When the Seahawks signed Phillip Dorsett to a one-year, $1.05 million contract in March, it was clear that they wanted him for one thing: speed.
Speed is also what drew the Colts to draft Dorsett 29th overall in 2015, hoping to give their young stud signal caller Andrew Luck another weapon.
Coming out of Miami, Dorsett ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, which would make any offensive coordinator or quarterback salivate. That kind of elite speed fits well into any offense, especially one that features the best pure passer in football in Russell Wilson. No receiver currently in Seahawks camp boasts a faster 40-time, though DK Metcalf clocked the same time at his incredible combine performance two years ago.
Granted, it's not like Dorsett hasn't played with quality quarterbacks in the past, like the aforementioned Luck before he caught 73 balls for 881 yards from Tom Brady in three seasons with the Patriots. This season, he enters an offense that has the talent around him to, as Pete Carroll said on Thursday, "accentuate" his skill set.
Speaking of Carroll, he is entering his 11th year as head coach in Seattle and he just made a very bold claim about the 27-year-old receiver.
"He's the fastest guy we've ever had here. He runs in the time realms we don't even think exist like 4.2 seconds and stuff. In our system, the way Russ likes to bomb the football, he's a big factor."
That statement immediately brings to mind the likes of Percy Harvin or Metcalf, guys with speed that could make the Roadrunner turn green with envy. Carroll declared Dorsett the fastest of them all, which is validated by the fact he ran a sub-4.30 second 40-yard dash at Miami's pro day in 2015, faster than the two aforementioned speedsters.
Judging by Carroll's comments, it's possible Dorsett might be even faster than his combine numbers, at least as it appears on the football field.
Many dismissed Dorsett as a depth signing, likely slotted third on the depth chart at best behind Tyler Lockett and Metcalf and may even fall behind David Moore, John Ursua, or Freddie Swain if the young receivers impressed in camp. However, Carroll's statement is a reminder of why Seattle felt like they needed to bring in the former top pick.
With Lockett as the assumed number one target, one of the more well-rounded receivers in football, along with the monstrous presence of Metcalf, this may be the perfect opportunity for Dorsett to thrive and contribute in ways he never has before in his five seasons in the league.
Defenses will be forced to pick their poison when all three receivers are on the field along with a talented tight end group led by three-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen.
Russell Wilson had a 119.2 passer rating when throwing the ball more than 20 yards in the air in 2019 and was rated Pro Football Focus' number one deep passer ahead of this season. With the headaches that Lockett and Metcalf already cause for defenses, Dorsett could have a field day with less pressure on himself to be a top-tier receiver.
Could this be just a classic case of "change of scenery?" There is little doubt the Miami product is talented. Dorsett was quoted back in May praising Russell Wilson and speaking to how he fits in Seattle.
“Obviously Russell, he is a great quarterback. I think the way he plays quarterback, the way this offense is, fits my skill set.”
Plus, with the assumption that the offense will open up more this year, Brian Schottenheimer will find creative ways to get guys more involved. Deep strikes have been lethal for Seattle in recent years.
One can only imagine how much more dangerous (danger-Russ?) this offense will be if Lockett and Metcalf continue their trajectories, Olsen and Will Dissly stay healthy at tight end, and Dorsett offers a luxury item for Wilson to find downfield when the Seahawks inevitably need a big play.