Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 14, WR/KR Tyler Lockett
During each show until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is counting down the 20 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. The countdown continued with wide receiver/kick returner Tyler Lockett. The segment on Lockett is embedded above. Brady Henderson’s thoughts are below.
Lockett has been everything the Seahawks hoped he’d be when they gave up a haul of draft picks to trade up and select him in the third round in 2015. He was a first-team All-Pro selection and made the Pro Bowl as a kick returner during his rookie season, validating Seattle’s belief that he was the best returner in that year’s draft. He’s caught 92 passes and scored eight offensive touchdowns over 31 regular-season games, nice production considering much of it came before he was promoted from Seattle’s No. 3 receiver to No. 2 late last year. Lockett has been very good over his first two seasons and can still be even better, but the gruesome leg fracture he suffered in December creates some uncertainty about his immediate and long-term future. Lockett was limited during offseason practices. He has said he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Coach Pete Carroll has said he has a chance to be ready by training camp but has offered no guarantees. With injuries as serious as the one Lockett is coming back from, there are no guarantees.
By the numbers
26.04. Lockett’s average on kickoff returns over his first two seasons, which is about 5 yards better than what Seattle averaged in 2013 and 2014. His lone touchdown on a kickoff return was 105 yards, a franchise record. He returned 10 fewer kickoffs in 2016, going from 33 to 23, perhaps partly a result of the NFL’s effort to reduce returns by adding 5 yards to touchbacks. Lockett has averaged a little over 9 yards on punt returns with one touchdown. The Seahawks needed an upgrade following two years of diminished return production following Leon Washington’s release. Lockett has delivered.
130. Receiving yards for Lockett on seven catches in Seattle’s win over the Rams in Week 15 of last season. Both of those totals established career highs. He had a 57-yard touchdown in that game, which was his first after supplanting Jermaine Kearse as Seattle’s second receiver behind Doug Baldwin. Lockett was injured the following week, breaking the fibula and tibia in his right leg.
4.40. Lockett’s time in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 scouting combine, fifth-fastest among wide receivers that year. There is a lot to Lockett’s game as both a receiver and a returner, but his speed is by far the most important. Will he regain it all right away?
Leon Washington had one of his best seasons in 2010, when he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. That was a year after he suffered a compound leg fracture similar to Lockett’s. It’s not a perfect comparison. Washington was injured in late October, which means he had two more months of recovery time than Lockett will have before the start of the season. And not all bodies recover the same, of course. But at the very least, Washington’s 2010 season provides some optimism with Lockett.
Lockett to Gee Scott on what was going through his mind right after he broke his leg: “The first thing I thought was that I knew I was done. I didn’t feel anything though. I was just laying there. I remember the ground being really comfortable. When they asked me what was up, I was like, ‘I can’t feel my leg.’ There was no pain at all. Everything felt normal, but you know when your foot falls asleep? It felt like my leg was asleep.”
Also quotable: Carroll said of Lockett in May of 2015, “The most important thing about a returner, in particular a punt returner, is the attitude. He loves doing it, and it’s part of his makeup. You need that first. That’s a very, very challenging job, and it just doesn’t work out for guys who don’t have the right attitude. He’s got that.”