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With an Abundance of Young WR’s, Seattle’s Decision is Easier Than You Expect

Heading into the 2009 season, the Seahawks face an entirely different situation at the wide receiver position than the team did throughout the 2008 season.

Depth.

Seattle knows who its starters will be: Deion Branch, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson.

Coming in as the fourth receiver, but also seeing time at the third receiver spot is rookie Deon Butler. Butler, taken in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft, was a standout at Penn State. He set the career receptions record, breaking Bobby Engram’s mark of 167 balls caught. Did I mention Butler runs a 4.3 40-yard dash?

Although teams sometimes carry six wideouts, I hardly think Seattle is in the position to do so this year because of the need to carry additional players at other positions due to injuries.

Thus, the Seahawks have six players battling it out for one spot. For those keeping score at home they would be: Jordan Kent, Logan Payne, Mike Hass, Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor and Michael Bumpus.

Normally a team asks a fifth wide receiver to contribute to its return game; this would give Courtney Taylor the edge…normally.

Same thing could be said for second-year receiver Michael Bumpus.

If I had to pick between the two, I’d give the edge to Taylor because he’s been on the team longer and has physical advantages in both height and weight over the former Washington State Cougar.

However, I don’t have to pick between the two. The Seahawks have Justin Forsett, Nate Burleson and Deon Butler to return kicks, thus eliminating the need for an additional return man.

So, scratch both Taylor and Bumpus off the list.

Mike Hass is a rookie free agent out of Oregon State. He was brought in to help fill out the mandatory 80-man training camp roster. If he makes the team at all, it’ll be on the practice squad.

With Bumpus and Hass eliminated, that leaves three.

At 6-foot-2, Logan Payne is one of the tallest of the bunch, but he just drops way too many passes for my liking. When I went to the team’s Tuesday night practice on August 18, I wrote down Payne’s name a few times for dropping easy passes. At least one of them came during a one-vs.-air drill, where he literally is out there in the imaginary secondary by himself.

Sorry Logan, you drop the ball too often so I’m dropping you.

It’s now down to Ben Obomanu and Jordan Kent.

Obomanu enters his fourth year in the NFL. He has decent height at six feet. There’s not much more about him though. He’s not flashy. He’s not sure-handed. He just flat out doesn’t do anything for me.

The player that does do something for me is Kent.

Kent was a standout in track at the University of Oregon. He ran the 400 meter dash so fast that, if he were to have focused primarily on it, he could have had a professional future in the sprinting event.

He has good hands from playing a little basketball for the Ducks as well. Because he played basketball at such a high level, he can use take that experience and knowledge of how to control one’s body on the court and translate it onto the gridiron.

Kent also played some football at Oregon. While still raw as a wide receiver for the Ducks, he was a scoring threat.

At 6-foot-4, the former three-sport collegiate athlete might be the greenest at the wide receiver position out of the six fighting for Seattle’s fifth wide receiver spot, but that’s changing.

At the team’s Tuesday August 18 night practice, Kent made numerous great catches. Repeatedly, his quarterbacks sent him deep, both in coverage and in one-vs.-air drills, and the third-year wideout extended to make the catch. Later that night, Kent showed off his leaping ability in the red zone when his number was called and he had to go up top in traffic to haul in a pass that was thrown in such a way that only he could come down with the football.

If Kent doesn’t make the opening day 53-man roster and gets released, another team will pick him up before Seattle will be able to place him on its practice squad. He’s just too good of a player to not get picked up by another club.


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