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NFL Draft

Can Seahawks Live Without True WR3?

  • The Draft Network
  • April 17, 2021
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This NFL offseason, at one point, had multiple talented free-agent pools. Once most teams secured their passers and added depth on both sides of the ball, there was one team notably missing from the action, particularly missing out on the lush wide-receiver market.

The Seattle Seahawks saw their WR3, David Moore, depart for Carolina after one of his most productive seasons and re-signed one of their top receiving talents, Tyler Lockett, to a four-year contract extension. Beyond that, the Seahawks didn’t do much of anything in terms of surrounding quarterback Russell Wilson with greater receiving depth. They did add Gerald Everett, a tight end formerly with NFC West-foe the Los Angeles Rams, who has constantly had a 60-plus percent catch rate his late three seasons; but they are yet to replace Moore.

Seattle is now mighty thin with reliable pass-catching options. There is a need for depth in the wide receiver room; it’s a secondary need heading into the 2021 season. But if both Metcalf and Lockett remain healthy throughout the entire 2021 season, Seattle’s options at WR3 don’t need to be solidified further. It’s a risky bet in the uber-physical NFL; as productive as the duo has been, Lockett has been banged up the later portion of the last two seasons. The lack of a WR3 becomes a concern if injuries mount, but the Seahawks can look down the depth chart at receiver if that need arises; it’s not certain, and it might not be pretty, but when keeping in mind head coach Pete Carroll’s desire to establish the run, Everett’s addition and re-signing running back Chris Carson, there could be enough pass-catching options for Carroll and newly-minted offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who comes by way of Los Angeles as the Rams’ former passing game coordinator.

Seattle hasn’t relied heavily on a WR3, either. Last season, Moore had 35 receptions for 417 yards and six touchdowns. He finished the season with the highest catch percentage of his career (74.5%) and was the most effective WR3 in half a decade. The last time the Seahawks’ true WR3 was third in receptions was 2015 when Lockett was playing behind Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse. Still, Carson (37) was targeted more times than Moore (35) in 2020. 

The Seahawks could find a receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft, but their draft capital is depleted as a result of the trades for do-it-all safety Jamal Adams (in 2020) and guard Gabe Jackson (in 2021). Spending any draft capital at the position poses a challenge with more pressing needs elsewhere. Seattle has just three picks and needs to bolster its pass rush, secondary, and offensive line—particularly its offensive line after Wilson publicly vocalized his displeasure with the abysmal protection he’s been given over the course of his career.

The Seahawks could want to spend some of their approximately $7.9 million of available cap space of pass-catching talent, but this seems unlikely with Seattle investing among the least across the league in the free-agent market and a severely depleted group of receivers available—a likely soon-to-be-retired Larry Fitzgerald and previous Seahawk Golden Tate are some of the best options left.

Seattle has an extremely effective 1-2 receiver combo with Metcalf and Lockett; they’re arguably the best receiver tandem in the league. This could be enough for the Seahawks, who have to balance their needs with the approval of Wilson (who likes to target pass-catching tight ends). The combination of Seattle’s WR1, WR2, tight end room, and versatile rushers who can be used out of the backfield as pass-catching options can be enough for Waldon and company to work with; it’s quite a different setup than he had in Los Angeles, but Seattle is everything but ordinary. If Carroll wants to continue to put an emphasis on the run game and under-utilizing one of the most dynamic passers the NFL has seen, putting more resources into the offensive line and backfield seems more feasible than adding to the team’s receiving corps.

Whatever we guess the Seahawks will do, they’ll somehow do the complete opposite leaving us scratching our heads in confusion and disappointment; but only one person needs to be satisfied with the brass’ decision-making process and that’s the one throwing the rock.

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