Seahawks WRs: A reason to be excited and a reason to be concerned
Jul 6, 2022, 1:21 AM
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Seahawks will kick off training camp in less than a month (yes, the season is approaching more quickly than you think!), and in the days leading up to it we’ll be taking a closer look at each position group on Bump and Stacy.
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Today, we’re breaking down the wide receivers. The theme is easy: one thing every fan should be excited for, and one lingering question that still makes us nervous.
You should be excited about…
• Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf
Was there any other choice? These two make up one of the best receiver duos in the league. Tyler Lockett has been a model of consistency on offense, and throughout his Seattle tenure has so often found himself on one end of an improbable catch. Metcalf captured the spotlight before Seattle drafted him in 2019 and has yet to relinquish it, finishing with at least 100 receptions and 900 yards in every season since. Last year, he was fourth among all receivers in touchdowns (12) behind only Cooper Kupp, Mike Evans, and Ja’Marr Chase.
“I think DK’s going to get a deal done, they’re gonna be good to go,” Michael Bumpus said, sharing little concern about Metcalf’s ongoing contract extension negotiations with Seattle. “The Seahawks are going to lean on these two to lead the charge. Tyler Lockett had 1,000 yards last year, DK Metcalf had 900 yards. When these two are on point, when DK is making the play down the field and when Tyler is making the tough catch, that’s gonna be a great crutch for whoever the quarterback is.”
The tricky part? Life without Russell Wilson, who is the only Seahawks quarterback to ever surpass 4,000 passing yards in a single season, having done so four times over his 10-year career in Seattle. How many targets will these two receivers see in 2022, the first year either will have played in the NFL without Wilson? The onus falls on Lockett, Metcalf, and whoever is under center to perform in potentially fewer opportunities. But importantly, it’s also on the coaching staff and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to make sure Seattle continues to take advantage of two of its best weapons.
“Now it’s about making sure these guys are implemented into this offense in a way to where they’re going to be successful,” Bumpus said. “Because you don’t have Russell Wilson, the guy who’s gonna spin around in the backfield, roll to the right, throw across the left, not take the checkdown, go for the home run balls. But there are still opportunities for these guys to make big plays. The good thing about DK is he’s a good run after the catch type of dude. Not a guy who’s going to make you miss, but he’s like a Cadillac, baby – once he gets going, you’re driving down the 5, starting a little slow, but now you’re coasting, going 80, 90 before you know it.
“And Tyler Lockett is like the utility guy; he can go deep, he can go across the middle. So, I understand the concern that the 12s might have as far as getting these guys the football. Their numbers might suffer a little bit, but that means the tight end is more involved, that means (running back) Rashaad Penny is healthy, and that means (rookie running back) Ken Walker’s contributing.”
We’re still concerned about…
• Dee Eskridge
Seattle’s first pick in 2021 was supposed to be a speedy, explosive weapon for a then new offensive coordinator, but he missed seven games and was rather limited in others following a Week 2 concussion. As a reult, Eskridge never had more than three receptions or 35 yards in a single game last season.
His talent and potential captured Seattle’s attention ahead of the draft, but his availability makes him the lingering question heading into 2022.
“He is supposed to be the guy to be the jet sweep, to be the unconventional football type player: the quick screen, boom, let him go and get money,” Bumpus said. “So now I’m thinking, ‘How is he going to contribute to this team right now?’ It has to be in the return game. But what’s the NFL done to the return game? Damn near eliminated it. Kickoff returns aren’t big anymore. If you’re going to get your money, it’s going to be on punt returns. But I’m just concerned because I want to make sure has gets every opportunity to be successful.”
Another thing making that tough: new faces in a competitive receiver room. The Seahawks selected a pair of pass catchers in this year’s draft with Bo Melton out of Rutgers and Dareke Young out of Lenoir-Rhyne.
“What have the Hawks done this offseason? They brought in some more receivers,” Bumpus said. “When you look at camp and the value of bodies per position, the receiver position is one of the positions that has the most guys because you can rotate these guys in. You can look at offensive line, too, because they’ve had some injuries there. But with receivers, I’m just worried about Eskridge. I think he has all the capabilities to be a good receiver in this league. Maybe a number three, number four on this team, and then ease yourself into having a bigger role. But if you’re not available, we’re never going to be able to see what you can do. For him, I just want him to be healthy and get out on the football field.”
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