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Measuring Seahawks Receivers Through Mockdraftable Data

Looking at athletic measurables, how do the Seahawks receivers stack up against the rest of the league heading towards the 2020 season?

In sports, analyzing players based on statistics is an imperfect art. While the numbers never tell the whole story, they can be a good predictor of things to come.

Athletic measurables played a big role in Henry Ruggs’ stock skyrocketing leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, as he was drafted 12th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders. Ruggs clocked in at 4.27 seconds on the 40-yard dash, the fastest time of any prospect in this year’s draft class. If we know Ruggs can run that fast, we can reasonably predict that he can outrun the competition.

However, speed isn’t everything - there are many other athletic traits that make different types of players excel in different areas. How can scouts know if they’re getting the right player to fill the role they envision within their system? Northern teams may prefer players with large hands to ensure ball security in those late-season snow games. Other teams may prioritize receivers who can make quick cuts and run precise routes over faster receivers.

Mockdraftable, a website that creates visual maps to illustrate NFL combine stats, identifies patterns and similarities based on the data. Players with large hands tend to make unbelievable end zone catches, while those who excel at the 3-cone drill are known for breaking ankles in space.

Looking at MockDraftable’s player profiles for several of the Seahawks' receivers*, we can see what the organization prioritizes and looks for at the position.

*Note: Not all player data was retrievable through the site - for example, there was no profile on David Moore. 

DK Metcalf


Metcalf’s profile indicates he is an extraordinarily gifted athlete. He's in the 90th or higher percentile in seven out of eleven categories, and his height and hand size are above the 80th percentile.

His vertical and broad jump stats are nearly off the charts - at 6-foot-3 with a 40-inch vertical jump and 35-inch arm length, Metcalf could catch a pass that’s 11 feet off the ground.

Of course, Metcalf had less impressive stats when it came to the 3-cone drill and 20 yard shuttle. These exercises are measures of agility, which can translate to route running capabilities. So far, we’ve seen Metcalf excel on vertical go-routes, post routes, and slants. His route tree indicates that the sharper cuts aren’t the receiver’s speciality, but over the course of his career, Metcalf has plenty of time to improve in that regard.

Metcalf’s performance in the 2019 season affirms what these metrics predicted. He is perfectly suited to running deep routes, with the size and length to make leaping catches and high-point the football. With Wilson’s arm, Metcalf has the opportunity to play to these advantages. There's a reason he burned cornerbacks frequently last year for explosive plays downfield.

Tyler Lockett


Compared to other NFL receivers, Lockett has distinctly fewer physical advantages than Metcalf - but as we said, these metrics aren’t everything.

Notably, Lockett was in the 86th percentile for both the 20-yard and the 60-yard shuttle. According to this NFL 101 video, the shuttle drill tests “lateral quickness, bursts, and acceleration," all of which is crucial for a slot receiver (and the cornerbacks who cover them).

This is presumably a large part of the reason Lockett transitioned to the slot after Doug Baldwin’s departure. He was simply built for it.

Lockett ran a 4.40 at the 2015 combine, making him fast in addition to agile. His rapid shiftiness suits him as the Seahawks’ kick and punt returner - he returned 14 kicks for 279 yards in 2019, gaining 20 or more yards eight times. Lockett has returned several kickoffs for touchdowns, including against the Cardinals in 2017.

Phillip Dorsett


Dorsett struggled to receive targets for a disappointing Patriots offense last year, but what could he bring to the table for the Seahawks? Perhaps looking at his combine stats can remind us where Dorsett is expected to excel.

Dorsett clocked a remarkable 4.33 40-yard dash, which is presumably the main reason he was drafted 29th overall by the Colts in 2015. Interestingly, Dorsett shares an 81 percent overlap with famous speedsters Devin Hester and DeSean Jackson. Other impressive stats include his 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, likening him to Lockett.

If Dorsett has comparable skills to Lockett, where can he find his niche in the Seahawks offense?

Dorsett finally has an opportunity to thrive in an offense where the targets and coverage are more evenly distributed - and with said distribution, Dorsett could be a receiver No. 2 or No. 3, replacing Lockett on some plays and complementing him on others. Dorsett was often used to secure a first down, but he’s capable of catching bombs downfield as well - his speed and quickness means he should be able to create separation. If nothing else, Dorsett adds depth and diversity to the intriguing receiver corps the Seahawks are compiling this offseason.

Freddie Swain 


Sixth-round pick Freddie Swain has the highest percentiles in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, and 40-yard dash, but nothing hits above the 75th percentile.

While that might make him seem “average” stats-wise, Swain fares well when his profile is compared to other NFL receivers. Swain’s profile is an 87.6 percent match to former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, as well as an 86 percent match with Kenny Stills and Dede Westbrook.

Based on his profile as well as these matches, Swain should be a strong receiver who can run fast and leap for the ball when needed.

Looking at his tape, Swain is much more than what’s on his traits map. He keeps his eyes locked on the ball before he secures the catch for a significant gain or touchdown. After the catch, he's elusive, slipping past defenders with agility while speeding towards the end zone. This can be seen on kick and punt returns too.

Though his stats don't back it up, Swain looks like a star on tape, and playing on the grand stage of an SEC team makes his gains even more impressive. Combined with intelligent route running and secure ball handling from the slot, we can expect Swain to be a versatile passing component with his skill set: he’s able to catch short plays and gain yards after the catch, as well as position himself for deep passes.

In fact, Swain’s college tape bears a striking resemblance to Tate’s golden years with the Seahawks. Playing with a far better quarterback, he will have a chance to surprise in training camp.

Stephen Sullivan


Although Sullivan is listed as a tight end on Mockdraftable, it seems the Seahawks may have something else in mind for the seventh-rounder - he’s listed as a receiver on their official roster.

Sullivan may be expected to play in two tight end sets opposite Greg Olsen or Will Dissly, likely spread out wide as a receiver. According to his trait map, his arm length, hand size, and height predispose him to making hard-to-reach catches. His low weight, jump stats, and 40-yard dash time make him much more capable of route-running than other tight ends.

If tight ends sit along a spectrum of blocking tight ends and pass-catching tight ends (with some, of course, being able to do both), we can assume that Sullivan is on the pass-catching end. Sullivan has a tight end build with the skills and capabilities of a wide receiver - a dangerous combination in an unpredictable passing attack. 

What stands out in Sullivan’s highlights is his towering frame. He stands above many of the cornerbacks who cover him, reaching above their heads with an exceptional wingspan. If Sullivan can get open, he could become a favorite target for Wilson.

Data-wise, Sullivan has a 71.6 percent overlap with Steelers tight end Eric Ebron, which is promising considering Ebron’s production. During his best season in 2018, Ebron caught 66 passes for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns - if Sullivan scratches the surface of that upside combined with red zone threats in Olsen and Dissly, opponents will be challenged trying to slow that group down.

Based on available data, we can reasonably predict that Wilson will have a versatile, capable receiver corps at his disposal. With aerial bombs for Metcalf and first downs secured by Lockett and Dorsett, the star quarterback could enjoy his own stats boost this season.