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Is Baldwin Already The #2 Receiver


Before week 1’s game against the 49ers, I made what I thought was a fairly bold prediction that undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin would take over as the team’s #3 receiver and would take the place of Ben Obomanu. At the time, I actually thought that Baldwin would make Obomanu expendable, and that this end up being his last season as a Seahawk.

Well, it didn’t take very long for that to happen. In week 3, Baldwin was on the field for for almost 3 times as many snaps as Obomanu, so it’s clear that Baldwin is already #3 on the depth chart. The thing is, it might not be Obomanu that becomes expendable after this season. Mike Williams might be the guy who ends up unemployed.

Before last week’s game against the Giants, I read an article by Bob Sando over at ESPN. He was making case that Seahawks offense should be better able to handle the loss of Mike Williams this season as compared to last season. He’s clearly right, and he included this table of snaps played in his article:

In week 3, Baldwin was on the field almost as much as the 2 starters. In week 4, Baldwin was actually on the field more that Williams. Part of that was because Williams ended up with a concussion late in the game and had leave the game, but the number of snaps for each players was fairly even before that.

One of the problems the Seahawks have had offensively has been the lack of production by Mike Williams. A lot of that has to do with Tarvaris Jackson not looking his way very often, but it is also partly because of Williams’ inability to get separation. In 4 games so far this season, Williams has just 8 receptions for 79 yards.

This past week against the Giants, with Williams still out from his concussion, Baldwin excelled in the roll as the team’s #2 receiver. With the Giants double teaming Sydney Rice, Baldwin provided consistent production all game. He was the team’s leading receiver, finishing with 8 catches for 136 yards.

In fact, at this point in the season Baldwin is the Seahawks’ most productive receiver. He leads the team in both receptions (20), yards (33), and receiving touchdowns (2). He is on pace to finish with over 1000 yards on the season. It’s hard to argue with Baldwin’s consistent production. Of his 20 receptions, 18 have gone for either a first down or a touchdown.

While I expect Mike Williams to be given every opportunity this year to show he’s still a part of this team’s future, it isn’t out of the question that he might end up taking a back seat at times to Baldwin as this season progresses. If that happens, Pete Carroll and John Schneider might decide that William’s isn’t worth the price of his contract.