I may be in the minority here when I say that I’m not too stoked about the Seattle Seahawks’ current wide receiver depth. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are the obvious top two options, but injury to either one of them and the alternative options don’t inspire much confidence.
One could say that this isn’t that big of an issue given the Seahawks’ increased use of TEs as pass-catchers, whether that’s Jacob Hollister or Will Dissly (and now you can add Greg Olsen into the fold). Seattle’s preference for balance instead of a pass-heavy attack may also be an argument that there isn’t much reason to bemoan the state of Seattle’s receiving group. I’m on the side of believing you can never have enough talent, hence I was disappointed that the Seahawks didn’t really make any effort to take a WR earlier in this deep draft class.
With that aside, let’s take a look at who can land that #3 spot.
The incumbent: David Moore
Moore was a preseason sensation in 2018 and deservedly usurped Brandon Marshall midseason. He got off to a hot start and helped save Seattle’s season with that 4th down touchdown against the Carolina Panthers.
The truth of the matter is, Moore is coming off a 2019 in which he had negative DVOA and DYAR while posting a 50% catch rate for the second year running. Now I understand that throwaways in his general direction will count as a target, but Moore has a very hard time getting open in 1-on-1 situations and unsurprisingly the Seahawks passing offense as a whole is below-average against man coverage.
Moore is not efficient even as a third option and I think his spot there absolutely needs to be challenged. Seattle effectively re-created the Jermaine Kearse problem but even worse. The Seahawks either need to put him in better positions to succeed — he is much better in open space, for example — or reduce his involvement in the offense.
The leading candidate: Phillip Dorsett
Dorsett didn’t get drafted in the first round to be a #3 receiver. As the 29th overall pick in 2015, he disappointed in Indianapolis and was traded to the New England Patriots, and over the past two seasons he’s amassed 61 catches for 687 yards and 8 touchdowns. His catch rate in 2017 and 2018 with Tom Brady was impressive but dipped to just 53.7% in 2019, Brady’s worst season since 2013.
Russell Wilson’s elite deep passing abilities seem to match Dorsett’s best asset, and it’s something Dorsett himself said drew him towards signing with the Seahawks. His 2019 DVOA and DYAR rankings (49th and 56th, respectively) among 81 qualified receivers is not awe-inspiring but a change of scenery may unlock his potential.
In all likelihood, Dorsett and Moore are the main guys battling for WR3 to be thrown to by RW3.
The wild card: Josh Gordon
He’s not on the roster and as of right now he’s not really even in the league. Gordon is hoping for reinstatement but there’s no guarantee that he’s coming back. If he’s all clear to return, the Seahawks surely would be up for signing him to another one-year contract with more time to learn the offense and work with Russell Wilson. I think we need to be honest with ourselves and realize that he’s not going to recreate his 2013 season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a reliable contributor on the field.
I don't know what Josh Gordon's future holds or if Seattle wants to re-sign him, but the Seahawks could add a WR and 6/7 completions to Gordon were among the easiest for Russell Wilson all season.— Alistair Corp (@byalistaircorp) May 21, 2020
Made some tough grabs look easy, was just a super reliable possession receiver: pic.twitter.com/9M2cGqkpO8
Everything about the Russell Wilson to Josh Gordon moonshot remains absurd, no matter how often you watch it pic.twitter.com/TSNJOy2uFu— Alistair Corp (@byalistaircorp) May 7, 2020
Also, I selfishly don’t want Gordon’s final play as a Seahawk to be that ridiculous trick play interception from the Panthers game.
The rest of the field: Seth Dawkins, Aaron Fuller, Cody Thompson, Penny Hart, Freddie Swain, John Ursua
Dawkins, Fuller, and Thompson are all UDFAs and frankly the truncated, revamped offseason makes it even less likely that any of them manage to do something to even get on the active roster, let alone that high up the depth chart.
Penny Hart was a UDFA signed by the Indianapolis Colts before he eventually landed on the Seahawks’ practice squad. I know there’s one person on this staff who’s very high on Penny, but those are just his two cents.
I don't think Seahawks fans are excited enough about Penny Hart. It's going to be really fun to watch everyone fall in love with his dynamism and playmaking ability in camp/preseason, and watch him make a run at the 53-man roster— Alistair Corp (@byalistaircorp) April 20, 2020
Swain is Seattle’s sixth-round choice out of Florida who projects as a slot receiver but is otherwise likely to be competing for a roster spot.
Then there’s preseason legend John Ursua.
After all of the hype over a few catches and looking the part of an NFL wideout in exhibition games, Ursua earned his spot on the 53-man roster and then spent damn near the whole season as a healthy scratch because he wasn’t up to speed on the playbook. Multiple injuries led to Ursua finally getting several regular season snaps in Week 17 against the San Francisco 49ers, agonizingly coming close to winning the NFC West with his only catch to date. This play broke Cris Collinsworth’s brain and he thought Ursua was Tyler Lockett.
I’m gonna go watch this a million times y’all agrue amongst yourselves— Nick, Soros Funded (@seahawksnerd75) December 30, 2019
At 26 years of age, Ursua is the second-oldest receiver on the roster, which is not ideal for someone with minimal NFL experience but it is fantastic for jokes.
John Ursua is older than Austin Hooper.— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) January 28, 2020
Celebrating his second NFL reception pic.twitter.com/P0BmLOK8DQ— nflscrapAlaRic (@alaric10000) January 28, 2020
John Ursua still calls people boomers.— Run on Every Down - Have mask will travel (@UnintendedMax) January 28, 2020
The other wild card: Antonio Brown
My personal preference would be Gordon as WR3 but if we do have a season, I think Dorsett gets the #3 role over Moore or alternatively they’re interchangeable.
Time to get your vote on!
Next season, Seattle’s #3 wide receiver will be...
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