Predicting Seahawks' Key Stat Leaders for 2021 NFL SeasonMay 19, 2021
Predicting Seahawks' Key Stat Leaders for 2021 NFL Season
Russell Wilson finished seven yards shy of his career high in passing yards in 2020, but the season was viewed as a bit of a disappointment given the lack of protection he received in the pocket.
Wilson suffered 47 sacks one year after he was taken down on a league-high 48 occasions.
Seattle addressed the need to keep Wilson more upright in the pocket by adding Gabe Jackson in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.
If Wilson stays up in the pocket more, he has a chance to soar past his single-season high of 4,219 passing yards because of the offensive weapons he has and the 17th game added to the regular-season schedule.
The Seahawks gave Wilson another speedy wide receiver to work with by selecting D'Wayne Eskridge in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Eskridge is expected to receive a decent amount of attention in the passing game, but he probably will not come close to DK Metcalf's overall output.
Metcalf could challenge for the league lead in receiving yards if Wilson stays up in the pocket, and if he does that, the Seahawks should be in better shape to survive the NFC West gauntlet.
Wilson should break his single-season high in passing yards with the extra game added into the schedule.
He came close to reaching the mark set in 2016 last season, and he put up over 4,100 aerial yards in each of the last two seasons.
Wilson has been sacked at a high rate, which is something the Seahawks hoped to fix by adding more veteran offensive linemen to the fold.
Jackson is expected to be inserted at right guard to help tackles Duane Brown and Brandon Shell with protection of the quarterback.
When Wilson threw for 4,219 yards in 2016, he was sacked 41 times. That is the second-lowest single-season total in his career behind the 33 takedowns he suffered in 2012.
There may not be a drastic dip in sacks from the high 40s to low 30s, but the expectation is Wilson will have more time in the pocket in 2021.
The lack of protection was one of the factors that led Wilson to attempt 83 rushes in 2020, which was his highest total since 2017, when he carried the ball on 95 occasions.
If the protection gets better, Wilson's rushing totals should decrease as he tries to hit Metcalf, Eskridge and Tyler Lockett more in the passing game.
Stats Prediction: 4,300 passing yards, 40 touchdowns; 400 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
The stat possibilities are endless for Metcalf if he has a quarterback who stays up in the pocket and waits for him to burn defenders down the sidelines.
Metcalf brought in 83 receptions for 1,303 yards last season when Wilson was relentlessly pressured by opposing defenses.
If Jackson becomes one of the most important additions in the NFC West, Metcalf has the potential to soar past the 1,500-yard mark.
In his two NFL seasons, Metcalf has a 61.6 catch rate on 229 targets, and he has 15.6 yards per reception.
If Metcalf stretches out that average even by a few percentage points, he could be on pace to challenge the best wideouts in the league for the receiving title.
Metcalf's unique combination of speed and physicality should allow him to earn his second straight double-digit touchdown season. He has 17 end zone trips in his two-year career.
Everything is pointing to Metcalf increasing his totals in 2021, and if he does, he may be the top fantasy football wide receiver by the end of the year given his high volume potential.
Stats Prediction: 1,500 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns
Seattle can't do everything through the air on offense.
The Seahawks brought back Chris Carson in free agency to provide some balance to the offense.
Carson has Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas behind him on the depth chart, but none of them should challenge for the totals typically earned by starters.
In 2020, Carson saw his rushing totals dip because of a four-game injury absence. In the two seasons prior, Carson earned over 1,000 yards and over 80 rushing yards per game.
If he stays healthy and rebounds from the 681-yard season, Carson could achieve more success than he has had in a Seahawks uniform with Jackson blocking on the interior.
It is worth noting that both of Carson's 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020 occurred while Wilson suffered two of the highest sack totals in his career.
Carson may not experience a surge past his single-season career best of 1,230 yards set in 2019, but he has the potential to get back to the 1,000-yard mark if he is at 100 percent.
At some point, Seattle has to spell Carson with its stable of younger running backs, and if one emerges from the pack, he could take some carries away from the starter to ease his workload a bit.
Even if a complementary back does not emerge, do not expect a massive uptick in carries if Pete Carroll sticks with the same offensive approach. In 2020, the Seahawks threw the ball 152 more times than they ran it.
Stats Prediction: 1,110 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.