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Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf should be an elite duo this season

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are set to lead the offensive charge for the Seattle Seahawks this year. All the top options at running back and tight end have injury concerns for Seattle.

However, Lockett and Metcalf are poised to not only lead their team, but land themselves in one of the top tiers for a 1-2 WR combo.

We’ll start with how they finished last year by passing yards.

Highest yard-gaining duos, 2019:

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. 2490 combined yards
  2. New Orleans Saints, Michael Thomas and Jared Cook. 2430*
  3. Dallas Cowboys, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. 2296
  4. Los Angeles Rams, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. 2295
  5. Atlanta Falcons, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. 2260
  6. Cleveland Browns, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. 2209
  7. Los Angeles Charger, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. 2200
  8. Carolina Panthers, DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey. 2180**
  9. Kansas City Chiefs, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. 2089*
  10. This year’s Arizona Cardinals, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, 1969***
  11. Seattle Seahawks, Lockett and Metcalf. 1957

The San Francisco 49ers would have rounded out the West with George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, at 1855 yards combined.

*Includes a Tight End
**Includes a Running Back, but it’s McCaffrey who functions outside classifications.
***Hopkins obviously was not on the team this year, but was included to give point of reference on a rival NFC West team’s 1-2 punch.

Take out the Cardinals and the Seahawks had the tenth-best volume passing game by top two receivers. Not elite, but pretty good. Seattle was 14th in the league for passing yards per game, so one would expect a middle-pack result, so the two actually outperformed the team average by a bit.

Take out the teams with a tight end, running back, or trade acquisition and that would have put Lockett and Metcalf as the 7th highest passing attack as the top-two receivers.

It’s intriguing, but at the end of the day they’re 300 some yards behind most the other duos, and something something yards don’t matter.

What does become interesting about all this is that (1) Seattle isn’t supposed to be that high on these kinds of lists. More importantly, (2) Tyler Lockett had a “down” year due to mid-season injury. Even more importantly, (3) DK Metcalf is the only rookie on this list. Gallup and Moore are second year players who’ve already made their sophomore adjustments.

It would be no surprise to see Lockett and Metcalf finish as a top-5 receiving threat this coming season.

No, this is not just based on receiving yards, because that would make the nerds very sad. For one, both Seahawks finished in the top 30 in yards per target, one of the heavier stats used in DVOA and passer rating when targeting a receiver. Lockett was 19th and Metcalf was 29th, and again this was a big down year for Lockett in this category in particular. He’s the best receiver in the league here, generally.

What really gives these two a chance to be special is they get massive amounts of separation on defenders, done by very different methods.

DK Metcalf gives Seattle the size-speed combo that they haven’t had in, well, essentially ever. They’ve had tall guys who run 4.5 in the 40 (Sidney Rice) and short guys who run fast (Lockett and Golden Tate). Paul Richardson is 6’0” and ran it in 4.40.

Metcalf at 4.33 and 175 horsepower in each bicep says you can forget your stupid route tree.

This was one of my favorite DK plays all year because it’s two things that have been Seattle rarities in the same play. To start, he runs my version of an exquisitely executed double move, that is to say he took half a step to his right. But Philadelphia Eagles corner Avonte Maddox is close to three yards behind Metcalf when he catches the ball regardless. Second, he looks more like a tight end battling against two defenders and stretching in for an additional ten yards after rolling and standing back up.

Also it was his first ever playoff game.

Lockett meanwhile, has two ridiculous separation tricks that he uses to abuse defenders. His inside fake before his patented deep post is gold:

Followed by this microcosm of how he stays tight with the defender until the last possible second to catch the ball further downfield in order to negate his height disadvantage. He does it on both plays here:

He does it especially well on deep over-the-shoulder rainbow catches as well.

Seattle’s got two talented receivers at the top with wildly different strengths, which will make scheming all the more difficult this year as Metcalf continues to open things up for both players.

Could not be more excited to see how these two fare this season.