Seahawks’ Receivers Remain Undervalued in NFL Circles

Maybe it's simply because Seattle doesn't throw the ball as much as other teams, but once again, it feels like the Seahawks receiving corps is being slighted heading into a new season.
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Never has there been more talent at the wide receiver position in the history of football than there is right now in the NFL. Receivers are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before.

The Seahawks boast plenty of talent at the position themselves. What makes it more fun is that there are a plethora of teams in the league who possess at least one high quality receiver.

Pro Football Focus recently released an article ranking the receiver group of each team. They ranked the Seahawks’ receiving corps 17th in the league.

Not only that, but Seattle was ranked behind the likes of the Los Angeles Rams and notoriously-thin-at-receiver Eagles as well as rated the worst receiver unit in the NFC West.

This may just be one ranking but it begs the question - are the Seahawks’ receivers being underrated around the league?

Let’s start at the top in Seattle, where Tyler Lockett still remains as quarterback Russell Wilson’s favorite target. The list of quarterbacks and receivers who have a better connection than Wilson and Lockett is very short.

The duo connected for a ridiculous perfect passer rating in 2018 and Lockett has collected over 2,000 receiving yards with 18 touchdowns in the last two seasons. In 2019, only Saints All-Pro performer Michael Thomas had a better catch rate than Seattle's underrated star among receivers with at least 500 yards.

Down a bit further on the depth chart, DK Metcalf burst onto the scene as a rookie with an 89-yard performance in his first game as a professional. He turned in two 100-yard games, including one in the postseason, and produced 900 receiving yards in the regular season, third among rookies and better than 49ers rookie Deebo Samuel. 

After plunging to the second round due to concerns about his route running ability and 3-cone drill, the 6-foot-4, 228-pound pass catcher became one of the best stories coming out of the 2019 draft. 

Philip Dorsett, though underwhelming as a former first-round pick, is coming off of a career-high five receiving touchdowns and caught balls from Tom Brady. Joining Seattle as a free agent, teaming up with Wilson may be the best thing that could happen for turning his career around.

Seattle is one of just two teams (Buffalo) in the entire league who are entering the 2020 season with at least three receivers who caught at least five touchdowns last season.

Within the division, only the Cardinals can claim clear superiority over Seattle with their receivers. Acquiring DeAndre Hopkins changed the entire outlook of Arizona’s season and he will line up next to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

The Rams jettisoned one of their best receivers in Brandin Cooks, but still boast Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. This duo is comparable to that of Lockett and Metcalf in Seattle as far as the quality of the top two receivers on each team, but Seattle might get a slight edge as a whole unit based on the fact Dorsett projects as a better third option than Josh Reynolds. 

Dorsett has a 63.5 percent catch rate with eight touchdowns in the last two seasons, while Reynolds has a 52.1 percent catch rate and six touchdowns respectively in that same timeframe. 

David Moore will likely be Seattle’s fourth option at receiver, racking up 746 yards and seven scores in the last two years, while John Ursua is a sleeper to watch in his second NFL season. Los Angeles’ fourth option is likely rookie Van Jefferson, who will come into his first professional season with minimal offseason work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Samuel is a fine receiver in San Francisco, with 802 yards and three scores during his rookie campaign. However, with the departure of Emmanuel Sanders, the next man up in the Bay Area is likely incoming rookie Brandon Aiyuk, who, like Jefferson in L.A., will be at a disadvantage coming into training camp with limited offseason workouts with his new team. 

Plus, last I checked, the 49ers' best pass catcher is not a receiver, but a tight end in All-Pro George Kittle.

Seattle is not relying as heavily on rookies as Los Angeles and San Francisco, thus their receiving corps should be at least marginally better. 

In the aforementioned article by Pro Football Focus, they also ranked Philadelphia ahead of Seattle’s receivers. The Eagles are a team that went into the draft with perhaps the weakest, most shallow receiver room in the league. 

During the draft, they certainly improved in that department with not only drafting Jalen Reagor in the first round, but also acquiring Marquise Goodwin, who is coming off of a disappointing season with the 49ers.

The Eagles drafted two more receivers in the fifth and sixth rounds to go along with their top two targets in Alshon Jeffrey and the aging Desean Jackson.  

Seattle didn’t get to see Philadelphia at full strength at receiver despite playing them twice, as Philly was decimated by injuries. However, Seattle likely still has the advantage lining up their receivers against Philadelphia’s, with Lockett and Metcalf not having the same aging and durability issues as the Eagles’ top targets.

There's also a chance Josh Gordon could be reinstated and brought back, though it remains unknown if either of those things will happen at this time.

All in all, the Seahawks may have not have a top, elite receiving corps, but with Lockett’s production, Metcalf’s unlimited potential, Phillip Dorsett’s explosive nature, and David Moore’s experience, this group deserves to be at least in the top half of the league’s receiver groups. If Gordon somehow returns, the group could be even better.