How much do Seahawks need to add a true No. 3 WR to offense?

Feb 6, 2023, 4:01 PM | Updated: 9:11 pm

Seattle Seahawks Tyler Lockett DK Metcalf...

Seahawks WR DK Metcalf lifts Tyler Lockett after a touchdown on Dec. 5, 2021. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

A key area where the Seahawks surprised on their way to making the playoffs in 2022 was on offense. Seattle finished the season ranking 13th in total yards (5,976 yards for a a 351.5 average) and ninth in points (407, 23.9 average), which helped the Hawks finish 9-8 and return to the postseason.

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But is there a way Seattle can build on that output and rank even higher in offensive categories next season?

On Monday’s edition of Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the show looked at whether adding a true No. 3 wide receiver to a corps that includes stars DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett could unlock more from the Hawks’ offense.

Here’s a look at the conversation between co-hosts Michael Bumpus (a former NFL wide receiver and current Seahawks and Pac-12 Network analyst) and Stacy Rost, which you can also listen to in the podcast at this link or in the player at the bottom of this post.

The premise

Stacy Rost: “What would getting a legit No. 3 wide receiver mean for the offense? Now I know that you guys are thinking about the Seahawks’ offense last year and saying, ‘What are you talking about? They don’t need a No. 3 wide receiver because they were able to utilize their tight ends so effectively this year, so who really cares?’ But what happens not only in a world where you don’t have a healthy Tyler Lockett and DK at the same time, but also what would potentially happen in a world where they were both healthy and you had tight ends and also a great No. 3 wide receiver? Like, you can have it all.”

Michael Bumpus: “Let’s start with what it means to have that target. So if you look at last year, Marquise Goodwin was (the Seahawks’) No. 3 receiver. (Tight end) Noah Fant had the third-most receptions, the third-most yards and was tied for third-most when it comes to touchdowns with four, but when you have a legit No. 3 receiver, what that does for your offense is it allows them to be more of a threat in certain personnel groups. … Now imagine a world where you come out with a three-receiver set, a one-tight end set and your third receiver’s a legit threat. Now, Marquise Goodwin was a legit threat – he had some big plays, a long of 38, he had nine big plays, (but) only averaged around 30 yards per game. He had his big moments but he wasn’t a guy every single week to where you expected him to make a big play or two. So imagine lining up in a three-by-one formation and you put your tight end in that third slot spot, you got DK isolated on the backside, you call plays according to what you think your personnel could do. So (when) you have a No. 3 receiver, it just gives you more options and allows (Seahawks offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron to be more creative with his play calling. It makes defenses have to prepare a bit more.”

Might the Seahawks already have a legit No. 3?

Stacy: “Could that guy be (2021 second-round draft pick) Dee Eskridge or somebody who’s already on the roster?”

Bump: “If there’s anybody who’s been an advocate of Dee Eskridge, it’s been your boy. Physically, can he do it? Yeah. Anyone in the league is probably physically capable of doing it, but you gotta know the playbook, you have to make plays in practice, and most importantly you have to be available – and that’s something that Dee Eskridge hasn’t been the last couple years. So I think they do go into this draft and say, ‘Alright, let’s find a diamond in the rough and find a receiver late.'”

What if the No. 3 receiver is a running back?

Stacy: “I was advocating for that third wide receiver to really be used more loosely as a third pass catcher and for it to be a Jerick McKinnon-type running back… I just look at offenses that I like and say, ‘Oh, they have a pass-catching running back and he can also run the ball. How cool is that? He’s got nine touchdowns.’ But does it make it harder to defend when that player is in fact a true wide receiver as opposed to a tight end or running back?”

Bump: “Yeah, because there are things receivers can do that tight ends and running backs can’t do. … Those guys (that) are great receivers at the running back spot, you can put them in the slot and have them go to work, but you gotta scheme stuff up for them. You can’t put them in the slot or out there as a receiver and say, ‘OK, we’re running this concept. I want you to gain leverage on this backer, stem him at the top. You have to move the safety with your eyes. Keep it skinny if you see two high safeties. I need you to split those guys.’ They’re just tricks to the trade that a true receiver can do and allows him to maneuver across the field efficiently. With a running back, it’s like, ‘OK, we’re gonna get him in the swing, we’ll get him on a wheel route, we’ll run a nice little option.’ You’re just limited in what you could do because that’s not what they trained for. That’s not what they do for a living.”

Is a ‘legit’ No. 3 WR needed in the Seahawks’ offense?

Stacy: “There are two things that can take this offense to the next level. … One would be a true two-running back situation where both guys can be great, and two would be adding another great pass catcher. … I think if you want it to be like you can take on any team with this offense, the two things that can help you most are if both of your running backs are really solid and potential starters so you have that good 1-2 punch like what they had in Cleveland for a while with Nick Chubb and (Kareem) Hunt, or you have a great third wide receiver. Someone who’s getting a good 600 yards – like 1,000 for Tyler and DK and then 600 for this guy.”

Bump: “I’ll take the running backs. A 1-2 combo is something beautiful, and that’s just the style that (the Seahawks) play. The Hawks don’t play a ‘spread them out, let’s throw it all across the yard’ type of style. That’s when a third receiver is crucial, even a fourth receiver because sometimes you’ll come out in 10 personnel and say, ‘Tight ends, you guys stay on the sidelines. I’m gonna throw some some fast guys out there.’ … A third receiver will help this offense, but I think that if they were to ride with a Marquise Goodwin type of dude in that No. 3 spot and you get 400 yards and four touchdowns out of them, you’re good.”

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