The 2021 NFL draft kicks off on Thursday, April 29, though as things currently stand, the Seahawks will be sitting out Day 1 of the draft having traded their first-round pick to acquire safety Jamal Adams last summer. While the Seahawks could always add more picks via trades, for now they have just three picks due to the trades made to acquire Adams, defensive end Carlos Dunlap II and guard Gabe Jackson. And whether the Seahawks end up making just those three picks or if John Schneider works his magic and they end up selecting more players, there will still be opportunities to add talent to the roster, so over the next two weeks, Seahawks.com will take a position-by-position look at where things currently stand for the Seahawks, as well as the top draft prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position over the past 11 drafts under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
So far we've covered the offensive and defensive lines, running back and safety, and today we take a look at where things stand at receiver. Monday, we'll turn our attention to cornerback.
Seattle's 2021 Draft Picks: Round 2, No. 56 overall; Round 4, No. 129 overall; Round 7, Pick No. 250 overall.
Draft History Under Carroll & Schneider: Golden Tate (No. 60 overall, 2010); Jameson Konz (No. 245, 2010); Kris Durham (No. 107, 2011); Chris Harper (No. 123, 2013); Paul Richardson (No. 45, 2014); Kevin Norwood (No. 123, 2014); Tyler Lockett (No. 69, 2015); Kenny Lawler (No. 243, 2016); Amara Darboh (No. 106, 2017); David Moore (No. 226, 2017); DK Metcalf (No. 64, 2019); Gary Jennings (No. 120, 2019); John Ursua (No. 236, 2019); Freddie Swain (No. 214, 2020).
Where The Seahawks Stand
The Seahawks have in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf one of the best receiver duos in the NFL, and obviously that's a great place to start when it comes filling out a position group. But as good as Metcalf and Lockett are, that doesn't necessarily mean the Seahawks feel like they're set at receiver. In today's NFL, a third receiver is more or less a starting role, and as of now the Seahawks don't have an obvious frontrunner for that job with David Moore and Phillip Dorsett both leaving in free agency.
2020 sixth-round pick Freddie Swain showed a lot of promise last year and, as things stand now, he would likely be the favorite to win that spot, but that is definitely a position the Seahawks might want to add to in the draft. One thing the Seahawks could have going for them in their search for a No. 3 receiver, be it in the draft or in free agency, is the flexibility of Tyler Lockett. Lockett has played considerable snaps both as a slot receiver and at both outside receiver spots, so if the draft played out so that there was a great slot receiver available, the Seahawks could grab that player and mostly use Lockett on the outside, but if there was better value in adding an outside receiver, Lockett is comfortable working out of the slot as well.
The Seahawks won't lack for receiver depth in training camp, having also signed four players to future contracts, Penny Hart, Darvin Kidsy, Cody Thompson and 2019 draft pick John Ursua, but with only three receivers on the roster with significant playing times—Metcalf, Lockett and Swain—it would not be a surprise if the Seahawks look to add help there in the draft.
NFL.com's Top 5 Receivers
1. DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Overview (via NFL.com): While Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley is my NFL comparison for Smith, I feel like a better comp might be Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry. Like Curry, Smith is thinner than you'd like and isn't the strongest player, but he has rare quickness, speed, and change-of-direction fluidity, and he creates separation from defenders seemingly at will. He possesses an elite skill level for the position and can hit the defense from short, mid-range or deep. Smith has quietly been the most complete of the receivers at Alabama over the last two seasons and will give an NFL team the ability to mismatch him against the weak links either inside or outside in coverage. He's a detailed route runner with the athletic ability to really make them count, from a separation standpoint, and his ball skills are unquestioned. Smith has the football character, athletic gifts and upper-echelon skill level to become a long-time starter and Pro Bowl regular.
2. Ja'marr Chase, LSU
Overview (via NFL.com): We could sit here and talk about the marginal route-running issues or challenges getting off press. However, Chase is supremely talented as a ball winner and playmaker. After all, routes and release can be coached. He had some issues when Trevon Diggs and Cameron Dantzler gave hard jams to his release in 2019, so that will need to be addressed. His burst is effortless, which tends to catch coverage off guard when he really hits the vertical gas. His competitive nature and play strength simply act as multipliers for his outstanding ball skills. He hasn't played football since very early in 2020 and still has work to do, but he should be an early starter and a future Pro Bowler.
3. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Overview (via NFL.com): Thrilling, game-breaking talent who will come into the league as one of the fastest receivers to ever play the game. His whereabouts pre-snap and post-snap must be accounted for at all times. Despite his size, he's a legitimate outside option, thanks to his ability to not only take the top off the defense, but also go up and win 50-50 throws. Waddle's adept at working all three levels, so it will be tough for defenses to predict how offenses will utilize him, as he has the potential to post a higher catch volume in the right offense. Waddle can instantly upgrade a team's scoring potential, whether it's with the deep ball, the catch-and-run or as a return man.
4. Elijah Moore, Mississippi
Overview (via NFL.com): Ultra-competitive slot target with the talent and mindset to handle a heavy amount of targets and shine in the process. He's not very big, but he's stronger than his measurables might suggest and he's shown a fearlessness to make the catch despite impending punishment. Moore has the short-area quickness to snap off crisp routes underneath for separation and the play speed to challenge over the top as well as work the deep middle. He has soft, sure hands and above-average ball skills with a great feel for spatial awareness to hit the sweet spots when working against zone. While longer, more physical cornerbacks could slow him a little bit in the NFL, his athletic profile and playing demeanor should lead evaluators to believe he will be a very good pro early in his career.
5. Kadarius Toney, Florida
Overview (via NFL.com): Slot talent who competes like a player bigger than his listed size. Toney has battled injuries, which helped cap his production until the 2020 season, when it finally clicked for the entire offense. His routes can look like one-on-one isolation basketball moves at times, but he has the ability to make instant cuts and break his routes off sharply. He could become a much more creative and consistent route runner in due time. He's an atypical NFL slot in some ways and is likely to do his best work in a scheme that allows him plenty of run-after-catch opportunities. He'll need more polish but should contribute right away as a receiver and punt returner.
NFL.com's rankings of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.