One scouting report on Seahawks sixth-round draft choice Travis Homer’s receiving ability ahead of the NFL draft stated: “Caught 37 passes over the last two seasons, rarely dropping the football. Has impressive reps on tape where he makes outstanding adjustments to the football and snatches it outside his frame. Deserved more opportunities.’’
Figure him to get those “more opportunities’’ if he makes Seattle’s roster, which he will be given every chance to do at a position that looms as one of the team’s more intriguing heading into the 2019 season.
Barring injury or something unforeseen, Seattle looks to have a stable combo at the top of its tailback depth chart in 2019 with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.
Each will catch their share of passes — Carson had one of the best catch percentages on the team last year with 20 receptions in 24 targets.
But in keeping with the way the Seahawks have configured their offense throughout the Pete Carroll era, each also is ticketed to primarily play on early downs, with the Seahawks having always had a separate role for a running back who enters the game primarily on third downs and then in two-minute situations, when a good receiving back is more of a necessity.
That role now is wide open after Mike Davis’ departure to the Bears in free agency.
Davis was Seattle’s third-leading receiver last year in terms of receptions with 34, good for 214 yards and a touchdown.
Seattle currently lists only three other running backs on its roster aside from Carson, Penny and Homer: C.J. Prosise, Bo Scarbrough and undrafted free agent Adam Choice of Clemson. J.D. McKissic, who has played running back for Seattle the past two years, currently is listed as a return specialist.
Scarbrough, who signed late last season, projects mostly as an early-down back, as does Choice, who caught just 22 passes in four years at Clemson, and as a UDFA would have to beat long odds to get into the mix anyway.
McKissic might well factor into the third-down battle.
But logically, the two leading contenders appear to be Homer and Prosise, the latter of whom has one shot left to make something of what has been a mercurial and largely disappointing three-year Seahawks career.
Drafted in the third round in 2016, Prosise briefly looked like the team’s back of the future when he sparked a 31-24 victory at New England with 66 yards rushing and 87 receiving, and then the next week ripped off a 72-yard touchdown run against the Eagles in the opening minutes.
But he suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter against the Eagles, setting off a frustrating ordeal of aches and pains that has limited him to just 16 out of a possible 48 regular-season games in three years while also missing all three postseason games.
Prosise played just five games last season before the team decided to shelve him so he could have abdominal surgery to fix what had been a chronic issue.
Carroll said the surgery went well and Prosise has been taking part in the team’s offseason program.
“I love C.J.’s play,’’ Carroll said in January. “I think he’s a fantastic player. He just has that bug about staying healthy that he’s had to deal with, but he’s a terrific competitor when he’s out there so it’ll be exciting to see him back.”
But with Prosise now entering the final season of his four-year rookie deal, the Seahawks decided not to take any chances and drafted Homer, creating what could well be a two-man battle for a key offensive role.
And while first indications of all draft choices tend to be positive in rookie minicamp — put it this way, if they are not, then something has gone pretty wrong — Homer appeared to show over the weekend he will be what the Seahawks had hoped.
The Seahawks used Homer in a variety of different roles out of the backfield, including at one point sending him on a deep wheel route on which he caught a pass 20 yards downfield looking pretty natural as he did.
The Seahawks also had Homer do some extra work on his receiving just to get a feel where he is, and Carroll said that also went well.
“He showed a really good sense for the game,’’ Carroll said. “He understood the offense immediately, had no problem picking things up. We did a lot of different stuff with him, running the football, route-wise, protection stuff he seemed very comfortable with, too.’’
The team also said Homer was the top-rated special-teams player on its draft board, so he figures to have a big role there, too, which by itself might all but assure he makes the 53-man roster.
Homer says it’s all fine with him.
Homer, who entered the draft after three years at Miami and won’t turn 21 until Aug. 7, said the third-down role is just fine but he also likes being a physical runner, an attitude that surely helps with special-teams play.
He likes the same in his entertainment.
Homer is a big fan of Anime, specifically Naruto and Dragon Ball Z, but said that shouldn’t be misconstrued.
“You all are going to think I’m kidding or something but I like the physicality of Anime,’’ he told reporters Sunday. “You all think this is like kid’s cartoons. Nah. This is some real stuff going on here.’’
What also seems clear is he’s ready for the battle in Seattle’s backfield.
Seahawks sign first four rookies
The signing of draft choices is pretty much a formality these days with all rookies getting standard four-year deals with salaries slotted via where they were selected, all determined by the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
Seattle got the first four contracts out of the way Monday, signing second-round choice Marquise Blair, fourth-rounders Phil Haynes and Ugo Amadi and fifth-rounder Ben Burr-Kirven.
Blair gets a contract worth up to $6.24 million with a bonus of $2.56 million; Haynes gets $3.21 million with a bonus of $690,880; Amadi $3.17 million and $645,192 and Burr-Kirven $2.86 million and $342,196. All figures are via OvertheCap.com.