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Seahawks David Moore won’t concede battle for roster spot quietly

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Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

While the uncertainty regarding the 2020 NFL Season remains high and teams continue working through virtual offseason programs, the schedule for the upcoming season is set to be released Thursday evening. With the release comes the optimism of fans which has been brought to fever pitch through free agency, the draft and most recently the signings of undrafted free agents. Through those additions, the roster of the Seattle Seahawks now sits at a full 90 players, and while it’s certainly not out of the question that the team could make a move to add a potentially impact player in the coming weeks, for the most part things are likely largely set for training camp.

With that being the case, the 11 wide receivers currently on the roster would be the fewest wideouts the team has opened camp with since Pete Carroll and John Schneider arrived more than a decade ago. That might seem to be a sign that the team could add a receiver in the coming months, but the more likely explanation is that the team traditionally carries fewer players into camp at positions at which they expect less turnover. In short, the fact that they currently have only 11 receivers on the roster likely means that the position will not look significantly different than it did in 2019.

Specifically, the Hawks typically carry either five or six receivers on the 53 man roster, only carrying seven or more when there is a significant number of new receivers set to contribute in a season. That has happened twice under Carroll and Schneider. The first time was in 2014 when the team was looking to replace Golden Tate who had departed in free agency, as well as Sidney Rice who had retired on the eve of training camp. The second time came in 2019 when the Seahawks were looking to replace the retired Doug Baldwin and an upgrade on the Brandon Marshall/Jaron Brown combination of 2018.

With both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf returning, the top two spots appear locked in. With that being the case, it likely means that the team will only carry five receivers on the 53 man roster. Only carrying five receivers means that eight receivers would be battling for the three spots behind Lockett and Metcalf. Those eight receivers as of right now are:

  • Seth Dawkins,
  • Phillip Dorsett,
  • Aaron Fuller,
  • Penny Hart,
  • David Moore,
  • Stephen Sullivan,
  • Freddie Swain,
  • Cody Thompson and
  • John Ursua

Ursua has already become a fan favorite among some, but combining the facts that played just 11 snaps during the 2019 season and that the team drafted another slot receiver certainly shows that he is no lock.

In fact, of those eight players, Dorsett and Moore likely have a leg up based on their experience and their ability to contribute in a variety of roles. Dorsett can line up both in the slot and on the outside, and in fact the season in which he lined up in the slot the most was during the 2016 season for the Indianapolis Colts where Brian Schottenheimer was on staff.

Likewise, Moore has 776 receiving yards on 43 catches over the past two seasons, which is in line with the production that Freddie Swain put up over the past two seasons in college (52 catches for 782 yards). Basically, the biggest predictor of future production is past production, and if betting on two players who put up similar production, it seems wise to bet on the player who put up that production against NFL caliber defensive backs. In addition, while both Swain and Moore have experience returning punts, the difference in averages is not all that great (Swain 7.9 yards per return in college versus 7.5 yards per return against NFL special teams for Moore).

Those with the longest odds in the group are likely Dawkins, Fuller, Hart and Thompson, but simply being a longshot doesn’t mean they won’t make the roster. If they’re in camp, perform in produce and are able to help the team produce, they’ll be given a shot. That said, for the time being it seems more prudent to focus on those with better chances of making the team. Here’s a look at how the five names that fall in the middle stack up in terms of their physical and athletic profiles.

Physical and athletic profiles of Seahawks wide receivers

Category David Moore Freddie Swain Phillip Dorsett John Ursua Stephen Sullivan
Category David Moore Freddie Swain Phillip Dorsett John Ursua Stephen Sullivan
Height 6005 6002 6002 5091 6047
Weight 219 197 197 178 248
2020 Age 25 22 27 26 24
40 Time 4.43 4.46 4.33 4.56 4.66
20 Yard Split 2.53 2.60 2.57 2.65 2.72
10 Yard Split 1.59 1.57 1.54 1.58 1.65
Bench 26 16 13 17 N/A
Vertical 36.5" 36.5" 37" 37" 36.5"
Broad 124" 124" 122" 120" 123"
Shuttle 4.38 4.26 4.11 4.16 4.62
3-Cone 6.98 7.06 6.70 6.77 7.51

As noted, of those names Moore and Dorsett likely have the inside track for the third and fourth spots, with Ursua, Swain and Sullivan needing to significantly outperform the others in order to make the roster. Sullivan, in particular, does not seem to fit within that group in terms of his profile, and at this point based on nothing more than his physical and athletic profile, it might be more appropriate to predict him as the most likely to be the surprise cut that leaves fans distraught a la Kasen Williams or Jazz Ferguson.

Physical and athletic profiles of Stephen Sullivan compared to those of Jazz Ferguson and Kasen Williams

Category Stephen Sullivan Jazz Ferguson (2019) Kasen Williams (2017)
Category Stephen Sullivan Jazz Ferguson (2019) Kasen Williams (2017)
Height 6047 6046 6014
Weight 248 228 218
Age 24 22 24
40 Time 4.66 4.45 4.63
20 Yard Split 2.72 2.60 2.67
10 Yard Split 1.65 1.57 1.64
Bench N/A 8 17
Vertical 36.5" 37" 35.5"
Broad 123" 123" 119"
Shuttle 4.62 4.59 4.47
3-Cone 7.51 7.25 7.05

Putting all that together, here’s the way too early prediction for the 2020 Seahawks wide receiver group, that will, of course, be subject to adjustment in the coming months as things develop:

  • Lockett
  • Metcalf
  • Moore
  • Dorsett
  • Ursua

Potentially further hindering the ability of the younger receivers to make the roster in 2020 will not only be the team offseason programs being virtual, but even further reductions in training camp practices. In any case, there’s still plenty of offseason left, and the debate is likely to rage in the coming months. However, between practice reductions and limitations in offseason programs, significant impacts from younger players this season could be minimal.