Red Flags: NFC West

The biggest remaining issue for the Seahawks, Rams, 49ers and Cardinals

Originally Published: May 16, 2013
By Andy Benoit | Football Outsiders

Percy HarvinStephen Brashear/Getty ImagesThe Seattle Seahawks could use another downfield threat other than Percy Harvin.

Welcome to the 2013 version of Insider's offseason staple series: Red Flags. This is the final piece in an eight-part examination in which Football Outsiders identifies the biggest remaining issue for every NFL team, division by division, after the NFL draft.

Here is the Outsiders' look at the NFC West:


Seattle Seahawks: Vertical wide receiver

Like the 49ers, the Seahawks don't have many holes. On offense, they feature a dynamic rushing attack, diverse passing game, rising young quarterback and a solid front line. On defense they're deep and talented up front, young and athletic in the middle and unquestionably better than everyone else on the back end. Both sides of the ball have tremendous depth and a scheme that fits the personnel.

But if one must find an area to improve, then one could identify a lack of straight-line speed at wide receiver. Yes, newly-acquired Percy Harvin has terrific speed and his acceleration is even better. But Harvin's build and skill set are those of an underneath, move-oriented playmaker, not a pure nine-route blazer. Harvin probably could lift a safety on vertical patterns, but there's a reason he was rarely used this way during his four years in Minnesota. The Seahawks brought him in to be a more dangerous version of Antwaan Randle El, not another version of Randy Moss.