Following a day on which the Doug Baldwin possibly-retiring news will forever stand as the biggest, here are three other thoughts about day two of the Seahawks’ 2019 NFL draft.
Expect the Seahawks to take at least one more receiver
If Baldwin truly retires, the hole left in the offense is almost incalculable. It’s not just the pure stats but also the impact of his catches — he’s been the most important receiver for Russell Wilson — the go-to guy in one tough situation after another.
It’s hard to figure how Seattle will easily replace that.
And that the Seahawks have known about Baldwin’s possible plans all along makes it somewhat curious that Seattle hasn’t done more to address the receiving position until now — Seattle didn’t add a receiver of any kind in the offseason until drafting D.K. Metcalf Friday night.
That gives the Seahawks nine receivers.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider said, though, to expect there could be more to come on Saturday in the final four rounds when Seattle has five picks.
“There are still several doggone good receivers on the board so we will work our way through that,’’ Schneider said.
Who are a few of those good receivers?
Hakeem Butler of Iowa State, a player regarded as potentially going early second; Kelvin Harmon of North Carolina State; Riley Ridley of Georgia; David Sills of West Virginia and Hunter Renfrow of Clemson.
Physicality is the buzzword on defense
Seattle has so far spent three of its four picks on defense on end L.J. Collier, safety Marquise Blair and linebacker Cody Barton and the Seahawks used words such as toughness and physical to describe each.
Blair famously was ejected from three games in his two years at Utah for targeting while Barton was regarded as one of the best tacklers in the Pac-12 last season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Barton had the best tackling percentage last season missing only seven tackles while making 116.
“The guy is really intense and loves football,’’ Schneider said. “He’s got true grit to him.’’
They spoke similarly of Blair, with Schneider laughing off if there were concerns about his discipline based on his ejections.
“This guy is like scary tough,’’ Schneider said.
The 6-3, 228-pound Metcalf also gives the offense a physical dimension at receiver it has been searching for more of for years.
Carroll’s scouting report of Metcalf referenced what he might be able to add to the running game in terms of his blocking as his receiving.
“He’s equipped to do a lot of stuff,’’ Carroll said. “Not just the stuff that he can do in the throwing game, but in the running game too. He’s going to be a big factor for us as a team that loves to run the football. He’s going to be a factor and he’s going to be able to help us in the play action game. He releases off the line of scrimmage with great violence. He’s one of the great starters in the draft. He ran 1.46 or something in his 10 [yard dash] which is an amazing time, not to mention how big he is. His feet can move and fire so we know that he can do a lot of stuff. We’re anxious to really fit him in to the whole play action game and all the things we love doing and just find out where it fits for him. We want to use his speed, running, get him down the field and threaten the defense in ways that will really compliment the rest of our guys.”
Logjam at linebacker?
The addition of Barton is especially interesting given the team’s offseason, in which Seattle made it a priority to re-sign K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks. Seattle also kept Austin Calitro (who quietly started five games and had 41 tackles last season) and still has Shaquem Griffin. Then there’s Bobby Wagner still solid in the middle. Add Barton and that’s six players for the two inside linebacker spots — the Seahawks said Barton will start inside.
The Seahawks, though, may be hedging some bets on the availability of Wright, who dealt with knee issues last season, and Kendricks, whose legal situation also has yet to be definitively settled despite optimism that he will be able to play in 2019.
And how Seattle uses Griffin –– who was the darling of the draft a year ago — will be one of the most intriguing questions of the season.
The Seahawks have said they intend to leave Griffin at weakside linebacker, the spot occupied by Wright and Kendricks, and he’s not logically winning that competition anytime soon.
So what does that leave for Griffin to do? Carroll said again Thursday night that they hope to explore new ways to use him as a pass rusher.
That’s something they began to explore early last season, as well, and Griffin got on the field for a couple of plays in some specialty packages. That’s not something the Seahawks have done much of in the Carroll era, but changing times require changing measures.
The drafting of Barton, though, seems to make clear that Griffin will have to show some things in training camp to get on the field this season.