The Seahawks used the final round of the 2022 NFL Draft to bring in some potential depth at wide receiver, drafting Bo Melton out of Rutgers and Dareke Young out of Lenoir-Rhyne. While Melton and Young still face a bit of an uphill battle to make the final 53-man roster, they’ll get a true look throughout the preseason, according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson.
Melton’s numbers out of Rutgers will not jump off of the page. In his best season, Melton caught 47 passes for 638 yards and six touchdowns, adding two more scores on the ground with 6 rushes for 69 yards. The lack of eye-popping statistics may be more a reflection of the players around Melton than a reflection of his own ability, as Rutgers hasn’t been known for top-tier quarterback play in recent years. Still, Melton led the Scarlet Knights in receiving yards in each of the last three years, accumulating 132 catches for 1,683 yards and 11 touchdowns over that span.
Young is a bit of a project out of Lenoir-Rhyne. Due to COVID-19 and injury, Young has only played in seven games over the last two seasons. In the five games he appeared in last year, he caught 25 balls for 303 yards and four touchdowns, including an eight-catch, 160-yard, three-touchdown performance vs Mars Hill in September. The numbers in this shortened season nearly match the numbers from the two full, fourteen-game seasons he played in 2018 and 2019, showing the tremendous potential for what a matured Young could’ve accomplished in one more full season with the Bears.
Both Melton and Young have impressed throughout the offseason in Seattle. In the team’s preseason loss to the Steelers this past Saturday, the two led the receiving group, Melton with 2 receptions for 47 yards and Young with 4 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.
While the top-two spots atop the depth chart are set in stone with Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, injuries to others in the receiving corps should allow Melton and Young plenty of opportunities to earn their roster spots. Freddie Swain was expected to come into the season as the No. 3 wide receiver after finishing third in the room in receiving yards last year. After struggling for much of camp, though, Swain was recently sidelined with a minor injury, leaving the door slightly ajar for someone to overtake him. Free agent addition Marquise Goodwin has stood out so far in camp, giving him a real chance to work his way into the starting group, but he, too, was sidelined recently with an injury. Meanwhile, second-year receiver D’Wayne Eskridge has struggled to stay on the field and is still recovering from injuries in an attempt to return to play.
The absences of Swain, Goodwin, and Eskridge in the preseason will provide Melton and Young ample playing time with the starting offense. This by no means guarantees that they will cement themselves on the final roster, but, similarly, if they continue to perform, Swain, Goodwin, and Eskridge may not want to get too comfortable. It can be difficult for a seventh-round pick to make the 53-man roster as a rookie, but these two pass catchers are getting a prime chance to beat the odds.