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Did Pete Carroll see a little "Doug Baldwin" in Bo Melton?
Seaside Joe 1181: 5 plays from a career-day for Melton at Rutgers
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Speaking of being alive and streaking, did you know that Bo Melton ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine?
A four-star recruit in the 2017 class out of Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, Melton was the 50th-ranked receiver coming out of high school that year. Among those ahead of him were Donovan Peoples-Jones (1st), Tee Higgins (2), Jerry Jeudy (3), DeVonta Smith (6), CeeDee Lamb (10), Henry Ruggs (19), Amari Rodgerse (30), Jalen Reagor (38), and K.J. Hamler (45).
But what is more telling: the list of NFL wide receivers ranked ahead of Melton on the list, or the ones ranked 51-100 behind him?
Because that list is much shorter, from what I can tell: One, Josh Palmer (65) of the LA Chargers.
(Former Dolphins first round pick Noah Igbinoghene ranked 52nd, but moved to cornerback)
Bo Melton has already beaten the odds just to be drafted, even if he did have to wait until the seventh round. The main reasons that Melton made it and hundreds of NFL hopefuls did not—I say “made it” in the sense that he got drafted—have almost everything to do with his 40-yard dash time and potential on special teams.
The Seahawks did not necessarily draft Melton out of a strong belief that he will one day garner 100 targets per season, or even one-tenth of that.
In my lifetime, 392 receivers have been drafted in the seventh round or later. Of those, 37 registered at least one season as a “starter”, meaning they made at least eight starts in a year. That’s 9-percent.
28 of them had two or more seasons as a starter, which is 7.1-percent.
20 of them have four or more seasons, which is 5-percent. And out of that 5-percent, five of the 20 were drafted since 2002 realignment, which is 25-percent of the 5-percent. That means that in the last 20 years alone, Kevin Walter, Marques Colston, Steve Johnson, Julian Edelman, and Rishard Matthews stand out as the greatest seventh round receivers of their generation.
They had a combined zero Pro Bowl appearances.
Teams draft seventh round receivers for a variety of reasons, but rarely is it because they should expect to land the next David Moore. As a seventh round pick in 2017, Moore lit the seventh round world on fire by posting three seasons between 300-450 yards over his career.
The Seahawks doubled-down on seventh round receivers by taking Bo Melton and Dareke Young this year, perhaps with a little hope that the former can take on a slot receiver role/end around rusher in Shane Waldron’s offense and that the latter could be a diamond in the rough out of Lenoir-Rhyne.
But first, they need to beat out Penny Hart, Marquise Goodwin, Aaron Fuller, Cody Thompson, and Cade Johnson for a spot on the roster this season.
If Seattle is keeping DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Dee Eskridge, and Freddie Swain, then four of the five or six openings are taken. The team signed Goodwin after drafting Melton and Young, as well as signing Kevin Kassis as an undrafted free agent, so the fight became a little more complicated then just beating out Hart, Fuller, Thompson, or Johnson, which in itself could be a challenge.
However, Melton is in the competition for a reason. And it had little to do with college stats.
Melton posted a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine, along with a 38” vertical, 2.53 20-yard split, and 1.53 10-yard split. At 5’11, 189 lbs, Melton is considered “undersized”, but in the slot this has not been seen as much of a negative in recent years.
But as much fun as it would be to compare Melton to DeVonta Smith, that’s simply not the case. Melton wasn’t thriving in Rutgers’ offense like Smith could dominate at Alabama and in the SEC.
After appearing in five games as a true freshman, Melton took on a slightly larger role as a sophomore and caught 28 passes for 245 yards. As a junior, Melton caught 30 passes for 427 yards, as well as scoring the first two touchdowns of his college career.
It wasn’t until his fourth season that Melton handled some kickoff duties, as well as posting 47 catches for 638 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. In his fifth year, Melton had 55 catches for 618 yards and three touchdowns, returning five kickoffs and five punts.
Melton’s single game career-high for yards came in 2020, when he had five catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois. He had seven catches for 109 yards against Michigan the next week, but Rutgers lost both contests. Without intending to pick on him, one of the biggest issues for Rutgers’ offense and a reason why (not the reason why) Melton didn’t have bigger numbers was quarterback Noah Vedral.
Certainly the offense is nothing special under head coach Greg Schiano, but within that, quarterback is a sore spot.
I wanted to take a closer look at the game in which Melton had the most catches, as that might give us a better glimpse into his skillset as a receiver in college. Unlike someone like Ken Walker, there just aren’t a lot of games to choose from because dominance wasn’t the story for Melton’s career like it is with a lot of players who beat the odds and become NFL draft picks. Melton broke the 100-yard mark five times in his career, including against UMass, Illinois, Michigan, Delaware, and Northwestern.
Five games into the 2021 season, Bo Melton had eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern, also getting one carry.
We see a lot of these types of plays from Melton at Rutgers, essentially a lot of what we saw with Doug Baldwin as practically an outside running back. It doesn’t mean that Melton has Baldwin-like expectations, but his role and the play calls could be similar.
It feels like a lot of these throws beyond 10 yards are living on a foundation of prayers. Vedral chucks one midfield to Melton, who beat the cornerback by a mile but had to stop, leap, and take a tackle on the way down to complete this pass. This play may tell us more about Vedral than Melton.
A clean throw and this could be a touchdown:
Vedral nearly arcs this one out of the end zone, but to his credit it goes somewhere that only Melton can catch it. That would be a little more impressive if it wasn’t for the fact that Melton was once again wide open and this could have been a simpler catch than this; it’s a nice chance for Melton to show off some sideline work.
A small gain on this four-yard run, but Melton could be in store for more plays like this when it comes to his rookie season.
The Greatest Bo Off Earth
This play was called back for illegal motion, but it still works for our purposes. Bo Melton breaks a few tackles to pick up about an extra 10 yards on this play. It was called back because of Melton’s motion when the ball is snapped but still…
What are your first thoughts on Bo Melton? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to share, subscribe, and say something!