Oh I'm glad you use Tate as a example. So here's a few question.
1. Who is the number 1 WR in Seattle because Sid Rice had pretty much the same Stats as Tate 50rec. 748 yads and 7td on 80 targets? It's not as big as the difference here is where 89 got 60 more targets then Lafell. Rice only got only had 12 more targets then Tate.
2. You seem to neglect mentioning that Seattle didn't have other targets like a good TE and FB to throw to. Zach Miller had 35 rec. for 383 yards and 3 td. Now Compare that with Olsen who had 69 rec. 843 yards and 5 td. Also as a side bar Olsen was targeted 104 times which is 28 more times then Lafell. So if you really want to be technical about it Olsen was the #2 WR.
Also Tolbert caught 27 ball and was targeted 39 times compared to Michael Robinson (FB for the Seattle) who caught 13 balls on 16 targets. You don't think haveing more weapons could have effected Lafell numbers?
89 got that many more targets because he is simply better, gets open way more, and the QB trusts him more. In Seattle, the QB trusts the WR1 (Rice) about as much as the WR2 (Tate), and if you watch the film I don't blame him because he gets open more consistently than our guy.
Zach Miller is a good TE (just as many suspected), and as soon as Wilson (and probably Pete Carroll) got him more involved in the game in the postseason, his productivity increased accordingly. Regarding Tolbert, I consider him the best FB in the game, so I suppose it's possible that he poached some receptions from LaFell, but it is pretty understandable because he is a much better FB than LaFell is a WR, and has proven his unique roll to be of key value to the team. LaFell has not done that in my opinion. In regards to Olsen, he is a better TE than LaFell is a WR also, so really the same train of thought applies. I could argue that Olsen is being misused and that he should not be our de facto WR2, and that just because he can raise his game to that level doesn't mean that it is or should be his natural role, and stunts the natural balance of the offense because we are overcompensating for not having that other true threat at wide-out.
Like I said, LaFell is fine for what he does, but he is never gonna strike fear in the hearts of the opposition, particularly on anywhere near a consistent basis, because his game hasn't risen to the level where he is taken as a serious threat. It will be funny if we draft an Austin and he immediately comes here and has an impact, then people will see what type of WR2 that championship level caliber teams have. This impact will blur the lines between the WR1 and WR2, and give LaFell to shine as the WR3 that he really is---the guy that lulls defenses to sleep and gets a few, hopefully key, targets a game.