If the 2017 season began today, the Seahawks would basically roll out the same receiving corps as they did to end 2016. That could obviously change if the Seahawks go high for a receiver in the NFL draft next Thursday-Saturday.
If the 2017 season began today, the Seahawks would basically roll out the same receiving corps as they did to end 2016.
That could obviously change if the Seahawks go high for a receiver in the NFL draft next Thursday-Saturday.
That the Seahawks have done little to the receiving corps so far indicates either that an addition could be coming in the draft, or confidence in what the team has on hand — or some of both.
First, a review of how things currently stand.
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PLAYERS CURRENTLY ON ROSTER
Starters: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson.
Backups: Kasen Williams, Tanner McEvoy, Kenny Lawler.
Key offseason losses: None.
Others on roster: Jamel Johnson, Cyril Grayson, Rodney Smith (2017 free agent signees).
OVERVIEW: Seattle has made a couple of quiet free agent signees of players who appear longshots to make the final roster while every other players who saw significant time as a receiver in 2016 is set to return.
Seattle did bring in free agent Kamar Aiken for a visit before he signed with the Colts, indicating the Seahawks were willing to add to the receiving corps, but only to a point.
That seems to indicate the team is confident Tyler Lockett will return just fine from two broken leg bones that ended his 2016 season on Christmas Eve and that Jermaine Kearse will bounce back from a sometimes-rugged season while Paul Richardson can pick up where he left off.
And that Doug Baldwin will remain what he has become — one of the most dependable receivers in the NFL, having tied for the franchise record in receptions last season with 94.
The 2017 season also shapes up as make-or-break for former UW and Skyline High standout Kasen Williams, who was an offseason star a year ago before a hamstring injury in training camp curtailed his development. This will also be a key year for Lawler, a seventh-round pick last season.
If one or both of those players makes a legit run at a 53-man roster spot, then that might be enough to fill out the receiving corps, especially since tight ends Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson are so often used in receiving roles, as could be running back C.J. Prosise.
As always, though, Seattle could also look to fill a future hole in the draft — Richardson is entering the final year of his contract and the team could easily get out of Kearse’s deal after the 2017 season.
DRAFT NEED (on scale of 1-10): 5. The Seahawks’ needs at receiver appear more about potentially preparing for 2018 and beyond than this season, which might point more toward taking a flyer in the mid-to-late rounds than expending early draft capital.
FIVE POTENTIAL DRAFT FITS
• Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington: How early Kupp will be taken is one of the more intriguing stories of the draft. No one can question his productivity (428 career receptions for 6,464 yards). Whether that will translate to the NFL is another matter. But a slide past the second day would seem a surprise.
• Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M: At almost 6-3, one of the taller receivers in the draft, especially in the middle rounds. Had a good Senior Bowl that could mean he doesn’t last past the third round.
• Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky: Taylor was ultra productive in college with 184 catches and 34 touchdowns his final two seasons. Had a pre-draft visit with the Seahawks.
• Travis Rudolph, Florida State: Has the kind of profile that seems to fit the kind of players the Seahawks often take a chance on — was rated by many as the top receiver coming out of high school in 2013 before having a solid if somewhat unspectacular career at FSU and declaring early. Gained renown for joining an autistic boy for lunch during a visit to a local school. Considered a third-day pick.
• JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC: No way that UW blazer John Ross would be available for Seattle at 26. But maybe the second-best Pac-12 prospect, Smith-Schuster, likely will be if the Seahawks wanted to reach. Injury-riddled junior season held down his numbers some. But he doesn’t turn 21 until December.