Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier (95) rushes the passer during a game against the Falcons on Sep. 27, 2019, in Atlanta. (Michael Zarrilli/AP Images for Panini)

Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier (95) rushes the passer during a game against the Falcons on Sep. 27, 2019, in Atlanta. (Michael Zarrilli/AP Images for Panini)

Seahawks hope for sophomore surge from 2019 draft

Seattle is hoping for more from its 2019 draft picks in Year 2

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

The only questions for Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf entering his second season in the NFL are the fun kind — “Are, say, 70 catches and 1,000 or more yards realistic?”

That might be realistic if the Seahawks make good on the promise Pete Carroll made in a Zoom session with reporters this week that “we hope to use him more than ever.”

The questions facing the other 10 members of the Seahawks’ 2019 draft class, though, are a little more varied.

Other than Metcalf, the Seahawks got just six starts out of the 10 other rookies on the roster last season. The other 10 draft picks accounted for 706 total snaps, fewer than Metcalf’s 927.

Seattle’s total rookie snap count of 1,722 last season, which includes undrafted Bryan Mone, was fewer than all but five other teams in 2019 (the Dolphins led the NFL in snaps by rookies last year at 6,551).

That’s not necessarily an indictment on 2019 class as the Seahawks won 11 games last season with a roster that was the 10th-oldest in the NFL, according to FootballOutsiders.com.

But in Year 2, the hope will be that a few more members of the Class of 2019 will begin to establish themselves as legitimate and potentially long-term contributors.

Here’s a look at each 2019 draftee who remains on the team (Seattle waived receiver Gary Jennings, a fourth-round pick, at midseason and Miami claimed him) and a thought on their potential role this season:

Defensive end L.J. Collier

The No. 29 overall pick a year ago, Collier played just 152 snaps in 2019 after missing much of training camp due to a sprained ankle. Both Carroll and general manager John Schneider have voiced strong votes of confidence that Collier will show vast improvement in Year 2, and he’ll get every chance to win the starting job at strongside defensive end.

Defensive back Marquise Blair

The hard-hitting second-round pick out of Utah won’t be a starter at safety after the trade for Jamal Adams. But he will get a chance to feature prominently in the nickel package. Whether that’s enough of a role for a player who was the 47th overall pick a year ago can be debated. But if he can pull it off it would be a big boon to a defense that last year struggled in the nickel. He played 230 snaps last year, second among Seattle rookies after Metcalf.

Wide receiver DK Metcalf

His ascension and Tyler Lockett’s career-best season in 2019 means Seattle enters 2020 with a 1-2 receiver tandem up there with the best in the NFL.

Linebacker Cody Barton

Where Barton fits in to the linebacker corps after the Seahawks drafted Jordyn Brooks and signed Bruce Irvin is another intriguing question of camp. Logically, he figures to be a backup, able to play inside and outside if needed. He played 151 snaps last season, third among rookies after Metcalf and Collier.

Guard Phil Haynes

Haynes played only in the playoffs last season after having offseason sports hernia surgery. But he impressed in the offseason program a year ago and he will compete with veteran Mike Iupati for the starting left guard spot.

Defensive back Ugo Amadi

Amadi played 76 regular-season snaps, primarily as a nickel corner, and will now battle with Blair to win that job permanently this year, or maybe share the position if the Seahawks decide to go with multiple nickel packages.

Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven

The former UW standout played four snaps on defense last season and projects this year as a backup at the inside spots and a core special teamer.

Running back Travis Homer

The addition of Carlos Hyde logically consigns Homer to a depth/situational role at tailback, possibly earning some time in the third-down/two-minute package. He’ll also again be a core special teamer.

Defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas

A sixth-round pick out of Florida State, Christmas missed last season with a back injury. Conventional wisdom is that the Seahawks may add a veteran defensive tackle before the season, which would make it tough for Christmas to make the roster. But the expansion of the practice squad to 16 would figure to mean he’d stick around in some capacity. Because he missed last season, it’s hard to know where he fits in.

Wide receiver John Ursua

Ursua played 11 snaps a year ago with one memorable catch against the 49ers in the season finale. He’ll compete for a spot in the receiver rotation working out of the slot. But that spot got more competitive in the offseason when the Seahawks signed free agent Phillip Dorsett and drafted Freddie Swain out of Florida. But as with Christmas, the expanded practice squad means he’ll almost certainly hang around, assuming he’d pass through waivers.

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