The offseason departure of Golden Tate isn’t the only change fans will notice amongst the Seattle Seahawks receiving corps this year. Two rookie draft picks will also be vying for significant opportunities this summer: Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood. Richardson represents a traditional vertical threat with speed to burn. Norwood, on the other hand, is the player most likely to fill Tate’s shoes in the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle drafted Norwood in the fourth round from the University of Alabama. In most other draft classes, he could have easily been a second-round draft pick with his abilities. He has great hands and at 6-foot-2 is a terrific route-runner, making him more of a possession-type receiver than Richardson. Plus – similar to Tate – Norwood has the uncanny ability to separate from coverage at the most opportune moments (just ask LSU).
While it remains to be seen how quickly Norwood can adapt to a new offensive system, many draft pundits have already pegged him as an excellent value pick for the Seahawks. The general consensus around the league is that Norwood was simply overlooked in what already appears to be a terrific receiver class.
However, his reputation is based entirely on his “clutch” catches. His final year he managed only 461 yards and four touchdowns but averaged an impressive 15.9 yards per catch. Throughout his career, Norwood has made spectacular plays regardless of his status in Alabama’s pecking order – he was the No. 2 receiver to Amari Cooper – or their desire to run the football. By the time he left, he had become the perennial safety blanket for Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron.
Norwood will certainly have his hands full in Seattle, though. He will be competing against veterans Sidney Rice, Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin as well as fellow rookie Richardson for playing time. Furthermore, Seattle has a track record of taking time to develop their receivers under head coach Pete Carroll. After all, it was Tate himself who had trouble getting on the field early in his career. It would not be shocking to see Norwood go through similar difficulties despite his immense talent. However, only time will tell.