The increasing possibility of Doug Baldwin retiring was a consistent theme for the Seahawks’ 2019 draft.
From almost the very beginning, through the very last of their 11 picks.
The Seahawks so wanted a third wide receiver in this draft they traded a sixth-round pick from 2020 to Jacksonville Saturday to get into the seventh and final round. Then they got the nation’s leader in touchdown catches last college season: John Ursua from the University of Hawaii.
Ursua had 16 touchdowns in 2016, the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2018.
He thought he was going to be an undrafted free agent. He was fielding calls from what he said were “six or seven teams” in the middle of the seventh round about signing as a free agent. Then Seattle called.
“Out of nowhere, Pete Carroll called,” he said on the telephone from Utah. “It’s such a miracle for me.
“Man, they have gone over and beyond to show their trust and faith in me,” Ursua said of Seattle trading a future pick to get back in the end of the draft and select him. “I’m so blessed and humbled.”
He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and 182 pounds, similar in statue to Baldwin.
He was Hawaii’s slot back, similar in alignment to where Baldwin has been on third downs in Seattle for years.
Ursua said he had a pre-draft visit with the Seahawks at their team headquarters this month. The feeling he got from that, plus Friday’s news about Baldwin telling the team he’s thinking about retiring at age 30 after three surgeries this offseason, made Ursua think Seattle might reach out.
“With Doug having some of the news that he has, I knew it was going to be a great opportunity for me to kind of help out in the slot-receiver position,” he said.
The 24-year-old Ursua spent two years on a church mission to France, Belgium and Luxembourg. He was out of football for nearly four years.
Wide receiver is the only position Seattle drafted more than two players.
They also drafted two safeties (Maquise Blair of Utah and Ugo Amadi from Oregon), two linebackers (Cody Barton from Utah and Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven), one defensive end (first-round pick L.J. Collier from TCU), one guard (Wake Forest’s Phil Haynes), one running back (Travis Homer from Miami) and one defensive tackle (Demarcus Christmas of Florida State).