Doug Baldwin, one of the most underrated players in the NFL during his eight-year NFL career, retired this offseason. This is noteworthy because replacing his productivity will go a long way in determining just how good this offense can be.
This brings us to the 2019 NFL Draft; Seattle landed D.K. Metcalf, widely considered a first-rounder and likely the first wide receiver off the board, with the 64th pick. There were concerns about Metcalf’s durability (he struggled with injuries at Ole Miss), and his route-running ability — despite blazing a 4.33 40-yard time at the combine. The early returns have not only been reassuring but Metcalf might be better than advertised.
“It’s great seeing D.K. make his plays,” quarterback Russell Wilson said last week from minicamp, according to the team’s website. “I think D.K. is looking really, really special. He can do anything and everything and he’s tremendous.”
And it’s not just the athleticism, it’s his understanding of his role in this offense.
“His knowledge of the game first,” Wilson continued. “Everybody knows about his ability to run and jump and catch and all that. But I think more than anything else, it’s his brain, how he processes information, how quickly he understands it. He’s really intelligent, he understands the game really well. He takes coaching well, he gets extra work. He’s a legit pro wide receiver. He’s everything everyone was talking about in terms of what he’s capable of and more.”
Wilson’s comments come some six weeks after coach Pete Carroll couldn’t say enough good things about Metcalf following the first day of rookie minicamp.
“Well, it’s almost like, what doesn’t [impress you about Metcalf], you know?” Carroll told reporters in early May. “I mean, he’s big and he’s fast. He’s got really good feet, you know, and his catching range was exhibited today for a start. And you know, we’ve got to figure it out, figure out where it is, maybe even more unique than we thought coming in. So we just develop it as we go. But big and really fast and the catching range was really obvious today.”
Metcalf gives the Seahawks another legitimate deep threat opposite Tyler Lockett, who quietly had an outstanding 2018 campaign. There’s also rookie Gary Jennings, a fourth-round pick who played with Will Grier at West Virginia; he’s a big, fast slot receiver who gives Wilson another athletic downfield threat. Put another way: Seattle’s offense will almost certainly be more dynamic next season and the defense, with the addition of edge rusher L.J. Collier (2019 first-round pick) and safety Marquise Blair (2019 second-round pick) could be a top-10 unit.
Vegas gives the Rams better odds than the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl (8-to-1 vs. 25-to-1) but we like Seattle to win the NFC West, mostly because of Russell Wilson and the defense, but also because of what Metcalf brings to this offense.