Seahawks make TE addition in draft with Michigan’s AJ Barner

Apr 27, 2024, 10:53 AM | Updated: 3:18 pm

Seattle Seahawks draft AJ Barner Michigan...

AJ Barner of Michigan makes a catch against Michigan State in 2023. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks selected Michigan tight end AJ Barner with the No. 121 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Seahawks ’24 NFL Draft Breakdown: A look at all 8 Seattle picks

Barner was the Seahawks’ second fourth-round pick, following UTEP linebacker Tyrice Knight just four spots earlier at No. 118. Seattle acquired the pick it used on Barner in a trade with the Denver Broncos earlier in the morning.

The 6-foot-6, 251-pound Barner gives the Seahawks much-needed depth at tight end after they lost two of their top three tight ends this offseason. Colby Parkinson signed with the Los Angeles Rams in free agency and Will Dissly signed with the Los Angeles Chargers after being cut by Seattle.

Barner spent his first three college seasons at Indiana before transferring to Michigan, where he started eight games for the national champion Wolverines this past season. The 21-year-old Aurora, Ohio, native is an in-line tight end who profiles more as a run blocker than a pass-catching threat.

Barner had 22 receptions for 249 yards and one touchdown at Michigan last season, including eight catches for a career-high 99 yards and one TD against Michigan State. He finished tied for the team’s fourth-most receiving yards and was primarily the Wolverines’ second tight end behind Colston Loveland, a potential first-round pick in 2025. In his 25 games at Indiana, Barner had 42 catches for 361 yards and four TDs.

Barner joins a Seattle tight end room that includes Noah Fant and Pharaoh Brown. Fant, who re-signed with the Seahawks on a two-year, $21 million deal in March, had 32 catches for 414 yards last year in his second season since coming from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade. Brown, a six-year veteran who spent last season with the New England Patriots, signed a one-year deal with Seattle in March.

Barner played special teams at Michigan under new Seattle Seahawks special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh, who held the same position with the Wolverines. First-year Seattle head coach Mike Macdonald was Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2021, when Barner was still at Indiana. Barner had one catch for 4 yards in Indiana’s 29-7 loss to Michigan that season.

Barner was the second of six expected draft picks for the Seahawks between the fourth and sixth rounds on Saturday.

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