Seahawks Insider

Post-draft depth chart: wide receivers

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on May 26, 2014 at 6:59 pm with 19 Comments »
May 26, 2014 6:59 pm
Percy Harvin's big-play ability will be a new facet for the Seahawks this season. / AP photo
Percy Harvin’s big-play ability will be a new facet for the Seahawks this season. / AP photo

This may be the most competitive position group on the roster. It was certainly the most actively addressed during the offseason.

The Seahawks brought in five receivers (if you include Sidney Rice) and lost one (Golden Tate).

Obviously, the effectiveness of the Seahawks’ passing game can’t be explained in totals since they throw the ball so infrequently. Russell Wilson finished 12th in completion percentage and seventh in passer rating last season, showing a solid and efficient passing game.

According to Football Outsiders’ wide receiver value chart, Doug Baldwin was the most valuable on the team. He was ranked 12th overall in the league via their metrics among receivers with at least 50 catches. Tate was 24th.

Jermaine Kearse was fourth among receivers with 10-49 catches.

Yet, Seattle spent a small amount of free agent money and two prime draft picks on new receivers. Let’s take a look.

Front four
Percy Harvin
The team’s highest-paid offensive player and most dynamic offensive option when healthy, Harvin will be expected to have a huge 2014. The glimpses he provided in limited playing time last year — like when he basically ended the Super Bowl by returning the second-half kickoff for a touchdown — only heightened expectation about what he can provide the offense.

Doug Baldwin
Angry enough to play the slot and outside, Baldwin showed he’s one of the league’s best bargains. He’s currently wrangling with the team about his contract status. He said on 950 KJR he won’t sit out this year, so he’ll either being playing under a second-round tender or will work out a longer contract. Considering all the new receivers the Seahawks brought in, my guess is the two sides will have a hard time meeting at a mutual number for a two- or three-year deal.

Jermaine Kearse
The question for Kearse this year is if he can maintain such a high level of efficiency. Kearse was targeted just 38 times last season, only 10 more than backup tight end Luke Willson and three fewer than Sidney Rice, who was lost for the year in October. In those 38 regular-season targets, he made 22 catches and finished second on the team to seldom used Ricardo Lockette (16.4), with 15.7 yards per catch. His fourth-down touchdown catch in the NFC Championship game was one of the biggest plays of the year.

Paul Richardson
The second-round pick has striking acceleration, hence his self-assigned catch phrase, “don’t blink.” Richardson will be going form a situation where he was basically the entire offense at Colorado, to where he’s a receiver in an offense that averaged 25 passes per game last season, among the lowest in the league. Though, Pete Carroll thinks that adaptation is a non-issue.

“That’s not even a factor,” Carrol said after the draft. “He’s coming out here trying to make this club and make a spot for himself. What happened in the past just showed who he was  and what kind of player he was, but it doesn’t have anything to do with it. He’s not geared that he’s got to be the guy to be an effective player. He’s ready to go, he’ll come out competing and will fit in, as will all of the guys. I don’t think that’s an issue at all.”

The next group
Kevin Norwood
The Seahawks’ other wide receiver draft pick comes from Alabama, where he played in a run-first system. Norwood was known for being timely with his catches, earning him the nickname, “Mr. Clutch.” Norwood has decent size at 6-foo-2 and 200 pounds. His greatest impact is likely to come on third down.

Sidney Rice
The question for him is simple: Is he healthy? Coming off an ACL tear, Rice is on a one-year deal. Rice, 27, told the TNT he expects to play several more years. How he fits in the Seahawks’ receivers room this year — and beyond — is a bit of a question. Rice will have to fend off the young guys and show he hasn’t lost anything because of his surgery.

Chris Matthews
At 6-foot-5 and 218 pounds, Matthews is one of the great wild cards of camp. Matthews was the CFL rookie of the year in 2012. He missed most of 2013 because of injuries.

Ricardo Lockette
Lockette showed flashes of his speed and caught five passes on seven targets last season. He also turned out be an intriguing gunner, nearly decapitating LaMichael James in the NFC title game.

The outsiders
Phil Bates
Bryan Walters
Arceto Clark
Taylor Price

Each will have a very hard time making the team.

Leave a comment Comments → 19
  1. Could not agree with this assessment any more!!

  2. Macabrevity says:

    I wonder if Richardson can block?

  3. Southendzone says:

    Good take on Baldwin’s contract situation. I’m totally unclear as to how it will work out

  4. surelyyoujest says:

    Lockette was an absolute beast on special teams late last year. That will make him more difficult to displace off the roster. Someone will have to clearly beat him out, AND prove they can handle the ST duties.

    It will certainly be an intesting battle through the summer, with injuries undoubtedly playing a factor…..as it often does. Better stay healthy.

  5. surelyyoujest says:

    I rewatched the SB again (for about the 10th time) and every time I watch it I’m amazed at how terrible a game Walter Thurmond had. Had to be his worst game of the year. Everyone else was playing lights out on D, but he was missing assignments all over the place. Covered the wrong guy once, and was trailing a WR badly several times after being slow to diagnose the route. Not sure what was up with him that day. Mentally not sharp. Maybe he was one of the few guys who just didn’t handle “the moment” very well.

    Happily every one else was bringing it.

  6. montanamike2 says:

    Thurmond was an easier loss with Maxwell and Lane licking their chops, Tharold Simon might be another gem.

  7. FootballOUtsiders metrics are flawed. They dont take into account that Seattle often threw to Tate when he was covered, throwing up nearly uncatchable balls simply because if everyone is covered, Tate’s the guy who can outjump everyone. They gave him a half-assed shot to make something out of nothing, and thats part of the reason he had so many passes thrown his way, and why his catch-per-attempt is not as good as it otherwise would be.

    Not that they are junk stats, but these guys often miss the forest for the trees.

  8. I think its obvious Baldwin wants to be paid like a starting FL, not a second or third WR who plays slot and some FL. And of course, Seattle is still trying to get a reliable WR on the cheap.

    I wish they’d just pay the man. Especially since they let Tate walk, just pay the guy and if youre that strapped for cap space, cut Rice. He’s an unnecessary security blanket. Yeah, he’d be nice to have but unless Norwood tanks, we’re likely to keep and be fine with Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, Richardson and Norwood.

  9. Southendzone says:

    Seems like a bit of a stretch to try and discredit Football Outsiders stats. Every stat has some degree of subjectivity but your post comes off as trying to pull an excuse for Tate out of your behind.

    I could say that FO didn’t take into account that on most of DB’s targets where he didn’t make the catch, there was a big wind blowing right at him. Or that he ate a bad burrito the night before, so his rank should be higher too. It’s just as arbitrary of an argument.

  10. surelyyoujest says:

    Baldwin is likely looking for the money JS wasn’t willing to give Golden. There are other people who need to be paid next year, so any long term deal has to fit inside that context. Harvin is already a significant investment in the WR position. Tough decisions. I love DB.

    Cutting Rice won’t clear much space. He’s counting less then $1m this year. He may get cut in due course anyway, if he isn’t healthy enough to fend off the challengers.

    “FootballOUtsiders metrics are flawed.” A bit of an overly generatized comment, no ? Statistics are statistics. They measure whatever they are designed to measure. They all have their own particular merits. We all tend to point to the ones that support our predispositions towards a team or player, and poo poo the ones that paint a less flattering picture. Human nature.

  11. SandpointHawk says:

    Southendzone, you’re close with your reasoning but the problem was

    “there was a big wind blowing from him because he ate a bad burrito last night”…

  12. EzraMelech says:

    I’m taking Statistic’s this Quarter in school, and if there is one thing I’ve learned from this class is that “numbers” can be made to say anything you want to really. Give me enough time and resources and I can show that “almost” any player in the league is good and back that up with stats.

    Conversely I can also take “almost” any player and show why he is not as valuable as perceived and make a case that Player X makes way to much money. It’s all how you present the numbers… even math can be manipulated.

    Here’s an example Math problem, lets see how smart you guys are. (addition subtraction, multiplication only)
    3 guys go to rent a motel room. The room cost’s 30.00. So the guys go to the counter to pay and each get out 10.00 to split the cost. The clerk thinks the guys are cute, so she says she’ll let them have the room for 25. The guys give her the 10 ea, and she withdraws 5 one dollar bills for the change. 30-5=25. She hands them back each 1 dollar, and takes the other 2 dollars and puts it in her pocket (a tip). Since she gave each guy back 1 dollar how much did each contribute towards the room? (9 dollars right?) 10-1=9.
    Here’s the rub or the twist. What is 9×3? 27right? plus the 2 dollars in the girls pocket (tip) makes what? 29? right? 9×3=27 + 2 =29. Where is the other dollar?? Soon as you guys figure that one out you’ll understand more about what I’m talking about above..

    My2CentsWorth

  13. I knew someone would howl if I said anything positive about Tate.

    I like FootballOutsiders, but their stats are complex and require interpolation and analysis, and for some positions their so-called advanced stats just dont seem to work. I think they do a decent job of grading the offensive line–better than any other method Ive found. However, tracking the percentage of passes thrown at a WR that are caught is a stat that is ripe for misunderstanding, exaggeration, and erroneous conclusions.

    Sometimes their stats just have huge logic holes in them, and this is one of them.

    It may not make sense to you, but it surely makes sense to me that guys like Tate had the ball thrown to them in instances where there was no one open, and the ball was thrown where only they would have a (tiny) chance at making a play on it…I saw that countless times last season. I certainly woudlnt penalize the WR for not coming down the ball in that instance, nor grade him with a drop. And those kinds of plays seemed to go Tate’s way far more often than anyone else.

    To me, this says RW was comfortable with giving Tate a shot at a contested ball, knowing his strength and athleticism, and not nearly as comfortable doing the same thing with Baldwin or Kearse (or Rice pre-injury.) Actually, in prior years, RW would try to go to Rice even when he was well-covered, to no avail; it would seem RW learned not to throw to him unless he was really open.

  14. SandpointHawk says:

    Ah, the old missing dollar riddle. Think $8.33.

  15. Rice may not make much more than a million, but a million counts if youre going to pinch pennies and try to pay Baldwin like crap.

    Given what they offered Tate initially, it wouldnt surprise me one bit if Seattle is offering about 3 million a year to Baldwin, and he likely wants closer to 5.

    And on the open market next year, Baldwin WILL get at LEAST 5 per season, despite not being a star yet. He nearly led the team in catches and yards, despite being on a run-first team that spreads the ball around, and he can play every position, especially FL and slot. Plenty of guys who arent anywhere near as productive, professional, or as passionate as Baldwin make 5 million per or more.

    Not saying he should be paid that, but if we dont pay it, someone else WILL.

  16. Southendzone says:

    Stupid missing $ riddle. There is no missing $.
    Starting:
    $30: in guy’s wallets

    ENDING:
    $3: In guy’s wallets
    $2: In clerk’s wallet
    $25: In hotel register.

  17. Southendzone says:

    Here’s another old one that’s a little tougher:

    You are presented with 100 bags of gold. Each contains 100 pieces of gold. 99 of the bags are authentic and the pieces weigh 1 oz each. 1 of the bags is fake and each of those 100 pieces weigh only 0.99 oz each.

    You also have an accurate scale which you can use ONLY ONCE. How do you determine which bag contains the fake gold pieces?

  18. SandpointHawk says:

    Too easy but hard to explain with the 100 bags, typically it was 10 bags so to save myself from more carpal tunnel syndrome, I’ll just say the answer is on the net if anyone is interested….

  19. EzraMelech says:

    @South. I of course know there is no missing dollar. It’s all how the story is told and how “you” are being made to think about the problem.

    My (I guess massively stupid) point was that we can all use stats and twist them or use them in a way that validates our own points. Stats are good, and they do have their uses, but trying to say someone is better then so and so relying on “stats alone” is flawed IMHO. As pointed out stats can be made to prove almost any point you want.

    If I wanted to take the time to amass all the stats I could show you what a great and undervalued receiver Tate was. (or any receiver for that matter) I could also show you what a horrible overrated POS receiver he was. Sabermetrics can be a useful tool, but everything has to be put in context. Too often people try to compare apples to oranges and it just doesn’t work.

    Now after my stupid long winded post, I’ll just say I’m quite content (slightly excited even) to see what our receiving core does this year. I think Richardson and Norwood both could be significant contributors. Last but not least, I hope Sidney finds a way to stick at least for this year, I think his leadership (if or no other reason) will be invaluable to the young core group.

    My2CentsWorth

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