While Baldwin didn't score 14 touchdowns again, he did something perhaps more encouraging -- he set career highs in targets, catches and yards. Baldwin's 9.0 YPT placed him eighth in efficiency among the league's 41 100-target receivers, but like Michael Thomas, it was the insane catch rate (75 percent, 2nd), rather than consistent downfield targets that propelled his per-play excellence. Still, Baldwin hauled in five catches of 40-plus (T-8th) and saw 16 red-zone targets, six of which resulted in touchdowns. At 5-10, 192, Baldwin's never going to be a huge presence near the goal line, but the Seahawks are small at receiver -- unless fourth-round rookie Amara Darboh sees a larger-than-expected role -- so don't expect the opportunities to dry up, either. Baldwin has good speed (4.48 40) but excellent quickness, and his route-running, toughness and competitiveness are top notch. He's also Russell Wilson's first look by a decent margin. Tight end Jimmy Graham should have a significant role again if he can stay healthy, and Tyler Lockett should return to provide a home run threat. But the Seahawks' main offensive acquisition was Eddie Lacy whose arrival should have almost no effect on Baldwin's workload. Baldwin is also durable -- he missed two games in 2012 and none since. As such, he profiles as one of the safest WR picks on the board.
There comes a point in your draft when it's time to pick the safe guy with no upside, right? That was more or less than case with Baldwin, who put up a predictable 31-345-2 line through eight games. But the Seahawks opened things up in the second half, and Baldwin, out of nowhere, channeled peak Randy Moss, going 47-724-12 in Weeks 10-17. In fact, prorated over a full season, his second half yields 94-1,448-24. At 5-10, 189, with 4.48 speed, Baldwin won't be mistaken for Moss in real life, and actually Baldwin's league-leading efficiency (10.4 YPT) was based on an ungodly 77-percent catch rate rather than big plays — his 13.7 YPC was solid, but nothing special, and he had only three catches of 40 or more yards. Moreover, despite tying for the league lead with 14 receiving scores, Baldwin saw only 17 red-zone looks and five targets inside the 10. Bottom line, this breakout doesn't seem sustainable even if Seattle lets superstar quarterback Russell Wilson continue to open it up. For 2016, Baldwin should still figure prominently in the team's passing attack as Seattle didn't make any significant additions. A healthy Jimmy Graham and possibly Paul Richardson could take away a few looks, however, and second-year man Tyler Lockett's role could grow.
Baldwin continued in his low-volume-for-a-No. 1, efficient-for-a-possession-receiver way last year, managing 12.5 YPC and 8.4 YPT on 98 looks. At 5-10, 189, Baldwin has decent (4.48 40) speed, excellent quickness and good hands, as well as quarterback Russell Wilson's trust. Baldwin's never been a good bet to score touchdowns, and this year will be no different, especially with giant red-zone target Jimmy Graham now in the fold. Still, Baldwin should lead the Seattle wideouts in targets, assuming we count Graham as a tight end, as Jermaine Kearse is more of a big-play option, and Ricardo Lockette, rookie Tyler Lockett and second-year man Paul Richardson, who's recovering from a January ACL tear, are expected to have bit parts.
Baldwin bounced back from an injury-riddled sophomore year to match his strong rookie numbers, only with even more efficiency (10.7 YPT, 1st among the league’s 69 70-target WR). At 5-10, 189 and without much long speed, Baldwin is mainly a possession receiver, but he has good quickness, reliable hands and a good rapport with Russell Wilson. Percy Harvin's return-to-health could cost him some targets, but Harvin's used all over the field, and Baldwin's role, especially with Golden Tate gone and Sidney Rice retired, is secure.
Coming off a standout rookie campaign, Baldwin had a season to forget in 2012. Injuries took their toll, and he never really became an integral part of the offense. He saw nearly 40 fewer targets than he did as a rookie and finished with only 29 receptions for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Now healthy, Baldwin is expected to regain his place in the passing game. His opportunities also should increase thanks to the injury to Percy Harvin.
Baldwin set a record last year for most receiving yards by an undrafted rookie with 788, and despite playing with Tarvaris Jackson as his quarterback, managed a whopping 9.1 YPT and 15.5 YPC. At 5-10, 189, Baldwin’s not going to see a lot of red-zone work (just five targets there all season), and he lacks the speed to beat defenders deep. What he doesn’t lack is excellent quickness, a knack for finding the open spaces in the zone and good hands. With Sidney Rice and Mike Williams likely to return from injuries, targets could be harder to come by in 2012. But Baldwin typically operated out of the slot last year, a role that wouldn’t be overly compromised by having Seattle’s starters out wide. (There’s some talk at press time about Baldwin moving to an outside flanker position, but in that case he’d be starting there over Williams). Moreover, should Matt Flynn preside over the offense as expected, the entire passing game could get a lift. Make sure to give Baldwin a boost in PPR leagues as well.