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Seattle Seahawks Slot Sleeper: The John Ursua Story

John Ursua’s is a name we haven’t talked about much throughout prospect season. But after Seattle head coach Pete Carroll mentioned him as someone who could see snaps in the slot, he warrants a longer look. Does the seventh-round pick out of Hawaii sport the profile of someone who can contribute in his rookie year?

“He started to feel comfortable and show us the kind of quicks and change-of-direction stuff that made him one of the big scorers in college football last year,” Carroll told Seahawks.com. “You can see it, he’s got a real style to him. He’s a slot guy, he really is that mold.”

Of course in Carroll’s world, every one of his players is Jerry Rice reincarnated, so don’t start scooping Ursua in best ball leagues just yet.

That said, the seventh-rounder has some nice things going for him.

The Player

John Usura

  • School: Hawaii (Mountain West Conf.)
  • Size: 5-9, 178
  • Age: 25.4
  • Draft: 7th round (236th)
  • 40-yard dash (Pro Day): 4.56
  • Career MS Yards: 30%
  • Career MS TDs: 32%

His 40-time was slow for someone his size, but Ursua impressed in his pro Day agility drills, posting numbers that would have been head-turners had they been clocked at the Combine.

Carroll referenced Ursua’s scoring ability, and indeed, his 16 receiving TDs didn’t just lead the Mac West, they were the most of any player in college football in 2018. 

Year Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Rec MS Yds MS TDs
2016 WR 14 53 652 12.3 3 20.6 20.4 11.9
2017 WR 6 47 667 14.2 5 33.6 39.9 41.7
2018 WR 13 89 1343 15.1 16 29.4 32.2 39

While scoring 39% of his team’s TDs and 32.2% of the yards in his final season was impressive, his injury-shortened 2017 may have been even more so, as he accounted for 40% of Hawaii’s receiving yards and 41.7% of their TDs.

He did all his damage from the slot — according to PFF, Ursua played 865 snaps lined up inside (97.4%) compared to just 23 snaps outside, while his 15 TDs from the slot were the most by any player since 2014.

The production is encouraging, but his draft age of 25 is a significant red flag. While he doesn’t have an early breakout age going for him, the good news is that he was an early declare, a factor which Blair Andrews has shown gives a player a much better chance at NFL success.

The Comps

Despite some impressive market share figures, Ursua’s lack of draft capital kills him in the RotoViz Box Score Scout comps.

The best case scenario for the seventh-round rookie may be a career arc akin to that of Willie Snead’s. 

Conclusion

The WR depth chart in Seattle behind Tyler Lockett is wide open. While he’ll continue to play significant snap slots, Lockett will also be used outside, freeing up some opportunity inside.

That’s Ursua’s bread and butter, and I think a handful of targets by the midpoint of the season is realistic for the rookie.

You can leave him on the wire in bestball and redraft leagues, but Ursua is worth a roster spot in deeper dynasty leagues.

Image Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: John Ursua.

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