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Analysis: How Bo Melton Can Overcome Crowded Receiver Room to Make Seahawks' Roster

Making the back end of the Seahawks' roster will be extremely difficult for receivers this summer, but seventh-round pick Bo Melton may be the most well-equipped player to break through.

Limited by a run-heavy offensive scheme and shoddy quarterback play at Rutgers, there may be more than meets eye with rookie receiver Bo Melton. The seventh-round draft pick of the Seahawks presents an intriguing toolset, but he'll have to show off every gadget in his arsenal and then some to make his first NFL roster.

Due in part to the high volume of wideouts currently on the back end of Seattle's roster and the added benefit of practice squad elevations, breaking camp with the team this summer will be difficult for Melton to accomplish. Unless he or someone else performs at a level impossible to ignore, the quartet of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge and Freddie Swain may be all the Seahawks head into the first week of the season with at receiver, just as they did a year ago.

So how could Melton stand out and force Seattle's hand? Well, while there appears to be plenty of untapped potential in his ability as a pass catcher, his chances likely hang in the balance of his capacity to perform on special teams. 

Barring an unforeseen injury or two, offensive snaps are going to be vastly limited for the fifth/sixth receiver role Melton will be vying for. Therefore, special teams viability will be paramount in this particular camp battle, and Melton will have plenty of competition on his hands from the likes of Penny Hart, Cody Thompson and others.

Melton was one of Rutgers' captains, but his leadership qualities expanded beyond his locker room presence. He did everything in his power to help his school win football games, exhibiting a willingness to do the little things like block and play multiple roles on special teams. This includes returning kicks and punts towards the tail end of his collegiate career, as well as covering punts as a gunner—both of which he found great success in doing.

His prowess as a returner—albeit limited to just 16 combined attempts between punts and kicks—is especially interesting. The Seahawks have lacked upside there for quite some time, most recently rolling with Swain, who finished an underwhelming 12th in yards per punt return (8.4) last season. 

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Perhaps the plan is for Eskridge—a dangerous kick returner during his final year at Western Michigan—to take over those duties despite not having a background of returning punts. Head coach Pete Carroll has discussed the possibility before and Eskridge did occasionally field punts in training camp last summer. But Seattle may also want to keep its 2020 second-round pick out of harm's way after he missed seven games with a severe concussion.

If Melton is given reps as a returner and proves capable of offering more than Swain, not only could he play himself onto the active roster but he would be able to contribute immediately. He certainly has the elusiveness and speed to raise the team's ceiling on that front, running an impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds at the combine back in February. 

It could also be the only way for him to overcome the more experienced receivers towards the bottom of Seattle's depth chart like Hart and Thompson, who've both contributed in a variety of ways on special teams. Being able to do what they can and provide upside as a returner should jump Melton to the front of the line.

The receiving skills likely come second. Impressing in that regard certainly won't hurt Melton's chances of surviving roster cutdowns, but the probability of him making it on that alone is low. 

Basically, being the Swiss Army man he was at Rutgers will be key for Melton. "The more you can do" has long been a staple of Carroll's evaluation process and that will certainly apply to his current receiver room. 

At the very least, Melton is well-equipped for the challenge.