STACY ROST

Rost’s Seahawks Q&A: Will Seattle add at WR in the draft, and could Quandre Diggs be a trade chip?

Apr 20, 2021, 9:37 AM
Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Free safety Quandre Diggs led the Seahawks in interceptions last season. (Getty)
(Getty)

Can the Seahawks get by without drafting another wide receiver? Should Seattle trade a defensive starter to get picks and give a promising (and cheaper) young player more time?

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Those were the focus of two questions – one on offense and one on defense – submitted by Twitter users for Tuesday morning’s Seahawks Takeaways.

Seahawks Question 1

Why is everyone so insistent that we need a WR3 other than Freddie Swain or John Ursua? Gerald Everett is a big step forward at tight end and I’d assume we’ll continue using the running backs in the passing game. (@DehnertJesse)

New Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett is absolutely a viable option in the pass game, as are (to a potentially lesser extent), fellow tight ends Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. And new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s history with the Las Angeles Rams bodes well for those calling for a diversified passing attack.

But the Seahawks have used guys like David Moore and Paul Richardson as wide receivers who can stretch the field and be downfield threats in ways that can be difficult for tight ends not named Travis Kelce or George Kittle, and the Seahawks need someone to replace Moore’s production. He was third on the team in targets (47) behind Tyler Lockett (132) and DK Metcalf (129), as well as in yards (417), also behind Metcalf and Lockett. Those numbers pale in comparison to Seattle’s top two receivers, but it also led all other receivers, and by no small margin. Freddie Swain had 13 receptions for 159 yards while Penny Hart had one reception for three yards.

And while Seattle will have a trio of tight ends as options for Russell Wilson, consider that running back Chris Carson outpaced that group in targets (46), receptions (37), yards (287) and receiving touchdowns (four) while appearing in four fewer games than tight ends Dissly and Jacob Hollister, and just one more than Greg Olsen.

The Seahawks have a few options here. They can spend in free agency, go with the weapons they have, or address the position with draft picks. They don’t need to use one of their three picks on a receiver, but my co-host Jake Heaps has profiled a few options who could be available for Seattle in the second round, including Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman and LSU’s Terrace Marshall.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Seattle is high on second-year receiver Freddie Swain, who had a few impressive moments last season. While he’s been a nice addition to the offense, the Seahawks have always been a team that wants as many bites at the apple as possible, which makes either a draft selection or an undrafted rookie signing feel likely.

Question 2

What’s the likelihood of trading Quandre Diggs and letting Marquise Blair have the free safety position? I know it’s a risk, but would save money and bring in good draft comp given his performance, age and affordable contract. (@Doxology101)

It’s a fair question considering Seattle’s overall investment in the safety group, with two first-round picks traded for Jamal Adams (plus a looming extension), a second-round pick used on Blair, and a $6.1 million cap hit for Diggs. But I tend to agree more with the second part of your premise: it’s a risky decision.

I’d wager draft capital has never felt more valuable (and enviable) for many fans considering Seattle will enter the draft next week with just three picks, the fewest the team has ever had under general manager John Schneider. So when you consider the team used the 47th overall pick in 2019 on Blair, you’d like to see him on the field more. For what it’s worth, Blair was getting rave reviews coming out of training camp last season and fans may have seen some of that had he not suffered an ACL tear in September.

While the preseason talk makes Blair intriguing as a potential starter, that season-ending injury also leaves him with significantly less experience than his counterpart. Assuming he starts camp on time, he’s expected to be back competing with Ugo Amadi at nickel cornerback.

Diggs carries a much larger cap hit and is an older player, but he also led the team with five interceptions in 2020. And with questions at corner, it’ll help to have a savvy veteran aid in pass coverage. While that cap hit feels notable, the Seahawks still rank near the bottom of the league in defensive spending (23rd, 39% of the cap).

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Rost’s Seahawks Q&A: Will Seattle add at WR in the draft, and could Quandre Diggs be a trade chip?