Heaps: One 2020 Seahawks rookie will greatly benefit from new OC Waldron
The Seahawks made their fewest draft selections since 2015 in last year’s NFL Draft when they made eight picks, but those rookies still provided plenty to think and talk about.
When looking at Seattle’s rookie class, you could point to first-round pick Jordyn Brooks flashing towards the end of the year, third-round guard Damien Lewis starting all 16 games and looking like a long-term starter, or even fifth-round defensive end Alton Robinson making splash plays as a rotational defensive end. Heck, the future of second-round defensive end Darrell Taylor is also a talking point since he missed all of 2020 with a leg injury.
One rookie who didn’t get quite as much attention as most other members of the class is fourth-round tight end Colby Parkinson, who appeared in six games after missing the start of the season due to a fracture in his foot.
Parkinson may have caught just two passes as a rookie, but former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps believes Parkinson could be in line for a big increase in playing time and production starting in 2021. Why? Because of who the Seahawks recently hired.
“The Rams under (former Los Angeles’ passing game coordinator and new Seattle offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron did a great job of being able to get more production out of their tight ends,” Heaps said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy. “(They) found a variety of different ways to utilize them, attack downfield, attack underneath coverages. Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee had really, really good years under (Rams head coach) Sean McVay for the last two or three seasons.”
The Rams are known for their running game and getting receivers the football in space, but they’ve also ran a lot of two-tight end sets with Everett and Higbee over the last few seasons. Those two combined for over 900 yards in 2020 and over 1,100 yards in 2019. Parkinson is one of two tight ends on the current Seahawks roster signed for the 2021 season, with Greg Olsen retiring and Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson entering unrestricted free agency.
“For that reason, I think Waldron, he is going to put an emphasis on the ability to use a tight end,” Heaps said. “And the one guy on the roster that I think can do that – Will Dissly is a solid tight end – but the guy that has the most upside I believe is Colby Parkinson.”
Heaps noted that Parkinson is a big-bodied tight end at 6 foot 7, but he moves well for his size and is a good route runner. It’s also worth noting that at his height and weighing 251 pounds, Parkinson has a similar body type to Higbee, who is listed as 6-6 and 255 pounds.
“I believe (Parkinson) can be a big, friendly target for Russell Wilson, and all conversation coming from that building, although he was hurt and had limited action, people are very, very high on Colby Parkinson,” Heaps said. “So I think that Shane Waldron is going to find ways to get great production out of the tight end group and specifically with Colby Parkinson.”