching staff for the Indianapolis Colts that season, Schotty was presumably involved in the game planning and scheming meetings that directly led to the on field usage of Dorsett and should be able to apply the principles of what worked for Dorsett in 2016 to the Seattle offense in 2020.
In addition to the potential for Dorsett to potentially finally deliver on some of the potential that made him a first round pick out of Miami in 2015, Moore is entering his fourth year in the NFL. Even as polished and accomplished as Lockett was coming out of Kansas State, it took him until his fourth season in the league to truly show what he could do on the field and convince fans of what could be, and he is far from the only Seattle receiver that showed out on the field in their fourth year. Moore, on the other hand was a very raw physical specimen when drafted out of East Central.
In addition to Lockett, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate and even Jermaine Kearse all had fourth seasons with the Seahawks that were their best seasons of their careers to that point in time. That’s not to say that Moore is going to make the Pro Bowl in 2020, but if his production improves over his 2018 performance and he provides something like 500 yards and a half dozen touchdowns while also returning punts and keeping Lockett fresher for downfield devastation on offense, that’s a quality season.
In short, while PFF may have the Seahawks receivers ranked as the worst group in the division at this point of the offseason, it won’t be a surprise if the on field results in the fall force those rankings to be readjusted come December or January.