JIM MOORE

Moore: We know Tyler Lockett will be Seahawks No. 1 WR, but who will be No. 2?

Aug 7, 2019, 10:02 AM | Updated: 10:40 am
Will veteran Seahawks WR Jaron Brown see more targets in 2019?(AP)...
Will veteran Seahawks WR Jaron Brown see more targets in 2019?(AP)
(AP)

The battle for the expected six wide receiver spots with the Seahawks is a good competition featuring hold-overs, rookies and free agents. It makes for great debates. You know that Tyler Lockett and second-round draft choice D.K. Metcalf are locks to make the team, but what about the other four spots?

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Danny O’Neil thinks one of the two returners from last year – Jaron Brown or David Moore – will be cut. You would think that Gary Jennings has a good shot of making the 53-man roster, but the Seahawks have flamed out on wide receivers taken in the fourth round before.

The Seahawks liked John Ursua so much that they made a late trade in the draft to take him in the seventh round. Amara Darboh, a disappointment in his first go-around with the Seahawks, is back for another try. Keenan Reynolds is a great leader and asset on special teams. Reports are that the Seahawks really like Malik Turner, too. And what about Jazz Ferguson, another lanky kid who arrived with less fanfare than Metcalf but has a reasonable chance to secure one of the six spots.

Instead of focusing on the outcome of that competition, for the purpose of this post, I’m trying to figure out who will be the second-leading receiver to Lockett, who everyone pretty much concedes will be Russell Wilson’s No. 1 target after the retirement of Doug Baldwin. Wilson had a perfect passer rating when he targeted Lockett last year.

Tuesday on Danny, Dave and Moore, John Clayton and Dave Wyman said they think Brown will be the No. 2 receiver this year, but I have my doubts about that. Brown caught only 14 passes for 166 yards after arriving as a free agent from Arizona. Wyman correctly points out that Brown was highly productive in the red zone with five TD receptions among his 14 catches. Plus Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer acknowledge now that they didn’t go to Brown enough last year.

I would still argue that Brown will not be the second-leading receiver this year based on his history. In 2017, he hit his high-water mark in the NFL with 31 catches for 477 yards and four touchdowns with the Cardinals. That was the kind of season that made him attractive in free agency to the Seahawks. But in his first four seasons, he averaged 14 catches. He doesn’t strike me as a No. 2 much in the same way that Marco Gonzales and Yusei Kikuchi don’t strike me as No. 2 starters in a Mariners’ rotation even though they are projected to be.

David Moore, off of his numbers from last year, is a more logical choice to be Wilson’s No. 2 target. Overall you feel like he had a pretty decent year with 26 catches for 445 yards and five touchdowns. Problem is, Moore tailed off dramatically at the end of the year with only four catches for 32 yards in the last six games.

Metcalf seems to be the most logical pick as the No. 2 with a dazzling training camp thus far. But O’Neil thinks he will have fewer than 25 receptions this year, mainly because receivers typically need a year to get acclimated to the NFL. Antonio Brown, for example, had only 16 catches for 167 yards in nine games with the Steelers his first year. Golden Tate, a better-than-average receiver now, had just 21 catches for 227 yards and no touchdowns his first year with the Seahawks. Like Metcalf, he was a second-round choice too.

The other thing about Metcalf — he had an injury-marred career at Ole Miss, and I question whether he will be healthy for all 16 games since a history of injuries oftentimes follows a player throughout his career.

I’d actually argue that a running back will be the second-leading receiver this year in terms of catches, if not yards. Mike Davis was the third-leading receiver last year with 34 receptions for 214 yards. Davis signed a free-agent deal with the Bears in the offseason. I’m guessing Rashaad Penny, J.D. McKissic or even C.J. Prosise could be the second-leading receiver this year. Whomever they settle on as the third-down back, that’s the guy I’m taking as the No. 2 receiver.

It’s certainly a hard one to answer, but at least we’ll finally get a first look at how it might shake out Thursday night when the Seahawks play their first preseason game against the Broncos.

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