I apologize for being a few days late about responding to this most recent signing. The Covid 19 shelter in has been a major impact in my life, like I am sure it has for anyone else who reads this little blog. However, given a few days since this signing has afforded me some deeper thoughts on it (head’s up; I really like this move).
Here are my thoughts.
Russell Wilson wants “stars” but does John Schneider?
During the Pro Bowl last January, Russell Wilson dropped a minor bombshell during an interview by saying that he wanted to see his team add stars during free agency. It was a out of character thing for Russ to do, but you could understand it. The 2019 Seahawks relied heavily on journeyman talent on both sides of the ball, from tight end and receiver depth, to defensive line and into the secondary. Still they managed to win eleven games and were one inch away against the San Francisco 49ers at home from winning twelve and the division. Had Seattle had better options at rush end, better coverage players at the back end of the defense, and more play-making options on the offense, Seattle could have had home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Thus far, general manager John Schneider hasn’t really brought in any “stars” to the team. At least, he hasn’t brought in any A-Listers. At best, I think we can say that tight end Greg Olsen, rush end Bruce Irvin, cornerback Quinton Dunbar, offensive guard Chance Warmack, offensive tackle Brandon Shell, and now recently added receiver Phillip Dorsett are all recognizable names in the league. A few of them are former first round picks, and a couple of them have been quality starters. At this point, Dunbar is probably the one addition that has the greatest chance of being a true star in this league moving forward, but at best, I think we can call this a collection of B-list talent.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with quality B list talent. Some of my favorite Hollywood actors are B-Listers, and there is every chance that a B-Lister can become an A-Lister once given the right opportunity (see how Quentin Tarantino resurrected John Travolta’s career out of the gutter after casting brilliantly him in Pulp Fiction). An argument could be made for each of these recently acquired players that Seattle is a great opportunity for them to have big impacts, as they are all players filling big needs for the club.
Most of these signings are also talents who were productive players in 2019, and Dorsett is no exception. With the Covid 19 pandemic likely to take away off-season training programs for all NFL teams, my hunch is that John Schneider is looking to add as much proven veteran talent as he can get to stay ahead of the competitive curve once preseason practice is allowed in August. 2020 very well might not be the year for a true contending team to rely on a handful of rookie players to make an impact. They will have no mini camps to soak in the playbooks, get acquainted with established players, and they will be forced to learn on the fly once Summer training camp begins.
So, in short, instead of signing a few big name A-List star players, Schneider is searching for short term value on the veteran market, and he is looking for them in high volume. In my opinion, given the circumstances, this is not a bad idea at all, and I’m sure Russ understands.
What does Phillip Dorsett add to the offense?
In a word, speed, and lots of it.
By adding Dorsett, and assuming he wins the third receiver role, Seattle will boast one of the fastest three receiver sets in the league when he is matched with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. They now have three legit pass catchers who can all take the top off the defense, and his skill set is probably a great match for the offense that Seattle likes to run.
Dorsett is a good route runner, and while he is a smaller player at 5-10 and 190 pounds, he is a capable blocker during run plays. Because he is more polished that David Moore, Seattle can also probably use more motion plays when in three receiver sets by either placing him or Lockett in the slot and moving them around. This could open up both the passing, and the run game with more jet sweep possibilities.
Dorsett also has familiarity with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer when Schotty was the quarterback’s coach in Indianapolis. He also played college ball in Miami with Jake Heaps who one of Russell’s best friends, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Russell had good intell from Heaps on what kind of player and teammate Dorsett is. It was rumored right before free agency began that Dorsett would be a target for the team.
In reality, though, I think Dorsett is most likely a quality veteran hedge for receiver that Seattle will likely take in the draft in April. The 2020 draft class is widely considered historically deep, and the safe bet is that Seattle will select of these pass catchers at some point in the draft, and possibly a couple of them. With Dorsett on the team, there will be no need to rush an rookie along in a condensed training camp situation. They could afford to red shirt a player with major upside.
In multiple ways, this was a sharp signing for Seattle. I really dig it.
Further thoughts about how Covid 19 will impact the Seahawk offseason
The more this pandemic sits with me, the more I realize that 2020 is probably not the year for a contending team to rely on a bunch of rookies. Thus, I would not be surprised at all if we see Seattle trading away 2020 picks for proven NFL players on reasonable deals sitting on other NFL rosters. I think this could especially be the case for the defensive line and fixing the pass rush.
This 2020 class is not regarded as a great class at defensive line, especially at defensive end. There is a chance Seattle might be able to land a decent defensive tackle prospect with their first pick, but they would probably have to use that pick on one if they wanted to land one. By the time they select on the back end of round two, they might have been all scooped up.
Thus, I think it is very possible that we could see Seattle trading day two or day three picks for veteran players to match with Jarran Reed, Rasheem Green and Bruce Irvin, especially if they are unable to reach a deal with Jadeveon Clowney and have to settle for players such as Benson Mayowa. Teams that they could likely make deals with are teams that will not go into the 2020 season as true contenders, but are building for the long term and want picks.
Looking over other NFL rosters, it is interesting to me that teams like the Giants, the Jets, the Raiders, the Bears and Washington all have somewhat log jams at defensive tackle types. It’s possible that Seattle could look to improve their pass rush by adding more interior pass rush to go along with Jarran Reed, and thus take pressure off of rush ends. As there is a dearth of rush end talent in the league, more teams seem to be doing this.
There’s a few rush end types on building clubs that Seattle could target as well. Let’s remember that one of the first moves John Schneider made as the team’s new GM in 2010 was trading as mid round pick for defensive end Chris Clemons, who at the time was definitely not considered A-List talent in the league. That move became a hugely beneficial one for the club heading into the Super Bowl seasons.
This is just stuff to keep in mind as we head into April. If Seattle lands a quality veteran defensive end and defensive tackle through trades, or free agency, they will be better in position to take advantage of the true areas of talent in this draft class, which is receiver, running back, and offensive line. If Seattle wants to fulfill Russell’s request for stars, reaching on a defensive lineman with their first pick is probably not the best move to make. Taking an explosive offensive playmaker is.
Stay safe out there friends, and go Hawks!