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Rookie Tyler Lockett already looks like polished receiver

RENTON, Wash. -- Back in 2010, when Golden Tate's career was just starting with the Seahawks, his first few months in Seattle looked like a preview of a breakout rookie season. It didn't happen. He was benched in Week 1 for complacency then went on to make only 21 catches and hardly any impact during his flop of a debut.

That history provides important context for Tyler Lockett, the latest rookie wide receiver for whom the Seahawks have high hopes. Lockett made plenty of plays during offseason workouts and has continued to do so through the start of training camp. But just as important, he's shown teammates and coaches the type of work ethic and understanding of the position that Tate didn't have as a rookie.

"He's shown a lot already. He's a fantastic worker -- that's one of the things I'd say first," coach Pete Carroll said. "We've all been impressed with his attention to detail and how he wants to get it right. He spends extra time and all that."

Lockett, a third-round pick out of Kansas State, has the distinction of being one of only two players for whom the Seahawks have traded up to select in six drafts under Carroll and general manager John Schneider.

When they did so, the prevailing storyline at first was about Lockett the kick returner and how he might be the special-teams spark Seattle hasn't had the last two seasons. But what the Seahawks also got in Lockett was one of the more accomplished receivers in the draft, someone who had broken his own father's school records for career receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.

That pedigree could be one reason why the younger Lockett appears to be ahead of the curve at a position where rookies tend to face an especially tough transition.

"I think it's helped me," Lockett said, "just because my dad taught me the mental part of the game, just being able to understand coverages, being able to understand how to get open."

Not since 2011 has a rookie receiver made significant contributions in Seattle's offense. Doug Baldwin made history that year, becoming the first undrafted rookie since 1960 to lead his team in receptions and receiving yards. Baldwin was asked whether Lockett reminds him of himself.

"He's a lot [more] polished than I was as a rookie," Baldwin said. "His coaches at K-State did a really nice job preparing him for the NFL. Obviously he did a nice job preparing himself for the NFL. He's doing a fantastic job out here. Really good chemistry with Russell (Wilson) and other quarterbacks and just making plays when he has the opportunity to do so."

Opportunities could be limited for Lockett as a rookie. He's part of a crowded wide receiver mix, he plays the same position as Baldwin and there are only so many balls to go around in a run-first offense like Seattle's. But all the rave reviews from coaches and teammates have left the impression that he could find a way to make an impact on offense regardless.

"He has the explosiveness, he's got the speed, he's got the savvy, and he has the work ethic," Baldwin said. "Naturally you just want to be close to someone like that because you know they can do anything they put their mind to."

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