Discover more from Seaside Joe
Jake Bobo stands out to former All-Pro receiver who stops by Seahawks training camp
An All-Pro WR compares Bobo to a former Seahawks WR who caught 10 TD in 2005: Seaside Joe 1624
In athletics, the Bobo name isn’t a punchline. It’s an institution. Three weeks into training camp and with the first preseason game in the books, Jake Bobo isn’t playing like he has designs on being the next Jazz Ferguson or Kasen Williams. As borderline Hall of Fame receiver Steve Smith has put it following a trip to Seattle Seahawks training camp this week, Bobo looks like the next Joe Jurevicius.
Not light praise given that Jurevicius caught 10 touchdowns for the 2005 Seahawks team that reached the Super Bowl.
I want to dive into Bobo's fit on the Seahawks, his history, and Smith’s comments about Seattle training camp, but first it is imperative that I emphasize a correction to Friday morning’s 53-man roster and practice squad projection. This has bothered the heck out of me since about 10 minutes after I hit send because unlike other formats, you can’t go in and edit an email in someone’s inbox.
I mistakenly left off Coby Bryant, so he is in and Artie Burns is out. There is no change to the practice squad.
I looked at the cornerbacks and Bryant is obviously not listed there right now, so I missed him there. Then I breezed through the safeties and forgot to include Bryant, so in the midst of his…POSITION VERSATILITY…I erred. My apologies to you, to Bryant, and to Burns. If Burns does end up as the odd man out, I expect him to be on another roster by the next day.
I was even more motivated to write this post because I felt so terrible about that mistake and that is a lesson learned for me. Check out the updated 53-man roster with practice squad if you haven’t already.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Steve Smith’s high praise for Bobo, Seahawks
Any Seahawks fan looking for a 50-minute session to get hyped up about Seattle this weekend—the team and the VMAC view—need watch Steve Smith’s podcast:
I’ve been a Steve Smith podcast supporter for a while now and as I always say, the best shows are the ones that have the least amount of viewers. I can’t believe only 1.1k watch a Steve Smith show but online popularity is a strange, unpredictable beast.
Among Smith’s compliments for the team:
“My grandmother’s from Seattle and she always told me there’s no more beautiful, prettier place from June till late September.”
“Their backyard is water. I’ve never been to their facility. Wow.”
“I’m not trying to be cheesy, not at all, but it was very refreshing to see almost like a college-like atmosphere with the excitement…It’s contagious…It was just very amazing.”
“Geno Smith said there’s a lot of unfinished business.”
On Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Smith was already a huge fan going into the draft, but says that since he got to the Seahawks that the rookie receiver has been “locked in” on transitioning from a great college player to a great pro by focusing on his workouts and conditioning.
“(JSN) yeah he was playing in college, but his transition to become a pro: He is locked in. Lower extremity looking great, you can see the transformation of being in college, lifting, getting ready for the procs and then being in the organization; lifting, emphasizing lower body strengthening, understanding that it’s going to be a long season, he’s transforming into a pro already. Talking to some people, they’re SO loving JSN. Multiple people—scouts, John Schneider—tells me ‘They’re gonna help us. We know we needed help, we just didn’t know we needed that kind of help from that type of guy.’”
Smith also complimented Geno Smith (“I believe we haven’t seen (him throw dimes like this) since he was at West Virginia”), Drew Lock (“Pete said he looked ‘out of sorts’ and ‘down on himself’ when he got to Seattle initially, but is ‘refreshed’ now”), and was impressed with DK Metcalf’s route running improvement (Smith said Metcalf has been “patient at the line”, meaning “you give an indicator step or hesitate but in your hesitation you can flinch or give an indicator step (to confuse the DB)”). He also said that Coby Bryant (again, sorry Coby) reminded him of Kam Chancellor and I believe this podcast was recorded before Thursday’s preseason game.
Then at 17 minutes, Steve Smith out of nowhere starts talking about Jake Bobo like he’s in the same class as Metcalf, Lockett, and JSN. Smith compares Bobo to a young athlete wearing an old man costume (specifically referencing a movie called Uncle Drew) in that he doesn’t look at all like a professional receiver…until he starts doing drills:
“They got drills going and he put a DB in the BLENDER. Bro, I’m talking about a straight bullet. It was ‘Yep, blend them up, bro.’ He gave an indicator step, he went right, left, right again and went slant. And the corner had that look like ‘Oh God’.”
Smith mentions how good Bobo’s Senior Bowl went and says that he may only catch 15-20 passes this year because of how set the Seahawks are at receiver right now, but then he compares him to Joe Jurevicious, who was in a similar situation when he got drafted by the New York Giants in the second round in 1998.
It wasn’t until year four that Jurevicious, who is listed at 6’5, 232 and started his football career as a punter, finally broke out for 706 yards in 2001 after opportunities opened. Jurevicious—the 40-time I could find says 4.66—didn’t have the type of career that I remembered (probably because 35% of his touchdowns came in his one season with Seattle), but playing for 10 seasons would be a PHENOMENAL outcome for Bobo.
Not just because he went undrafted. I also don’t know that there’s ever been a successful NFL receiver who ran a 4.99 in the 40-yard dash. At least not since games started airing on color televisions. Thankfully, there are caveats to that number, the most common 40 result for Bobo that you will find on the Internet, and reasons to think he won’t have to be the best slow receiver in history to make the Seattle Seahawks roster.
The Bobo Family Legacy
Jake’s grandfather Keith Bobo was the starting quarterback at SMU from 1972-1973 and drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 12th round of the 1974 draft. Perhaps Keith was never destined for the NFL—he didn’t make that team or any other team—but he probably wasn’t helped by the fact that the Cowboys also drafted Danny White in the third round, one of the franchise’s top-six all-time passers.
Keith had a son named Mike, who went on to play receiver at Dartmouth, where he was named as a team captain in 1991 and a GTE Academic All-American.
Mike Bobo would marry Casey Hagerman, an ice hockey player at Dartmouth, in 1996 according to The New York Times:
Casey’s father David was an ice hockey player at the University of New Hampshire, lettering four times; her sister Jamie lettered four seasons in ice hockey at Harvard and represented the United States in the 2006 Winter Olympics; her other sister Kully won the 1998 NCAA field hockey championship at Middlebury College by scoring the game-winning goal and also won two NCAA lacrosse championships during her career; and a third sibling Whitaker, lettered four seasons of lacrosse at Virginia.
Football, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, Olympics, national championships, the NFL, the Ivy League, and something like 18 letterman jackets, by my count. All before we get to Jake Bobo.
Does that sound like maybe the recipe for creating a Paul Walker high school character in a lab?
On August 4, 1998, Jake Bobo entered the world courtesy of Casey and Mike Bobo. Casey was teaching history at Brooks School, a private school in North Andover, Massachusetts, until the family briefly moved to Arkansas when Jake was in middle school.
“I was the luckiest kid in the world to live on the Brooks campus,” recalled Bobo. “I would be out on the football field, in the gym … It was like we had the whole campus to ourselves. Some of my happiest memories growing up were at Brooks.”
The family moved back when Jake was entering high school and he attended Belmont Hill in Concord, Mass. A two-sport athlete in football and basketball, Jake was a three-star recruit in the 2018 class and I’ll be the one to say if it nobody else will: He looked like Justin Bieber. I mean, almost intentionally so.
From his highlights on Hudl, Bobo at least turned some schools into beliebers in his football skills and he was the number four prospect in a state that had five prospects. (Remarkably, the top prospect was tight end Pat Freiermuth, a very good tight end for the Steelers and he actually played football at Brooks.)
He was praised by The Boston Globe for his elusiveness and quickness, especially for a 6’4 receiver. He committed to Duke during his junior season and was confident in his ability to shooter a higher percentage on 50/50 balls than 50%:
"I think I can be a guy that can go down the field and make plays while the ball is in the air, which is something the staff has stressed with me," Bobo said.
In making his decision, Bobo said it was not one thing that stood out, but rather the overall feel of everything.
Choosing Duke was probably the best decision for his education and realizing how difficult it would be to make the NFL regardless of how well he played in college. But on the field, it would take years to finally click for Bobo.
You know by now that you want to do: Join the premium club to support more articles about the Seattle Seahawks like this one. It’s only $5 per month or $55 for a whole year!
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. Help a Seahawks blog be the #1 sports newsletter on Substack:
Bobo on the Blue Devils
Playing with quarterback Daniel Jones during his freshman season, Jake Bobo only caught 10 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown in 2018. Nothing to be concerned about for any true freshman, but finding quality quarterback play at Duke would be difficult to come by after Jones declared for the NFL in 2019.
After suffering a shoulder injury before the season, Bobo played in just eight games in 2020 and caught 10 passes for 122 yards and no touchdowns. Despite not having a huge presence on the stats sheet, Bobo was given the Mike Suglia Award, which always goes to a sophomore who the team feels best represents the qualities that they admire in their players*.
*Mike Suglia was an offensive lineman at Duke who died suddenly during his sophomore year in 1977 and was praised for his commitment in school, on the field, and of having “the highest integrity”.
Bobo became Duke’s top receiver in 2020 but unfortunately the program hit a low that they hadn’t experienced in a while, going 2-9 and finishing 92nd in scoring. Bobo had 32 catches for 358 yards and one touchdown while catching passes from Chase Brice, who had 10 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on the season.
The Blue Devils offense was even worse in 2021 but that was also Bobo’s breakout season as he finished with 74 catches for 794 yards, both the best marks on the team.
Thanks to the pandemic year granting every player an extra season of eligibility, Bobo could still choose to continue playing football and see what else was possible for him on the field. Lucky for him, UCLA’s head coach Chip Kelly saw just one game and loved everything about Jake Bobo and what he expected he could do in the Bruins offense.
Bobo and the Bruins
Joining Zach Charbonnet on offense, another player who had transferred to UCLA but doing so a year earlier and from Michigan, Bobo was exactly what Kelly was looking to add to his offense.
There was one game, in mid-November, that caught the eye of UCLA head coach Chip Kelly.
“It was a Thursday night game against Louisville,” recalled Kelly. “Jake was incredible that game. Everybody knew that he was getting the ball, doubled-covered, and he still made plays.
“He was in the (transfer) portal. We knew we needed an outside receiver. He wins a lot of 50-50 balls. He’s a smart kid, both in class, which is important at UCLA, and on the field … He’s not been a surprise to us. We expected this.”
Bobo’s decision to leave Duke came down to both playing in bigger games, and hopefully elevating his status as a possible professional.
Bobo was intrigued by being able to play with returning starters like Charbonnet and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and in a spread offense that might showcase his abilities. He also felt a connection to Chip Kelly, a New Hampshire native. Bobo knew that his speed wouldn’t be his best attribute, but it’s worth noting that there was no fear of being a 5-second guy, which just seems impossible when you think about it.
“I’m not a burner,” said Bobo, whose 40-yard dash time is listed at 4.68. “I realize I have the physical attributes as a tweener (WR-Tight end). I just have to play my game, which is to catch everything thrown to me, be a factor in the running game and, really, be reliable.”
In four years at Duke, Bobo caught 126 passes for 1,441 yards and three touchdowns.
In 13 games at UCLA, Bobo caught 57 passes for 817 yards and seven touchdowns.
In his fifth game of the season, Bobo broke out for a career-best 142 yards and two touchdowns with six catches in a win over 15th-ranked Washington. Other current or recent Seahawks in that game from last September include Charbonnet, Wayne Taulapapa, Jacob Sykes, and Mo Osling, who was cut this month. Sykes, who also starred in Thursday’s preseason win over the Vikings, was himself a transfer to UCLA from Harvard.
On Bobo, Kelly told Bump & Stacy on Seattle Sports that he got one of the best endorsements ever from former Duke head coach David Cutliffe:
“Jake’s awesome,” Kelly said. “Jake was the leading receiver at Duke and then they had a coaching change so he put his name in the (transfer) portal. I have a great relationship with (former Duke head coach) David Cutcliffe and Cut told me that he’s probably second to Peyton Manning in terms of being a practice player. That really got us excited.”
When Bobo showed up, the impact was immediate for the Bruins.
“He automatically became the leader in our wide receiver room and was our leading receiver last year,” Kelly said. “I think he’s position-versatile. He can play both inside receiver and outside receiver. … He’s got tremendous range in terms of being able to catch the ball away from his body. He’s a tremendous route runner. I think he’s kind of a steal.”
“He’s another guy that would be an impact player when it comes to special teams,” Kelly said. “We did not use him on special teams because he was our leading receiver. He did a little punt return for us and I know that’s probably not the height/weight/speed you’re looking for as a punt returner, but he was just such a sure-handed guy (that he) did a little bit of that for us.”
There was still little about Jake Bobo that screamed “NFL DRAFT!” after his college career was over. His production in the last two seasons—131 catches, 1,611 yards, 8 touchdowns—is more like an ideal way to play as a sophomore-junior and going into your senior year at worst. For Bobo, this all happened for him after he had turned 22, basically.
Even finding good reasons for a lack of production, like playing at Duke, there’s only so much that scouts can work with if the tape isn’t maybe as giving as 50 or so other receivers going into the draft. That’s why some players who were less productive than they hoped, like DK Metcalf for example, separate themselves at the combine and their pro days.
That wasn’t going to be the case for Bobo either.
Bobo and the Blue/Green
Jake Bobo wasn’t invited to the combine, so you can scratch that. Then at his pro day, inclement weather and poor field conditions could have caused his 4.99 40-yard dash and 1.76 10-yard split. It’s just not feasible really that Bobo was that successful for the last two years in the ACC and Pac-12 while running slower than some of his teammates who were offensive linemen. It’s not the speed we’re seeing at Seahawks training camp and the preseason.
By all accounts, even his own, Bobo is not a “burner”. But a reasonable estimate is more along the lines of 4.65-4.70.
Some of the best receivers in NFL history did run about this fast in the 40-yard dash. It doesn’t indicate that Bobo will be great or even good, it’s just one of the facts about football; like how Russell Wilson defied history’s take on QB height, so too do some receivers defy the need for speed.
Though Bobo’s size makes him seem like an outside weapon at X or Z, insurance for DK Metcalf, the VikingsWire site for USA Today actually seems him as a “power slot” and they were hoping to add him to Kevin O’Connell’s offense. O’Connell, like Shane Waldron, splits off the Sean McVay tree.
Power slots (or big slots, depending on who you ask) break the rules of slot receivers.
They’re not small and shifty like Julian Edelman or Wes Welker. They aren’t going to wow you with crafty route running in the phone booth, and they won’t win with their sheer athleticism. Power slots are often more physical and larger than the prototypical slot wide receivers.
Finding power slots isn’t particularly challenging. They’re a staple in college football and the NFL as more teams look to create mismatches on the backend.
Think about it this way: if slot receivers were mostly shifty, how would defenses try and cover them? For the most part, that means teams will operate with smaller slot corners that can keep up with these types.
However, if a team uses a slot receiver with more size and physicality, the smaller cornerbacks can struggle. The big fish will always eat the small fish.
Writer Kevin Fielder notes that examples of power slots in the NFL now are Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Michael Thomas, and Travis Kelce. Another example, and the one I’ve most often used for Bobo, is Ben Skowronek of the L.A. Rams, which also caps a lower and more reasonable ceiling on Bobo’s future. “Skow” isn’t necessarily awesome, but he’s versatile, he plays a little fullback, he plays special teams, he’s considered one of the hardest practicers on the team. Bobo could be a good run blocker (shown in the next video below), but if he continues to get better and becomes a great run blocker, he’d make it harder to keep him off the field. It may already be very unlikely that the undrafted free agent won’t be on the 53.
And if you don’t believe a UCLA student, listen to All-Pro receiver Steve Smith, who has no reason to be biased for Bobo. “I really walked aaway going man…This is Joe Jurevicious. This kid can play. When he explodes, we can cut this clip and post it and be like, We told you.”
I already did.
You got this far and STILL didn’t subscribe??? Get on that! For Bobo!