Seahawks training camp: Biggest question at tight end, wide receiver
The Seahawks kick off their 2018 training camp on July 26 (dates and times can be found here) and leading up to that first practice, we’ll be focusing on the biggest question for each position group.
Today, we’ll focus on the wide receivers and tight ends.
What we want to know at wide receiver is:
Who steps up behind Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett?
The Seahawks lost two of their top-3 receiving threats when tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Paul Richardson departed in free agency. Veteran wide receiver Doug Baldwin is expected to remain Russell Wilson’s No. 1 target, while speedy fourth-year pro Tyler Lockett is now more than a year removed from a devastating leg injury.
But Wilson is now missing his top deep-threat receiver (Richardson) and top red zone target (Graham). Both players accounted for nearly half (16) of Wilson’s 34 touchdowns last year.
Seattle will have plenty of competition near the bottom of the depth chart in training camp, but it remains to be seen which wideouts can push for regular starting roles. Two obvious candidates are Jaron Brown and Brandon Marshall. Seattle added ex-Cardinal Brown in March and signed six-time Pro Bowler Marshall to a one-year deal in May. At 6-feet-2, the 28-year-old Brown is a big target who posted career highs in receptions (31), yards (477) and touchdowns (4) for Arizona last season. Marshall is an even bigger target at 6-feet-5 and brings a veteran presence to the receiver corps.
Also competing will be former third-round pick Amara Darboh, Tanner McEvoy, David Moore, Keenan Reynolds, Cyril Grayson, Marcus Johnson, Caleb Scott and Damor’ea Stringfellow.
Meanwhile, what we’re wondering at tight end is:
Will blocking from this year’s tight ends make up for the loss in receptions from Luke Willson and Jimmy Graham?
The Seahawks lost their top two receiving tight ends to free agency this offseason when Graham signed with the Packers and Luke Willson with the Detroit Lions.
Graham trailed only wide receiver Doug Baldwin in targets in both 2016 and 2017. But his absence will be felt most in red zone situations. The 6-feet-7 tight end led the league in targets inside the 10-yard line last season, where he reeled in a team-high 10 touchdowns. And while Willson was second to Graham on the depth chart, he accounted for a career-high four touchdowns last season.
With the addition of tight ends Ed Dickson and Will Dissly, the Seahawks didn’t just replace Graham and Willson – they steered the position group in an entirely different direction. Pro Football Focus ranked Dickson as the top pass-blocking tight end last season and Dissly was considered the best blocking tight end in this year’s draft. The Seahawks leaned into the passing game last season when the run game fell short, but will Seattle’s renewed focus on the run game – boosted by the additions of Dickson and Dissly – pay off? If Seattle’s newest tight ends are able to act as consistent and effective blockers (and help out as occasional pass catchers), the Seahawks could have a more dynamic offense in 2018. But if the run game doesn’t take off, Wilson will be short a few major weapons.