This year’s NFL Draft has 3 receivers (and a tight end) who are exponentially better than every other wideout in the draft. There are a few other receivers who could also be 1st round picks and the class overall is pretty deep at the position.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are like the receivers at the top of the draft board - there is a clear separation between them and every other receiver on Seattle’s roster.
The issue that Seattle currently has with their wide receiver group is that unlike this year’s draft, the separation between the top guys (DK + Lockett) and the next guy on the list isn’t a few picks or even a couple of rounds. The difference is more like one of the top-three receivers in this draft and a receiver who is still on the board near the end of Day Three.
In other words, we’ve got:
DK and Lockett
(a really, really big gap)
(probably an ad or two)
And then whoever our current WR3 would be.
What I am wondering is . . .
Does that matter?
The case for the answer being “No”
Separately, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are two of the best of receivers in the league. Both have a solid case for being considered in the Top 10.
Tyler Lockett’s recent contract extension actually places him in the top-10, salary-wise, right between Allen Robinson (#9) and Mike Evans (#11).
And some would argue that DK is even better.
Together, Lockett and Metcalf form one of the best - if not the best - receiving combos in the league.
Add in some pass-catching tight ends and running backs - who figure to be the de facto #3, #4, and maybe #5 in terms of receiving targets - and it’s pretty easy to argue that having a bona fide WR3 is a luxury for Seattle, not a necessity.
It’s also pretty easy to argue that whoever Seattle puts on the field in the WR3 role will have a decent degree of success with Metcalf and Lockett requiring as much attention as they do.
The case for the answer being “Yes”
Having a great receiving DUO is nice, but in today’s NFL you need three quality wideouts. Plus a tight end. And pass-catching running backs.
Sure, you can “get by” with only two quality wideouts - or even with just one. But the difference between having two and having three is huge.
Exhibit A: Tampa Bay with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown.
Exhibit B: Kansas City with Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson.
Both teams were obviously in the Super Bowl last season - which is part of why they’re exhibits A & B. But both teams also have a pass-catching tight end who ranked in the Top 100 for receiving yards which gave both teams FOUR players in the Top 100.
Seattle had two players in the Top 100 last year - DK at #7 and Lockett at #17. David Moore was a distant 3rd at #111 overall.
This year’s presumed WR3 - Freddie Swain? He was #230.
Remember the really big visual gap at the beginning of this installment?
NOT an exaggeration.
Turnover, thus far
- David Moore - free agent, signed with Carolina
- Josh Gordon - free agent, still suspended (?), currently running plays called by fans
- Phillip Dorsett - free agent, signed with Jacksonville
Free agent options
As much fun as it would be to poach Larry Fitzgerald from Arizona and team him up with DK and Lockett, he’s too
old experienced, too expensive, and . . . it would just feel wrong. Fitzy is a Cardinal and will always be a Cardinal even when he’s not a Cardinal. At least in my book.
Golden Tate is available. It seems like an obvious fit - but it also feels sort of ... awkward. I think that ship has sailed and don’t see Tate returning. (I’ll dig out my Tate jersey if he does though.)
Antonio Brown and/or Josh Gordon? Do we really want to spend more time on this discussion? I’m not opposed to signing either one (especially if QB1 accepts “responsibility” for them), but I’m kind of “over it” at this point.
Now that the low-hanging fruit is out of the way, here are the names that I would keep an eye on if Seattle is thinking of adding a wideout via free agency:
#1: Danny Amendola. Yes, he’s 112 in receiver years. But dude isn’t slowing down. He had 46 receptions for 602 yards last year and 30 of those 46 receptions resulted in a first down. He had 678 receiving yards in 2019 and his career high is 689 (his sophomore season). D-Am still has “it” and would be a solid addition.
#2: There is no #2. At least not one that I haven’t already mentioned.
Bottom line: The free agent receiver pool is Dee-Plee-Ted. There’s nothing left. Not really.
In theory, a receiver that’s currently on a roster somewhere could become available - either as a cap-casualty, as a “we-just-selected-someone better-in-the-draft”-casualty, or as a “we’ve-got-too-many-receivers”-casualty.
Not holding my breath.
Seahawk Maven (over on SI.com) had a good article recently (4/19) about “a pair of receivers (the) Seahawks could target via trade”.
It’s worth a read.
My thoughts on it are pretty concise.
Three. Neither is signed past 2021 and neither has exceptional stats so the cost to acquire either of them would (should) be minimal.
Four. I wouldn’t even think about making an offer on either one until after the draft.
4 wideouts that are available in the draft
FTR’s draft crushes at WR
I have a draft crush on Florida receiver Kadarius Toney. If, on Day One of the NFL Draft, Seattle trades their 2023 R1 and (x) to jump into Round One for him . . . I will do a half dozen backflips. And I’ve never (successfully) done a backflip in my life.
Want to know the other receiver that I have a draft crush on? Jaelon Darden from little ol’ North Texas - which hasn’t had a player drafted since 2004.
Apparently I have “a type” because Darden is essentially “a poor man’s version” of Kadarius Toney.
Both Toney and Darden would give Seattle something it lacks - a game-breaking threat to complement D.K. and Tyler.
Toney will be off the board when Seattle gets on the clock. Darden should be available. Maybe even in Round 4.
Cloning Metcalf and/or Lockett
To “clone” Metcalf, we’d want to draft Stanford receiver Simi Fehoko.
Even if PFF didn’t compare him to “a completely unpolished D.K. Metcalf,” the comparison is obvious. Read their scouting reports and/or watch their tapes. D.K. and Simi could be brothers from other mothers.
Pairing Metcalf and Fehoko together for at least a couple of seasons would be SICK.
And if Seattle’s front office is at all concerned that D.K. will be too expensive to keep when his rookie contract expires . . . drafting Fehoko NOW is an absolute no-brainer.
To clone Tyler Lockett, I give you . . .
South Dakota State wideout Cade Johnson.
Admittedly, this is a little bit of a cheat since PFF listed Lockett as Johnson’s “NFL Player Comparison”.
But . . .
Lockett is 5’10” while Johnson is 5’10-3/8”.
Lockett’s listed weight is 182; Johnson’s is 184.
The Lockett comparisons aside, what stands out to me with Cade Johnson is his “story.”
He was a zero-star recruit whose only scholarship offers were from South Dakota and South Dakota State. His story should end with him being “a guy who played football in college” and that’s it; nothing more than that from an athletic standpoint. Especially after the conference he was in cancelled the 2020 season.
But dude got himself an invite to the Senior Bowl and he made the most of it, finishing as the highest-graded receiver in the one-on-one drills. Now, he’s going to get drafted - most likely either late on Day Two or semi-early on Day Three.
And that means that he’s going to get a chance to make an NFL roster.
I hope he makes it.
That said . . .
We just signed Lockett through 2025. We probably don’t need to clone him (via the draft).