January 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) during the first half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Doug Baldwin was visibly upset after the Seahawks 28-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. As usual, Angry Doug talked with reporters with a huge chip on his shoulder. He cited how people from ESPN and others doubted Seattle’s ability to come through in crunch time.
“When people doubted us, we just needed to believe in ourselves,” Baldwin said simply.
And while I greatly appreciate Baldwin’s comments he needs to admit that the Green Bay Packers exposed Seattle’s need for more threats at the wide receiver position.
In the first three quarters of the game, both Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse caught a severe case of the dropsies. Two of Kearse’s drops led to Green Bay interceptions and in fact, Wilson threw an interception every time he targeted Kearse until he threw the decisive touchdown pass to Kearse in overtime.
When the Seattle Seahawks went down 16-0 due to the four first half turnovers, it became clear that it was going to be very difficult for the Seahawks to score points quickly. Thankfully, Marshawn Lynch came through for the Hawks on critical third down situations, but Seattle could do much more with a Julio Jones/Larry Fitzgerald type of threat on the outside.
Doug Baldwin led the Seahawks in receiving with 106 yards, while Kearse caught the game-winning 35-yard strike from Wilson. While those numbers are not bad, both Kearse and Baldwin showed an inability to create separation against Green Bay cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams (until the fourth quarter and overtime).
That’s a huge problem if the Seahawks want to continue building their dynasty.
Star running back Lynch could reportedly leave Seattle in the offseason due to contract and health issues, which would leave Seattle’s offense in a state of flux. Wilson is reportedly going to become the highest paid quarterback in the league after this season (along with Andrew Luck), and needs weapons to surround him, especially if Beast Mode decides to retire.
So how can the Seahawks fix their wide receiver problem?
The first way is obviously through the draft, which is how Seattle has built most of their current roster.
The 2015 wide receiver class is decently deep compared to other years, but the dropoff from the top prospect, Amari Cooper, to the rest of the field is quite sizable. With the Seahawks drafting at the back end of both the first and second rounds, they would probably be able to get a player like Jaelen Strong of ASU, Dorial Green-Beckham of Oklahoma or the electrifying Sammie Coates from Auburn.
While this may be a good option for the Seahawks in the long term, Seattle should be looking to build their team so that it has the best chance to succeed in the next few years.
That is why the Seahawks should look to the 2015 free agent class for their next number one target. According to overthecap.com, Seattle will have about $25 million in cap space for the 2015 offseason, which gives the Seahawks the financial flexibility to make a play for one of the upper-mid-tier receivers.
For me, two names that jump of the screen are Philadelphia Eagle Jeremy Maclin and Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith.
In Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense, Maclin caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards and an additional 10 scores. Smith had a down year, but was still able to rack up 45 catches for 767 yards and 11 TDs.
Quite frankly, I don’t care what the Seahawks do to bolster one of the team’s weaker units. But I know it will get done this offseason.
In Pete Carroll and John Schneider I trust.