However, Branch missed five games in the regular season with foot and calf injuries and suffered a torn ACL in Seattle's divisional loss to Green Bay. That injury will affect part of perhaps all of his 2008 season. Hackett missed ten games with an ankle sprain that he just couldn’t seem to shake, and he's going to be testing the market very soon.
The Seahawks' leading receiver was 34-year-old slot man Bobby Engram, who came back to enjoy a miracle season one year after suffering from a thyroid condition that threatened his career. Engram, who was the team's most productive wideout in their Super Bowl season of 2005 as well, caught 94 passes for 1,147 yards and six touchdowns as the Seahawks went pass-happy in the second half of the season to compensate for an anemic running game.
Could Sweed be the answer? Seahawks.NET draft editor Scott Eklund says that it's a possibility, comparing the receiver to Denver's Brandon Marshall.
One of the more talented receivers in the nation heading into the 2007 season, Sweed’s senior year at Texas has to be considered a disappointment. Sweed is a big receiver who has the quickness and athleticism to be a very good one down the road, but he has lapses in concentration and he’s not a quick starter. Sweed is at is best when he uses his excellent size and strength to out-muscle defenders, both big and small. He’s a physical receiver that doesn’t shy away from contact and he has the athleticism to make the spectacular look routine. He’s probably going to end up being a late first, or early second-round selection if he runs well during private workouts.
There were thoughts that the 6-4, 212-pound receiver might enter the draft in 2007 as a junior, but he came back for his team. "I feel like I'm a leader on this team, and I want to be a positive influence on the younger guys," said Sweed before the 2007 season. "That's why I think it's important for me to come back, develop as a player and get my degree. My intention is to help this team win as many games as we can."
Unfortunately, Sweed missed the last seven games of that season with torn ligaments in his left wrist. He caught only 19 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns after bringing in 46 balls for 801 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. He's seeing time in pads at the Senior Bowl for the first time since being shut down last year.
The Seahawks have greater positional needs than wide receiver in this draft -- offensive line, running back and possibly cornerback, depending on what happens with free agent Marcus Trufant. But with a great deal of uncertainty around the receiver corps in Seattle's future, it's time to start looking for reinforcements and the Seahawks are doing just that.