I usually like to bring a little evidence to back up what I write. There will be none of that here. I am here to tell you that Seahawks wide receiver Kevin Smith is going to play an integral role in how this season unfolds. Let me tell you a little bit about why.
Need a fourth receiver
With all due respect to Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett, any passing game requires a contribution from their fourth receiver. Seahawks fans have seen players ranging from Alex Bannister to D.J. Hackett to Ricardo Lockette play pivotal parts in the postseason. Defenses are confused right now by Seattle.
They don’t know what to make of this newfangled pocket passing offense that features quick throws and big gains. They are not sure how to adjust to the absence of Jimmy Graham, or how much attention they should pay to Tyler Lockett. Is Doug Baldwin a possession third down receiver or a Steve Smith deep threat? It is going to take some time for them to adjust, but they will.
Some of what is working now for Seattle will work less a few weeks from now. Defenses will start trying to take away Baldwin to make Russell Wilson go to his second read. They will soon find out that Lockett is just as big of a headache and will try to limit him as well. Expecting Luke Willson and Kearse to carry the load in those situations is probably not wise. They will certainly contribute, but reinforcements will have to arrive in the form of another receiving threat.
Smith is good, and he has “it”
Smith is 6’0″, a couple hundred pounds, and runs about a 4.5 40. Look up “average” in the NFL dictionary, and his picture will be smiling back at you. That is part of how he went undrafted. Here’s the thing, though: Smith is a darn good receiver.
He is quicker than he is fast, and runs crisp routes. He can play any of the receiver spots and has excellent hands. Smith has the ability to catch a contested pass, and is good running after the catch as well.
Some poor team is going to be super proud of their game plan heading into a matchup with the Seahawks, and be blindsided when the unaccounted for Smith whoops their fourth corner or a safety or a linebacker. Nobody here is claiming that Smith is the next coming of Jerry Rice, but he has more than enough talent and confidence to beat dime corners.
His best comparison might be Darrell Jackson. Jackson never overwhelmed anyone with his physical talents, but was a highly productive playmaker. Smith has that same something special about him. Where a guy like Kevin Norwood appeared to have the talent to be a decent NFL receiver, he was so understated in everything he did, it was easy to forget he was there. Watch a Seahawks practice and you will always know Smith is around. The guy just makes plays.
Should the Seahawks move on from Kearse next season, Smith will enter training camp with a legitimate shot to take over that role opposite Baldwin. For now, look for Smith to make a play (or five) that greatly impacts this Seahawks season.