Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Seahawks' hidden treasure: Wide receiver
By Mike Sando
» AFC hidden treasures: West | North | South | East » NFC: West | North | South | East
Examining a position group that could exceed its preseason expectations:
The Seattle Seahawks haven't sent a player to the Pro Bowl as a full-time wide receiver since Brian Blades made it following the 1989 season.
That streak appears unlikely to end anytime soon. The team invested virtually nothing in the position this offseason. A few questions persist -- for example, what does Mike Williams have in store? -- but with so much attention on quarterbacks and the Seattle defense, wide receiver gets my vote as a Seahawks position group that could surprise.
Sidney Rice and 2011 fourth-round choice Kris Durham are returning to health, Golden Tate was ascending late last season and the Seahawks are giving themselves a chance to get more from the quarterback position.
Rice underwent surgery on both shoulders this offseason. He is now nearly three full offseasons removed from the only statistically impressive season of his five-year career. This is looking like a pivotal season for him. Tate caught 35 passes on 56 targets with no drops last season.
Doug Baldwin, largely unknown a year ago, returns as one of the best third-down threats in the league. Ricardo Lockette has shown signs he can stretch a defense. Seattle targeted Lockett four times last season, all in the final two games. Lockette caught a 44-yarder against San Francisco and a 61-yarder against Arizona. Both defenses were hot.
Undrafted free agent Phil Bates could be another player to watch, particularly after Baldwin emerged last season.