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Tyler Lockett looks 'very special' in electrifying debut

SEATTLE -- Pete Carroll didn't see the end of the most memorable play of the Seattle Seahawks' preseason opener, a kickoff that rookie Tyler Lockett returned 103 yards for a touchdown. He was on his backside, having collided with an official who was running down the sideline.

"I was jumping up and down for Tyler's return," the coach said afterward.

Hard to blame Carroll for getting a little excited. Lockett was that good Friday night as he turned his first NFL game into a showcase of the type of special-teams threat that the Seahwks drafted him to be. Lockett had another return of 46 yards, finishing with a 46.5-yard average on four attempts to go along with a punt return of 18 yards.

It was the touchdown, though, that Carroll couldn't stop talking about.

"I thought Lockett's 83-yard touchdown was pretty good. See, I didn't see the last 20," Carroll said. "But Lock did a great job tonight. He lit it up in kickoff return, punt return. It was great to see that. We all know that's exactly what we were hoping to see. He looked very special tonight."

When the Seahawks made what for them is a rare move to trade up for Lockett in the third round, they not only nabbed one of the more productive wide receivers in the draft but also one of its most dangerous returners, something Seattle's special teams largely have been missing the last two seasons.

Sure, Golden Tate was an effective punt returner in 2013, but the Seahawks got next to nothing in that department last year, with Bryan Walters fair-catching most of the time and never posing much of a threat. Percy Harvin was supposed to be Seattle's kickoff returner, but his injuries and eventual trade left a rotating cast of characters to take their turns at the job without much success.

Enter Lockett.

"He looked like we hoped he would look" Carroll said. "We drafted him with the thought that he might give us a real spark in an area we wanted to see if we could find a way to improve and be more dynamic. He did that."

Seahawks special-teams coach Brian Schneider has talked this offseason about how technically sound Lockett is in all the nuances of returning kicks, like the way he positions himself to catch the ball, the way he sets up blocks and his vision in the open field.

Being really fast helps too.

"On the big kickoff, lots of times guys makes that break and they start to turn the corner and they get run down about the 30-yard line," Carroll said, referring to Lockett's touchdown return in which he cut toward the sideline. "He finished it. That's 4.3. It showed up with a lot of fast guys trying to get him and he turned the corner.

"He didn't really have a great angle -- it didn't look like to me -- and then I didn't see the rest."

Brady Henderson is the editor-in-chief at ESPN Seattle/710Sports.com.