The University of Louisville football program has produced a plethora of top talent over the years, although by their own high standards, the 2020 NFL Draft was far from their most fruitful. Mekhi Becton made headlines as the No. 11 overall pick at the end of April and he will be keen to follow in the footsteps of both Jaire Alexander and Lamar Jackson. However, the likes of Justin Haycraft and Seth Dawkins were unfortunately left undrafted.
Dawkins’ disappointment was short-lived however, with the promising wide receiver signing a rookie free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks. The NFC West outfit have been incredibly busy over the last couple of months, and with 17 rookies being added to their roster, the former UofL man will have his work cut out in order to prove himself at CenturyLink Field.
The Ville ?? SEA
— Louisville Football (@UofLFootball) April 25, 2020
Dawkins is likely to go straight into the practice squad, although his physicality and speed may help him stand out from the crowd. The Seahawks have waived a number of players from their 90-man roster in order to make room for the latest batch of recruits, and the 21-year old will be determined to avoid a similar fate.
Cardinals fans have enjoyed seeing Dawkins develop in Louisville over the last couple of years, and anyone who has followed his progress will attest that he has plenty to offer the 2013 Superbowl champions. He left Kentucky with 84 receptions, 1,323 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, and posted solid numbers despite an injury-hit 2018 campaign. His crowning moment came vs Boston College in October hauling six passes for 170 yards. It was a remarkable afternoon for the wide receiver, who, alongside teammate Dez Fitzpatrick, became the first UofL player to break the 100-yard barrier since October 2017.
Coach Scott Satterfield encourages stretch play, and that has certainly helped Dawkins develop his game over the last couple of seasons. His sophomore year, working with the aforementioned Lamar Jackson at quarterback, was undoubtedly his most successful period for the Cardinals, and he could potentially benefit from playing alongside the consistent Russell Wilson in Seattle.
Despite his big-play talent, Dawkins faces some stiff competition, and a combination of hard work and luck will be required in order to break through. Tyler Lockett is an exceptional receiver, whilst DK Metcalf excelled during his rookie season. With Phillip Dorsett and David Moore waiting in the wings, the new arrival is unlikely to get much time on the pitch in 2020. However, the correct application in training and one or two injuries may just help push him up the pecking order.
Whilst the majority of Cardinals fans will be following Becton’s progress at the Jets, some may also be keeping a keen eye on the Seahawks’ progress throughout the course of the campaign. The NFL season gets underway in September, and there are a number of changes that could be introduced ahead of its commencement. New measures may include an alternative to the onside kick, whilst a booth umpire and senior technology advisor could also be implemented. If it is given the green light, the new assistant would have access to a continuous video feed enabling them to aid the on-field officials, and this is yet another example of the sport continuing to embrace technology.
Fans can also benefit from technological advances with the return of NextVR which will allow viewers to enjoy on-demand highlights as well as an immersive post-game experience. NFL followers were also able to stream the 2020 NFL Draft at the end of April, whilst EA Sports also created animated versions of the rookies, complete with virtual handshakes and crossings of the stage. It isn’t the first time that fans of different sports have been able to enjoy an imitation of their favorite sporting events or moments, and the popularity of these has been substantiated by both the exponential rise of eSports and the vast number of virtual football betting sites offering simulated versions of the sporting occasions.
Cardinals fans may have to wait a while before they are able to witness Seth Dawkins in full flight using NextVR; however, despite finding himself a fair way down the pecking order, he appears to have both the right attitude and all of the attributes to succeed in NFL, and could be the latest UofL graduate to be a success at the highest level.