Bumpus: Answering burning questions about the Seahawks’ receivers
We know the Seahawks have two top receivers in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf for Russell Wilson to throw the ball to, but after them, the position is a little less clear.
With Wilson in his prime and coming off a great season, as well as with the running back group being less than healthy at the end of 2019, there’s some thought that Seattle may in fact pass more in 2020.
Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore had some questions they wanted answered regarding the Seahawks’ receiving group. Luckily for them, former WSU and Seahawks receiver Michael Bumpus had some answers.
Who will be the No. 3 receiver?
This is a straightforward question that has been asked a lot. After Lockett and Metcalf, who is next on the depth chart?
“It’s really a battle between Phillip Dorsett and David Moore,” Bumpus said. “… Their numbers are pretty much the same.”
Over the last two seasons, Moore has just over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. Dorsett, a 2015 first-round pick, has averaged about 325 yards and two touchdowns per season in his NFL career. Dorsett signed with the Seahawks as a free agent this offseason while Moore has been with the team since he was drafted in 2017.
While Moore has experience with the Seahawks’ system, Dorsett has the overall lead in experience.
“Phillip Dorsett is more polished and he’s ready to go,” Bumpus said. “He’s learned under Tom Brady for a while and I just think he’s more experienced. If I had to choose it could be Phillip Dorsett.”
The wild card is if Josh Gordon, who played in Seattle last year for a handful of games, is reinstated by the NFL for failed drug tests and signs with the Seahawks. He’s a former All Pro and is a big, fast target.
“But even if Josh Gordon were to come in, I still think Phillip Dorsett would have an edge on him at least to start, but eventually I think Josh Gordon (stays on the right track), that could be his spot, but looking at these guys right now, I’ve got to go with Dorsett,” Bumpus said.
How important is the No. 3 receiver when the tight end room is deep?
Last season, tight end Will Dissly was one of Wilson’s go-to targets before he suffered another season-ending injury. Fellow tight end Jacob Hollister stepped up and ended up as Wilson’s third target.
Those two are back, and Seattle signed veteran tight end Greg Olsen and drafted two tight ends while re-signing Luke Willson. With proven guys in place at tight end, is there less of a need for a No. 3 wide receiver to be a key part of the offense?
“I think because you have an Olsen, because you’re assuming Dissly is going to come back and be productive, you’re hoping he’s healthy, I don’t think it’s like ‘oh my gosh, who’s the third receiver going to be?’ because in this offense, it’s probably going to be the tight end,” Bumpus said.
With that said, Bumpus says situations will call for wide receivers other than Lockett and Metcalf to play a bigger role.
“When you do get in your third-and-longs and you’re in obvious passing downs, you’ve got to be able to flip the personnel and bring your receivers out there,” he said. “So the way these guys play with the way the Seahawks’ offense functions and the way it flows, your third receiver is your tight end, but there are going to be times where you’re going to be in third-and-long, going to be in second-and-long, going to have a penalty on first down. Things happen in the football game where you’re going to have to be able to throw up a personnel sign and get another receiver out there.”
Any chance UW UDFA WR Aaron Fuller makes the roster?
Along with Lockett, Metcalf, Dorsett and Moore, the Seahawks also have 2019 seventh-round pick John Ursua and 2020 sixth-round pick Freddie Swain at receiver. That could make it hard for any other receiver to make the roster.
But one guy Bumpus and Wyman really like is UW receiver Aaron Fuller, who was an undrafted free agent after accumulating 1,576 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Huskies total the last two seasons.
“This guy is definitely full of talent,” Bumpus said. “What hurts him is one, he wasn’t drafted, so initially, when you get into camp, he’s not going to get a lot of reps. His mentality has to be ‘I might get six pass plays this day in camp. I have to make the most out of every opportunity.'”
As is the case with many undrafted guys, especially receivers, Fuller’s best bet, Bumpus said, is to stand out on special teams.
“Can you fly down on the kickoff team and make a tackle? Can you fly down on a punt cover team and make a tackle and gain some intrigue,” Bumpus said. “You’ve got to practice almost perfectly, you’ve got to go down and and do things you haven’t done in a while which entails making tackles and making plays on special teams.”
Bumpus said there’s also a chance he could wind up on the Seahawks’ practice squad, but there could be some risk there.
“I think worst case he’s a practice squad guy but I also think he’s good enough where if he does get cut and he goes to the (waiver) wire and they try and get him on the practice squad, somebody’s going to snatch him up and take a chance on him,” he said.
You can listen to the full discussion, which includes why Bumpus is so high on Ursua, at this link or in the player below.