The Seahawks head into 2022 with one of the best receiving duos in the NFL in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
In Lockett, the Seahawks have a proven standout receiver still in the prime of his career, coming off a career-high 1,175 receiving yards in 2021 (and a career-high 73.4 yards per game).
In Metcalf the Seahawks have one of the ascending stars in the NFL, a player who is the fifth since 1990 with at least 900 yards and seven touchdowns in each of his first three years — the others being Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, Randy Moss and Joey Galloway, who did it with the Seahawks back in the ‘90s.
And yes, the Seahawks will have to give Metcalf a contract extension soon to secure his future in Seattle. But indications are they plan to do that, barring either some unexpected snag, or some unexpectedly rich trade offer.
Little is certain after those two with the Seahawks’ receiving corps, one reason they could well look to take a pass catcher in the 2022 draft.
As we continue our predraft breakdown of the Seahawks’ position groups let’s look at the receivers.
Players under contract for 2022: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, Freddie Swain, Penny Hart, Cody Thompson, Cade Johnson, Aaron Fuller, Matt Cole.
Key offseason losses: None.
Lockett, who turns 30 in September, has $16 million guaranteed in salary for the 2022 season as part of the extension he signed last April. For anyone wondering about his future, logically the first time the Seahawks could get out of his contract is after the 2023 season. His cap numbers go up from $10.05 million this year to $16.75 million in 2023 and then to $23.95 million in each of the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
Speculation will swirl about the future of Metcalf until a deal is done. But with Metcalf just turning 24 in December, re-signing him would fit right into building for the future as well as playing for the present.
But after that there are no sure things.
Dee Eskridge had a disappointing rookie season after being taken in the second round last year mostly because of a concussion suffered in the first game that held him out for two months. And fair or not, because of that, the jury remains out.
Freddie Swain has shown some glimpses after being taken in the sixth round two years ago, but not enough yet to make you think the Seahawks wouldn’t add competition to the third or fourth receiver spots if available.
And other than that, the only receiver on the roster with a catch in an NFL game is Penny Hart, who has eight for 62 yards (and worth noting that John Ursua remains unsigned but could return once recovered from a knee injury suffered last August).
Recent draft history
The Seahawks have drafted 12 receivers in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, and at least one in all but two of their 12 drafts.
That includes four taken in the second round — Golden Tate (2010), Paul Richardson (2014), Metcalf (2019) and Eskridge (2021); and two more in the third — Lockett (2015) and Amara Darboh (2017).
Tate, Metcalf and Lockett were unqualified hits; Richardson, taken 45th overall, had some moments but also battled injuries and the Seahawks passed on some other good WRs who went later than he did, notably Davante Adams (53), Allen Robinson (61) and Jarvis Landry (63) in what was a good WR draft. Darboh was a miss, making just eight catches in 13 games and never playing in the NFL again after his rookie season. They also swung and missed on a quartet of fourth-rounders — Kris Durham in 2011, Chris Harper in 2013, Kevin Norwood in 2014 and Gary Jennings in 2019 — but got decent production out of seventh-rounder David Moore (2017) and, so far a sixth-rounder in Swain (2020).
The Seahawks might also consider Percy Harvin as a first-rounder, given that they gave up their first pick in 2013 for him. There was, at least, that one marvelous kickoff return.
Draft need (on scale of 1-10): 8.
If the Seahawks want to take a receiver with one of their top three picks in the top 41 overall they should have no lack of players regarded as good options from which to choose.
As Sports Illustrated recently put it: “Teams looking to draft wide receiver help in 2022 are in luck, as it’s another deep class. If it’s not the strongest position group, it’s without question one of the strongest.”
At least five WRs are generally considered as sure first-rounders — USC’s Drake London, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and Alabama’s Jameson Williams.
But there appear to be good receivers throughout the first few rounds. It’s worth remembering that while last year’s draft was strong in the first round and players such as Ja’Marr Chase (fifth overall to Bengals), Jaylen Waddle (sixth, Dolphins), and DeVonta Smith (10th, Eagles) all look like future stars, the rookie with the second-most receptions last year was Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Lions (90 for 912) taken 112th overall.
The Seahawks were known to be looking at lots of receivers in the pre-draft process.
They reportedly had at least three in for top 30 visits — Samori Toure of Nebaska, Dareke Young of Lenior-Rhyne and Christian Watson of North Dakota State.
Interestingly, all are at least 6 foot 3, led by Watson, who measured 6-4, 208 at the NFL combine.
Watson’s stock has risen as much as anyone at any position since the end of the season due to his measurements and workouts and a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.
Toure began his career at Montana where he had 303 yards in a playoff game, breaking an FCS single-game record that had been held by Moss, before transferring to Nebraska for his senior season.
Young, intriguingly, was used regularly as a running back when Lenior-Rhyne went with a Wing-T offense for two years early in his career, including 49 rushes for 335 yards in 2019.
Next up: Tight end.