Photo Credit: FieldGulls.com
Forget the quarterback “battle.” The real battle going on in Seahawks training camp right now is the fight for the likely 6 wide receiver spots the team will carry. The team currently has 13 wide receivers in training camp.
Before we speculate on who might go where, let’s name the receivers that are a lock to make the team.
Doug Baldwin: Obviously this is a no-brainer. The Stanford alum lead the team last year with 51 receptions for 788 yards and 4 touchdowns. Baldwin is only 5'10", 189 lbs, but runs very crisp routes and can find holes right behind the linebackers to let the quarterback zip the ball into his reliable hands. Expect a similar performance in 2012, with maybe a couple less catches.
Sidney Rice: After signing a 5-year, $41 Million contract last year, Rice struggled through a labrum injury in his shoulder and two concussions throughout the season to end the year with 32 catches for 484 yards and two touchdowns. He told KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler that he will be playing in the season opener against the Cardinals, so it seems as though his recovery has gone well.
At his best, Rice can be a no. 1 wide receiver as he had 1,312 receiving yards receiving in 2009 with Brett Farve and the Vikings. The question will always be whether or not he can stay healthy.
Golden Tate: According to Matt Flynn and other several reports from around the blogosphere, Golden Tate is having a very impressive training camp. This is encouraging to hear and it can only help Tate build off his solid 2011 second half where he caught 24 passes for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. His route running is improved and his burst off the line is unrivaled on the team.
My guess is Rice and Tate will start the season at the two outside receiver spots while Baldwin will do what he does best and play the slot.
After those three guys it’s every man for himself trying to nab one of the last three receiver spots.
MOST LIKELY WILL MAKE IT
Terrell Owens: Pete Carroll has made it clear that on his team, no man’s job is safe; that also includes future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens. In his workout/team tryout Owens reportedly ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, which is incredibly impressive for a 38-year old and shows that T.O. still has some juice left in the tank. Assuming he stays out of trouble and stays healthy, expect something along the lines of 35 receptions for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns, if not more with him being such a big target in the red zone.
HAVE A GOOD SHOT
Ricardo Lockette: Dropped balls have plagued Lockette all of training camp and led many to believe that he may not make the team this year. But I look at a guy like Lockette and believe that even if he’s dropped a couple passes the fact that he’s young, cheap, and shows way too much potential may convince Pete Carroll and staff to keep him around at least one more year.
Braylon Edwards: After stops in New York and San Francisco the former Pro Bowler has found himself in wide receiver redemption land known as Seattle. The 6' 3", 214 lbs Edwards had a productive season in 2010 with the Jets, hauling in 53 passes for 904 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Seahawks obviously want that Braylon and not the 2011 49ers one that only caught 15 passes.
But with two other big receivers most likely on the roster (Rice and Owens), Edwards will have to impress in the coming weeks to not only make the team but get playing time.
Ben Obomanu: Obomanu is good at a lot of things, but not great at any one. He’s not a classic slot guy but not as tall as Owens or Edwards. But Obo is reportedly having a great camp and if we know one thing about this guy is he always finds a way to make the team whether it’s through special teams or having a fantastic preseason game. He has had to fight for a roster spot every season, so this isn’t new for the 7-year veteran.
Deon Butler: Butler has a couple distinct advantages over Edwards, Obomanu and Lockette. First, he’s really the only other slot receiver on the team besides Doug Baldwin. Second, he is the only other receiver besides Lockette with breakneck speed and quickness. But do the coaches fully trust Butler can come back from a broken leg he suffered in 2010?
Kris Durham: The odd-man out in all of this could be Durham unless he is flawless the rest of training camp. After being drafted in the fourth round last year, Durham played a couple games then suffered a labrum injury that cost him most of his rookie season. The good news is that Durham still has practice squad eligibility left.
Phil Bates: Could be the dark horse to leapfrog a couple guys to earn a roster spot with a good camp so far.
Lavasier Tuinei: You hear his name float around Twitter about making big plays but that’s about it.
Jermaine Kearse: How awesome would it be if this former Husky made the team? Too bad there’s almost no way that can happen.
Charly Martin: Only played on NFL practice squads, being used to basically fill space for drills. Sorry, Charly.
Predicted Lineup Depth Chart
1) Sidney Rice
2) Doug Baldwin
3) Golden Tate
4) Terrell Owens
5) Ben Obomanu
6) Deon Butler
Practice Squad: Kris Durham
Butler stays because of his slot abilities and Obomanu because of his versatility and special teams abilities. However, don’t be surprised if Carroll decides to keep 7 receivers, in that case probably keeping Lockette.
Disagree with me? Leave a comment below.
- Nathan Parsons (@nathanparsons98)