With Dee Eskridge suspended for the first six games of the season, the Seattle Seahawks need more second-tier wide receivers to step up. There's certainly a lot of competition at the spot, but I believe Jake Bobo will make the most of his opportunity.
It's important to address the bigger off-field issue first. At least, it is to me. It took me far too long to even write the headline for this article. I didn't want to couch it in terms of making the most of an opportunity. Yes, we are talking about an on-field opportunity, but a man has put his family's life in turmoil. As you all know, Dee Eskridge has been suspended by the league. As reported by Brady Henderson for espn.com, Eskridge was arrested on a domestic violence charge in February of this year. He's entered therapy and will be eligible to return to the team for the game against the Browns. We wish Eskridge and his family the best.
That being said, I write about football, not so much about social issues. So let's focus on that, shall we? Eskridge will miss at least the first six games of the season, and as much as Pete Carroll and Geno Smith have praised his performance in camp this year, I just don't care that much. He's had great camps before, then puts together a season with seven catches and a couple of jet sweeps. His entire career stat line after two seasons: 17 receptions for122 yards and one score, six runs for 69 yards, and nine kick returns for 204 yards. His production from the line of scrimmage looks like a decent game from DK Metcalf. You know, another second-round pick. I agree with Lee Vowell that the Hawks should just cut Eskridge. Okay, they might as well keep him until he's eligible to return, as he doesn't count against the roster. But the most important ability is availability, and he's rarely available. The real problem is that when he is, he does so little with his opportunities.
Jake Bobo will produce for the Seahawks
While Eskridge is out, other players have the chance to step up and prove they belong. After all, someone has to be the fourth wide receiver. Dareke Young was the front-runner for the spot until what has been variously reported as a sports hernia or abdominal injury occurred. The projection for Young's return ranges from day-to-day to several weeks. Cody Thompson saw a lot snaps with the first team in the Seahawks mock game and looked pretty good. But in two seasons in Seattle he's seen exactly zero targets in the regular season.
Sure, there are other players that could step up as well, but my money is on Jake Bobo. No, he didn't stand out at the NFL combine. At 6'4" and 215 pounds (he's added a few pounds since the combine), Bobo has great size for the position. What he doesn't have is great speed. His 4.99 40 time and yes, that's four-point-nine-nine, was slower than some offensive linemen. So how does he fit in with the Seahawks, or any NFL team, for that matter? Listen, Michael Bumpus thinks he fits. But let's investigate further.
He fits in because he can play. In his senior season at UCLA he had 57 catches for 817 yards and seven scores. Almost 80 percent of his catches went for first downs, a ridiculously good rate. For comparison, Tyler Locket moves the chains on 59 percent of his catches, and we all know how clutch he is. Yes, you throw the ball where it has to be thrown where you can make the first down.
This tells me that UCLA knew they could count on Bobo to make the catch. I think his collegiate passer rating when targeted of 112. 4 shows he can do the job. Oh, and as a senior that rate jumped to 126.5. Yeah, UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson was excellent, but his overall passer rating of 108.3 isn't in the same area code as when he threw to Jake Bobo.
Bobo had seven catches for 74 yards and a TD in the mock game, easily leading all Seahawks receivers. No, he isn't going to win a footrace with DK; heck, he probably wouldn't win a race against Abe Lucas (seeing that Lucas ran a 4.92 compared to Bobo's 4.99, no, he wouldn't). But there's a lot more than speed when it comes to playing wide receiver in the NFL. We all remember Cyril Grayson, right,12s? He ran a 4.33, which is, oh, really fast.
But - well, as I said, there's more to the game than speed. So who would you rather have running routes this fall? I know who I want coming off the bench. The guy who can make plays, and that's Jake Bobo.