Big Seahawks Questions: Who will be No. 3 in receiving yards?

May 24, 2022, 11:37 AM

Seahawks TE Noah Fant...

Noah Fant of the Denver Broncos completes a pass for a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Seahawks will have a very different looking offense this season after some major offseason moves. So how will things on that side of the ball shake out for 2022?

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During Tuesday’s Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM, Salk asked former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus some rapid-fire Seahawks questions. Here’s a bit of what Bumpus had to say, starting with the offense.

More receiving yards: Eskridge or Fant?

Two of the newest additions to the Seahawks’ offense came at a pretty high cost for Seattle: wide receiver Dee Eskridge was a 2021 second-round draft choice while tight end Noah Fant was part of the trade involving quarterback Russell Wilson.

Eskridge missed seven games as a rookie and made just 10 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown in 2021. Fant, meanwhile, has 1,905 career receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in three NFL seasons, including 670 or more yards each of the last two years.

It’s clear that receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (assuming each are healthy) will be the two leaders in receiving. But which of Fant and Eskridge has the best chance to be the No. 3 option in 2022?

“I’m gonna roll with Noah Fant,” Bumpus said. “And I’m gonna roll with Noah Fant because I feel like (Seahawks offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron is going to put an emphasis on the tight end position.”

Bumpus: Seahawks OC Waldron has never had a TE like Noah Fant

Bumpus said that while the Seahawks used Gerald Everett (who signed with the Chargers as a free agent this offseason) a good deal in 2021, Fant is an even better tight end.

“I feel like Noah Fant is a better version of Gerald Everett. No knock on Gerald Everett, I love that dude,” he said. “But Noah can do the same things. He can line up outside, he lives in the slot, puts his hand in the dirt as well. What Noah has on Gerald Everett (is) he’s a better blocker, so that means you’re going to sell the run a bit more, get a down block to that zone left and leak out to the right on a boot and get this man the football. So I think it’s going to be Noah. I think Eskridge contributes. I think he has to be that No. 4 receiver. If it’s not him, it’s Freddie Swain.”

But will the Seahawks’ issues in getting the ball to tight ends on a consistent basis be a problem yet again? Tough to say as Seattle moves on from Russell Wilson, with Geno Smith and Drew Lock the current options to battle for the starting quarterback job.

“Yes and no. I think that you have to design plays to where that is your first or second read,” Bumpus said. “But also you’ve got to have a quarterback who’s able to say, ‘Alright, safeties are on top, let me look down.’ And we know that wasn’t what Russell wanted to do. He wanted to make the big plays … And with these quarterbacks that the Hawks have now, I think they’re more likely to go through their reads and take that checkdown.”

Do Seahawks improve on third down?

Even with Wilson under center, the Seahawks have struggled on third down in recent years, finishing 23rd and 27th in third-down conversion rate in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Does that number get better in 2021 with a different quarterback than Wilson calling the shots?

“I’m gonna say no. I say it hovers around the same because you’re bringing in new quarterbacks,” Bumpus said. “We just talked about how Russell wants to throw that ball down the field and not take the check downs, and I assume that these quarterbacks are going to go through their reads and try to get the football out quickly. But Drew Lock hasn’t shown us much in this league. He was 4-1 his rookie year (with Denver) then stumbled a bit. Geno Smith has had some success and wasn’t bad last year filling in for Russell Wilson, but it’s just hard for me to say that anything is going to be better at the quarterback spot when you don’t have Russell.”

Listen to the full conversation in the podcast of the second hour of Tuesday’s Mike Salk Show at this link or in the player below.

More from Seahawks insider Michael Bumpus

Bump answers big Seahawks questions about RB, QB
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Big Seahawks Questions: Who will be No. 3 in receiving yards?