We’re in the dregs of the offseason, counting down the days until at least Seattle Seahawks training camp begins.
While we’re waiting for the calendar to flip to late July, let’s have a little fun discussion to start off this week!
The Seattle Seahawks have eleven players from the 2019 NFL Draft, with Doug Baldwin’s injury-forced departure leading to an emphasis on drafting wide receivers — three of them, in fact. But will any of D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings Jr, or John Ursua be the most impactful/effective rookie from this year’s draft class? The Metcalf hype has already reached fever pitch.
If you scan the 2018 class, Michael Dickson and Tre Flowers were Seattle’s top rookies. Dickson made the Pro Bowl as the greatest punter in NFL history, while Flowers’ safety-to-corner conversion turned into a “trial by fire” experiment starting in Week 1. After a poor debut, Flowers bounced back and proved to be more than serviceable. I doubt anyone would’ve pegged Flowers to have such a solid rookie campaign.
Go further back to 2017, and Shaquill Griffin went from not in the starting lineup to replacing Jeremy Lane in the middle of Week 1. He then became the team’s #1 corner after Richard Sherman’s Achilles injury. Truth be told, there’s a real chance Chris Carson would’ve been Seattle’s best rookie had he not been injured in October.
So what of the 2019 group? In addition to the wide receiver trio, there’s first-round draft choice L.J. Collier added to the defensive line. The former TCU Horned Frog was just a one-year starter, but did get six sacks in eleven games played. Collier has drawn comparisons to Michael Bennett, which certainly sets lofty expectations.
Sticking with defense, Utah’s Marquise Blair figures to start out at strong safety, while Oregon’s Ugo Amadi has already started camp at safety despite the ability to play nickel. Linebackers Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven starred in Pac-12 play, and now they’re hopefully going to fix Seattle’s depth issues at the position, as well as contribute on special teams. Demarcus Christmas might be fighting for a roster spot, but Seattle has historically been able to get good production out of Day 3/UDFA defensive linemen.
Rounding out the class are Miami running back Travis Homer, who’s fighting to be a third-down back, and Wake Forest OL Phil Haynes, who’s ideally a hell of a lot better than the last dude from Wake Forest that the Seahawks drafted.
“Biggest impact” is a pretty broad term, but the general idea should essentially be “best rookie.” Metcalf is likely to be the favorite primarily with the expectation that he’ll get many of the targets that will no longer be going to Baldwin. And if his physical freak traits match up with what the Seahawks want him to be on offense (a deep-ball threat and someone who can dominate contested catches)… watch out, y’all. That said, these are the Seahawks, and you should always expect the unexpected, so perhaps one of those mid-to-late round gems becomes the story of 2019.
Get to voting!