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Seahawks keep focus on run game, take UW TE Will Dissly in 4th round

Seahawks draft pick Will Dissly moved to tight end for UW at the end of the 2015 season. (AP)

In the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks stayed close to home with their selection.

Full list of Seahawks, WSU and UW picks | NFL Draft home

Will Dissly, a tight end from across Lake Washington at UW, was taken 120th overall by the Seahawks.

“It’s unbelievable,” Dissly told reporters afterward. “It wasn’t a perfect story by any means, but I’m just really glad the way it worked out and I don’t think it stops here, man. I just need to keep working hard and let’s go win some games for the Hawks.”

Seahawks general manager John Schneider was worried Seattle might miss out on Dissly, who was ultimately their first selection Saturday.

“Right when we started today it was pretty nerve-wracking because Will is a guy everybody, our personnel staff, the coaches, have really invested in him and have had a very strong interest in him,” Schneider said. “And we talk about ‘our fit’ guys, and he’s been a guy we’ve been very interested in for a long time.”

Dissly will join the Seahawks as their third tight end but could compete with third-year player Nick Vannett to be the backup to free-agent addition Ed Dickson.

The 6-foot-4, 267-pound Dissly had 19 receptions for 230 yards and two touchdowns as a senior in 2017, and four receptions for 47 yards and a score in 2016.

The Bozeman, Mont., native was considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft. Shoring up the run game has clearly been a focus for the Seahawks this offseason with the signing of Dickson and selection of running back Rashaad Penny in the first round of the draft Thursday.

Pete Carroll said finding run-blocking tight ends has been harder than in years’ past.

“We’ve been checking it for years now,” Carroll said. “We’ve really had a difficult time finding a guy that can come in and do both, catch the ball and run some routes for you but be a strong blocker. And it’s been pretty wells-stated that we thought he was the best blocker in the draft and for that reason we tuned into him early and were keeping our fingers crossed the whole time.”

Dissly told reporters his blocking ability is one of his strong suits.

“Obviously I’m looking to grow my game as much as possible, but I always put my pride in my run blocking,” he said, “so I’m excited about that.”

Dissly began his career at UW as a defensive lineman but was asked to try tight end for their bowl game after the 2015 season. It worked out, as he moved to the position full-time in 2016, starting five games and playing in all 14 for the Huskies.

Dissly was the third of five Washington players taken in the 2018 draft, following defensive tackle Vita Vea (first round, Buccaneers) and wide receiver Dante Pettis (second round, 49ers) and coming before linebackers Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria in the sixth round. He is the first Husky drafted by the Seahawks since the team took another tight end, Jerramy Stevens, in 2002.

By the time Dissly had his conference call with Seattle reporters, he hadn’t yet checked his phone to see if Petersen called after the pick. Still, he won’t need to go far to get back in touch with his college coach.

“I’m sure it’ll be nice to go back and see him every time I want now that I’m still in Seattle.”

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