Now that the DeSean Jackson drama is over, many teams are left looking the draft to fill out needy receiving cores. Even with Sidney Rice in the free agency mix, the Seattle Seahawks are one such team and of course the big names have been etched across the mock draft landscape for their next big star in the first round. Names such as Kelvin Benjamin, Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks lead a deep and talented class.
What happens if the Seahawks decide not to address the wide receiver position in that first or second round due to the guy they want not being there or simply deciding to fill other needs early on? What happens if, like last year and the year before, Pete Carroll and John Schneider just simply can’t pass up a guy at a position that nobody thinks is coming and they still need a receiver in the mid to late rounds? Or what if they see the chance to get a second guy they love later in the draft than expected?
A couple of guys already exist on the Seahawks that fit the bill of “sleeper” pretty darn well. Here’s some of my favorite sleepers of this season that that may not be seen as immediate helpers, but that I think could come in as a mid-round gem as and take the NFL by storm in Seattle.
Cody Hoffman – 6’4, 218 lbs – BYU Cougars
Hoffman was one of the most reliable receivers in BYU history and could fill an intriguing role in the Pete Carroll offense. He’s 6’4 and possesses terrific in-the-air ball skills. I watched this kid play a lot in college and if he can get some off-the-field issues in order he is definitely a guy who could emerge as one of the better receivers you never heard of (initially) in this class.
L’Damian Washington – 6’4, 195 – Missouri Tigers
Washington is a poor man’s Kelvin Benjamin. Ok, maybe a really poor man’s Kelvin Benjamin. While he is 4.46 fast and was extremely durable during his time at Mizzou, he lacks some of the intangibles that scouts like to see when it comes to adjusting to and catching the ball. “Despite being to really fast, he has small, skillet-type hands, looks unnatural adjusting to ball, the works”. But he played at a winning school with serious quarterback issues for most of his career and put up decent numbers in a CB-talent laden SEC, which leads me to believe he has something big to offer as at least a 4th or 5th option. Besides, the Seahawks could use another guy in the receiving corps that can come out with a big fat chip on his shoulder.
Dri Archer – 5’8, 173 lbs -Kent State Golden Flashes
4.26. That’s the only number most of us know from the blazing 40 at the Combine. You should also know that Archer tallied over 3,500 total yards from scrimmage (2,342 rushing and 1,194 receiving) and 36 touchdowns in his career at KSU. Of course those numbers do not include his 4 kickoff return touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons, spanning a total of only 18 attempts. This kid basically has Percy Harvin and Dexter McCluster written all over him. We know Pete loves small-school kids that come to compete and bring natural raw ability and multiple talents to the table.
Jeff Janis – 6’3, 219 lbs – Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
Not one of my favorite sleepers, but these small-school kids rarely are. Janis tallied some incredible numbers (though against inferior competition) with back-to-back 1,500 yard-plus seasons. Going back to Pete Carroll’s first four drafts, we know that Janis will get a really good look from Seattle. Whether that ends in a pick or not is anyone’s guess, but if the talent is there in a small-school kid, the Seahawks are one of the few teams that are a pretty good lock not to have overlooked it. In all reality, the ideal situation for Janis to the Seahawks is as a UFA.
Cody Latimer – 6’3, 215 lbs – Indiana Hoosiers
Latimer is basically a carbon copy of someone I mentioned earlier, Cody Hoffman, but even more of a carbon copy to a Seahawk we know well, Sidney Rice. The difference between himself and Hoffman is he put up similar numbers (72 catches for 1,096 yards as a junior last season) against far better talent on a weekly basis and had he been in a smaller conference probably could’ve put up much better numbers still. The only real problem with Latimer is that he’s known for drop issues, which is what’s been so frustrating to Seahawk fans about Rice when he’s been healthy. Basically I see a very similar player here. The Seahawks worked Latimer out privately within the last couple of weeks.