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Can Doug Baldwin improve on an impressive rookie season?
Doug Baldwin; Phil Bates (R); Deon Butler; Kris Durham; Jermaine Kearse (R); Cameron Kenney; Ricardo Lockette; Charly Martin; Ben Obomanu; Sidney Rice; Golden Tate; Lavasier Tuinei (R).
Baldwin was the star of the NFL’s undrafted rookie class in 2011. He led Seattle with 51 catches for 788 yards and four touchdowns. Those were the best marks by an undrafted rookie receiver since 1960.
Rice battled concussions, knee injury and a shoulder injury last season after signing a five-year, $41 million free-agent contract. If he can stay healthy, he and Baldwin could comprise a decent duo.
Butler was a third-round pick in 2009 and could be in the mix if he’s fully healed from a broken leg. Obomanu has started six games each of the last two seasons and has been with the Seahawks ever since they took him in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. He had a career-best 37 receptions last season and has 83 catches for 1,151 yards and seven touchdowns over his career.
Seattle selected Tate in the second round of the 2010 draft, and he had an inconsistent rookie season. He rebounded well to start five games last year and finish with 35 catches for 382 yards and three scores. Tate’s career appears to be on the upswing, so it will be interesting to see how well he progresses in his third year.
The Seahawks did not draft a single receiver, but signed three free-agent rookies in Bates, Kearse and Tuinei. Bates, from Ohio University, has some versatility to play any of the receiver positions. Kearse (6’2”, 208) is a Washington native and went to college in Seattle at UW. He should be a local favorite following a pretty good college career.
Aside from having a really cool—and hard to spell— name, Tuinei has a lot of talent. He capped his college career at Oregon by being named the offensive MVP of the Rose Bowl. He’s 6’4” and 220 pounds and was one of Oregon’s primary red-zone targets, resulting in 10 touchdowns last season.
Durham was a fourth-round pick last year from Georgia and had three catches for 30 yards. Kenney, an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma last year, has decent size (6’1”, 199) and speed (4.5), but could just be a filling a camp roster spot. Martin is on his fourth team since going undrafted out of West Texas A&M in 2009. He has one career catch for six yards.
Lockette, undrafted from Fort Valley State in 2011, had just two catches last season, but wow, were they great grabs. He had a 44-yard catch on Christmas Eve last year before scoring on a 61-yard reception on New Year’s Day.