Seahawks: Can Doug Baldwin keep it up?
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin has made his name as one of the most consistent pass catchers in the league the past two seasons. Will 2017 be any different?
Coming into his breakout season of 2015, Seahawks top receiver Doug Baldwin was already a ‘solid’ wide receiver. ‘Solid,’ as in a reliable possession receiver, good at running routes, getting open in tight coverage and making the catch.
In 2015, Baldwin became not only a fantasy football star, he became a dynamic weapon in the passing game, particularly in the red zone. Last season, Baldwin scored half as many touchdowns as in 2015, but improved on his catch total and total yardage.
Baldwin’s improvement from ‘solid’ receiver to Pro Bowl receiver isn’t because he’s become an angrier Doug Baldwin. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has put Baldwin in a position to better utilize his talents, and quarterback (possibly the best QB in the league) Russell Wilson has trusted him more and more to catch his passes in tight windows, even when they’re off target a bit.
2015 and 2016 were banner years for Baldwin mostly because his catch percentage improved dramatically from 2014. He caught about two-thirds (66.8%, according to Football Reference) of the 98 passes thrown to him for 825 yards and a modest three scores. Then 2015 happened. Wilson went on a tear in the second half of the season, targeting Baldwin more than ever. Baldwin saw more targets and caught a higher percentage of his 103 looks.*
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Last season, Baldwin mimicked his 75% catch rate from 2015. He didn’t score as many touchdowns, and his yards per catch average dipped slightly, but if he keeps catching three out of every four passes thrown his way, he’ll set another career-high in receiving yards, his third in a row.
The Seahawks offense could be almost as scary as their defense in 2017. Wilson, with his career 99.6 QB rating, remarkably had the worst season QB rating of his career last season while setting career-highs in yards and attempts. He’ll likely show even more trust in Baldwin.
There could be many mouths to feed in this offense, but ADB, barring injury, is a near-lock to see 100+ targets, probably closer to 125. What he does with those targets is up to him.
*Baldwin also led the league in touchdown receptions that year with 14. Wilson got hotter than any NFL quarterback ever over the last half of 2015, ya’ll.