There are some players whose talent transcends their surroundings and situation (Adrian Peterson). Unfortunately for 99% of players that is not the case. That's where the Talent, Situation and Opportunity Report comes in. The TSO Report puts an individual under the microscope and analyzes that player through three different lenses to determine their fantasy outlook:
Talent: What does the player bring to the table? Do they have any trump cards? Will an area of weakness prevent the player from reaching their potential?
Situation: Will the player be used correctly? Are they an integral part of a good offense? Do they fit the offensive scheme well? Is the arrow pointing up or down for the offense?
Opportunity: Where do they sit on the depth chart? Do they have a role carved out in their offense? Are they stuck behind an elite talent?
Name: Tyler Lockett
Weight: 182 LBS
College: Kansas State
Drafted: 3rd Round, 69th Overall by Seattle in 2015
Experience: 2nd Season
2015 Season Stats: 51 Rec, 69 Targets, 664 Yards, 13.0 YPC, 6 TD, KOR TD, PR TD
The Seahawks gave up a bundle of picks in the 2015 NFL Draft (3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th) in order to move up in the 3rd round to select the dynamic Wide Receiver and Return Specialist out of Kansas State. Lockett's game changing talent was apparent from the get-go as he took a kickoff return to the house in his first preseason game. This was a sign of things to come, as Lockett was a spark plug and momentum changer throughout his rookie season for the Seahawks.
Lockett's game is built off his quickness, speed and vision. These traits are best on display when Lockett is flipping field position as a return specialist. In the regular season, Lockett returned both a kickoff and punt for touchdowns, which led to him being named 1st Team All Pro as a kick returner.
Weighing 182 lbs soaking wet, Lockett is able to win as a wide receiver due to his precise and sharp route running, paired along with his sudden burst and 4.40 speed. Due to his nuance as a route runner Lockett is able to gain separation against defensive backs, often for big plays deep down the field.
This offseason Lockett has worked with teammate Doug Baldwin on his releases from the line of scrimmage. Reflecting on his rookie season, Lockett was recently quoted as saying, “I felt like off-the-line I was a C." Coming out of school many draft analysts, myself included, questioned Lockett's ability to consistently beat tight physical coverage, which he didn't see much of in the Big 12. Seeing as he's already putting in the work to prefect that aspect of route running while being able to go up against Richard Sherman on a daily basis in practice I'm excited to see what the already special teams maven can develop into as a wide receiver.
Fans have been quick to throw out Antonio Brown comparisons after watching Lockett this past season but we need to pump the breaks on that for the time being. I see Lockett developing into the likes of a TY Hilton, Brandin Cook and John Brown. Which is great company to be a part of.
Lockett has drawn praise from Seahawks personnel from the day they traded up to acquire him. Entering his second season his role is only going to continue to grow. Lockett has the #2 WR job locked down, opposite Doug Baldwin, and there is growing optimism that the Seahawks will turn to a more pass oriented approached with the Beast Mode era now in the rear-view mirror.
Seeing how Russell Wilson finished up last season it would be hard not to put more weight on Wilson's arm and legs. Take a peak at the numbers below and realize that Wilson accomplished this without Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls for the majority of these games.
Russell Wilson's Last 7 Regular Season Games of 2015: 71% Comp%, 1,906 Yards, 24 TD , 1 INT, 132.8 QB Rating, 198 Rushing Yards, TD
The Seahawks shifted towards a quick passing game, funneling touches to their playmakers and allowing them to work in space paired with the occasionally deep shot to talents like Baldwin, Lockett or Kearse. Wilson's incredible efficiency and ability to thrive in chaos gels well with a player of Lockett's talent; who is nearly impossible to cover when a play breaks from it's design and turns into school yard football.
Russell Wilson has long been recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in the league but until the second half of last season he's never quite put up the counting numbers of the likes of Brees, Brady and Rodgers.
Taking a deeper dive into the Seahawks offense there are still concerns over what the Offensive Line will amount too. It was one of the worst in the NFL for stretches last season and they lost two starters in Free Agency. JR Sweezy bolted for Tampa Bay and Russell Okung signed with Denver. With even more glaring holes in an already terrible unit he Seahawks invested heavily in the offensive line in the draft selecting Germain Ifedi in the 1st Round and Rees Odhiambo in the 3rd. Both are seen more as projects than plug and play material. It will be interesting to see how the position battles all shake out in training camp.
The Seahawks also compiled a trio of running backs to compete with Rawls and demigod, Christine Michael. The most intriguing player of the backs taken is CJ Procise, who is a WR turned RB. Procise should fill the role of Fred Jackson in the passing game (41 targets, 32 receptions in 2015) with the opportunity to become an exciting every down back if Rawls is unable to recover from his broken ankle.
Russell Wilson passing attempts have increased every single season he's been in the NFL. Considering that Lockett will likely be the #2 WR in this offense his target total and role in the offense will increase by default.
So who does Lockett have to compete with for targets? Doug Baldwin led the team in targets with 103, former All-Pro TE Jimmy Graham came in 2nd with 71, Lockett was 3rd with 69 barely edging out veteran Jermaine Kearse with 68.
Breaking it down further to Red Zone targets Doug Baldwin again led the pack with 17. Graham and Kearse tied with 9 and Lockett compiled a measly 4.
Now regression will come into play this season for Doug Baldwin and the status of Graham is unclear, so Red Zone targets will get shuffled around but when you understand how Seattle used Lockett the total from last season makes sense. Obviously Lockett made plenty of plays downfield but on a route to route basis he was used primarily in the short passing game. Simple quick hitting routes such as slants, flares and bubble screens.
One of the biggest stories this offseason for Seattle is the status of Jimmy Graham, who is recovering from rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee in Week 11 of last season. This is one of the toughest injuries to come back from. Victor Cruz for example hasn't seen the field since tearing his patellar tendon in early October of 2014. So it's no sure bet that Graham is back on the field to start the season and if he does see game action how effective he'll be. With that being said it's imperative we take a look to see how the offense functioned without Graham and what that may mean for Lockett.
In the 5 games after Graham went down Lockett averaged: 6.4 Targets Per Game, 4.6 Rec, 63.6 Yards, 3 TD
If you extrapolate that to a 16 game season Lockett's numbers would be: 102 Targets, 73 Rec, 1,018 Yards, 9 TD
In other words these are similar to Doug Baldwin's 2015 season (103 Targets, 78 Rec, 1,069 Yards, 14 TD) with TD regression.
Another name to keep in the back of your mind is Paul Richardson, the former 2nd round pick in 2014. He missed nearly all of 2015 due to a torn ACL and could have a role in the WR corps this coming year.
As a rookie Lockett was eased in his role as a starting WR and still put up 51 Receptions, 664 Yards and 6 TD. Those numbers should be seen as his absolute baseline and I think his sophomore season will end up comparing similarly to that of John Brown's. Think something along the lines of 65 Receptions, 1,000 Yards and 7 TD. Not to mention that his role in the special teams game could definitely serve as the cherry on top some weeks.