Monday, May 16, 2011

SEAHAWKS: State of the Wide Receivers

(This is the third installment of our "State of the Seahawks" series. Check out the state of the quarterbacks and running backs)

In a span of 12 months, the Seahawks receiving core has gone from a wimpy group consisting of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, and a couple inexperienced rookies to an intimidating force.

Wait… what?

Yeah, you heard me. Thanks to Pete Carroll’s extraordinary ability to get the most out of his players, the Seahawks now have a solid wide receiver group consisting of giants.

To Continue...

• Mike Williams: 6-5, 235 lbs
• Ruvell Martin: 6-4, 220 lbs (free agent, played with team last year)
• Kris Durham: 6-5, 215 lbs (rookie)
• Ben Obomanu: 6-1, 214 lbs
• Brandon Stokley 6-0, 192 lbs (free agent, played with team last year)
• Golden Tate: 5-10, 202 lbs
• Deon Butler: 5-10, 182 lbs

Matt Hasselbeck is drooling.

Any wide receiver above 6-1 is considered tall. The Seahawks have FOUR of those! (depending on whether Martin will be re-signed, which I believe he will) The headliner of the group is Mike Williams, who absolutely abused defensive backs last year with his 6-5, 235 pound frame.

To put the incredible height of the Seahawks’ pass catchers in perspective, here’s how the Hawk’s height matches up against their NFC West rival’s tallest defensive backs.

Arizona: Kerry Rhodes, 6-3, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, 6-2
San Francisco: Taylor Mays, 6-3, Curtis Taylor, 6-2
St. Louis: James Butler, 6-3, Quincy Butler, 6-1

If I’m Pete Carroll and the Seahawks are inside the 10-yard line, I send out Williams, Martin, and Durham and tell Matt Hasselbeck to lob it up to one of these guys in the back of the end zone. No NFC West foe has a 6-4 defensive back, so it would be a mismatch.

But with all this height, are the Seahawks lacking in speed?

No, not at all.

Deon Butler and 2010 2nd round draft pick Golden Tate lack height, but both make up for that fact with their blazing speed. Butler ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the 2009 NFL combine, while Tate ran a 4.42. Both very fast times.

Butler is also a good route runner and has that unique quickness that makes him hard to cover. Tate is still learning how to run routes, but has incredible hops and ball skills. Tate is also has a solid build being 202 lbs, so he doesn’t get pushed around as often as you would think.

None of the taller wide receivers are as fast as Tate or Butler, but none of them are slugs.

Before the 2010 season, I was unsure about our wide receiver situation. It actually got to the point where I said we should sign Terrell Owens. Silly me.

But now, I’m confident about our wide receiver corps. Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, and Golden Tate will be here at least for the next 3 years, so look for the group to only get better.

The only question now is this: Who will be throwing to these guys?

Here’s my predicted wide receiver lineup for the 2011 season:

Starting left: Mike Williams
Starting right: Ben Obomanu
Slot: Deon Butler
WR 3: Golden Tate
WR 4: Ruvell Martin
Bench: Durham

(Note: I don’t believe Stokley will be back. If he does get re-signed, I'd imagine he would replace Butler at the slot.)

Reach Nathan Parsons at