Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 11, WR Tyler Lockett

Jul 26, 2016, 8:03 PM | Updated: 8:04 pm
Tyler Lockett was a Pro Bowler as a punt returner, but he's a big part of the Seahawks passing game...
Tyler Lockett was a Pro Bowler as a punt returner, but he's a big part of the Seahawks passing game, too. (AP)
LISTEN: Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 11, WR Tyler Lockett

Each day until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is talking with an NFL analyst and counting down the 25 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. “Two-a-days” continued with ESPN’s Field Yates as the guest and Tyler Lockett as the 11th-most intriguing Seahawk. The segment on Lockett is embedded above. My thoughts are below.

• Position: WR/KR/PR
Height/Weight: 5-10, 182
Experience: Second season
Acquired: Third-round pick, 2015

Overview: The Seahawks picked Lockett in the 2015 draft knowing he could solidify their return game, but he did much more than that. The former Kansas State star quickly become a favorite target of quarterback Russell Wilson, hauling in 51 receptions for 664 yards and six touchdowns. That shouldn’t overshadow what he did as a returner, however. He averaged 25.8 yards per return on kicks, 9.5 yards on punts, and he returned a touchdown in both manners en route to earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. As it sits now, he’s well on his way to being one of the more important draft picks of the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, and there’s some pretty good company on that list.

The intrigue: For starters, Lockett is a “matchup nightmare,” according to Brock Huard. “His strengths are multiple. He is incredibly quick – he runs a 4.4 (40-yard dash). He’s got unbelievable body control, his wiggle in and out, his peripheral vision, his spatial awareness.” It’s those intangibles that have garnered Lockett continual comparisons to Steelers star Antonio Brown, a four-time Pro Bowler. By all accounts, Lockett had a more impressive rookie year than Brown did in 2010, too. The son of a former NFL receiver/return man, Lockett is also regarded as an extremely professional player who puts a lot of hard work into improving his game. That was evident last season when his hands, which were a criticism headed into the draft, went from a perceived weakness into a strength. His attitude is down-right Wilson-ian, too. “I think I did a decent job,” Lockett said in a humble manner of his rookie year at the conclusion of the regular season. “Of course there’s a lot of things I need to learn, just the way I saw myself in college and coming here. The transition wasn’t bad, but there are still some things that I did well in college that I know I can be able to do well at this level. It’s just gonna take some time for me to get there.” Mind you, those words came from a 23 year old who put together a Pro Bowl season as a rookie.

2016 outlook: As much as his rookie year seemed like a breakout campaign, Lockett’s name has come up time and time again this offseason as a candidate to grab serious league-wide attention in 2016. There’s always a possibility of a big play when he is on the field, and according to Huard, the Seahawks will be capable of taking advantage of that more in his sophomore season than in the year prior. “Tyler’s 5-10 like (Hall of Fame receiver) Marvin Harrison was, and you look at it and say, ‘Ooh, am I comfortable throwing this comeback? Am I comfortable throwing this go route? Am I comfortable throwing this post route to this guy if he’s one-on-one? Am I really gonna trust that he can out-leap, out-muscle and out-perform that DB?’ And Tyler showed that a year ago. There were a lot of big plays left on the field. There were many an opportunity where the ball was overthrown or underthrown, or Russell can’t get to it because of the protection in front of him. … There’s a lot of big plays coming.” Looking at the Seahawks’ second-half surge in 2015, it appears they’re on the verge of having their passing game taking off. If that does indeed happen this season, you can bet Lockett will be right in the middle of it.

Most Intriguing Seahawks: 25, DL Quinton Jefferson; 24, WR Kasen Williams; 23, WR Paul Richardson; 22, G Mark Glowinski; 21, TE Nick Vannett; 20, CB Jeremy Lane; 19, DT Jordan Hill; 18, RB Alex Collins; 17, S Tyvis Powell; 16, G Germain Ifedi; 15, QB Russell Wilson; 14, FS Earl Thomas; 13, CB Tharold Simon; 12, WR Doug Baldwin.

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Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 11, WR Tyler Lockett