Seahawks roster battles: The final wide receiver spots

The Seahawks are likely to keep five wide receivers to start the 2021 season. The top three are probably set but who will be the last two kept? Seattle might even just keep one wideout, according to a projection from the Seattle Times earlier this offseason. That would be mean starting with nine players and cutting five.

For my intents here, though, I am going to stick with the Seahawks keeping five wide receivers. Last year, Seattle kept four tight ends quite a bit but this year I think they go with three so that would open a spot for the fifth receiver.

Seattle has definite top-end talent with Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Those guys clearly aren’t going anywhere. D’Wayne Eskridge was drafted this year with Seattle’s second round pick so he will likely be the starting third receiver. After that is anyone’s guess.

Who will fill out the Seahawks receiving room in 2021?

The case for Freddie Swain

Swain was a rookie for Seattle last year after being taken in the sixth round. He may have some skill as a kick returner too but he didn’t get to do that a ton last season. Plus, Seattle choosing Eskridge and Tre Brown, two players who can electrify on kickoff and punt returns, likely means Swain won’t be doing that.

Through the first nine games of 2020, Swain had 10 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. After week ten, though, Swain had just three catches for 25 yards in seven games. In five of those games, he did not have a catch.

Swain looks a bit like Lockett when he catches the ball, but he doesn’t have Lockett’s quickness (then again, who does?). But Swain showed a penchant for making some nice catches in tight spaces and that will help any quarterback in the NFL.

The case for Penny Hart

Hart hasn’t put up a lot of statistics as a receiver. But he has two things going in his favor. One is that he potentially is a very good special teamer, possibly even as the gunner who replaces Neiko Thorpe (Thorpe is still a free agent). Hart played 25 percent of the Seahawks special teams snap last year and if he makes the team that will go way up.

The second thing in Hart’s favor is that Pete Carroll raved about him at the end of minicamp. Carroll likes Hart’s “toughness” and when Carroll says that about a player that is a very good thing.

The case for John Ursua

Ursua is a bit of a strange one. Seattle keeps him around, mostly on the practice squad, but doesn’t seem to trust him in real games. Maybe Ursua is college-quick but not NFL-quick and struggles to get open? He does have good hands, though, so this would be a reason to keep him on the roster.

The new guys

The one issue Seattle has at receiver is that besides the hugeness of Metcalf, all the rest of the receivers are fairly small. This is a reason Tamorrion Terry could make the team as he is 6’3″ and 210 pounds with good speed. But there must be some reason that he went undrafted out of Florida State. Too many drops?

Cade Johnson, Cody Thompson and Connor Wedington would likely only make the roster at first as special teamers. Of the three, Johnson might have the best chance because he can potentially be a very good receiver as well as return kicks.

Prediction: Besides Lockett, Metcalf and Eskridge, I think Swain and Hart make the team while Johnson, Wedington and Terry are signed to the practice squad.