Huard: Why the Seahawks currently have 9 tight ends on the roster
Going into last month’s draft, two positions that it seemed like the Seahawks had solid depth at were offensive line and tight end. So naturally, Seattle used three of their eight selections on those two position groups.
While it looks like third-round guard Damien Lewis could be an immediate starter at right guard, the two tight ends selected – Colby Parkinson (Stanford, fourth round) and Stephen Sullivan (LSU, seventh round) – will be fighting against four veteran tight ends in a loaded tight end room in Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson, who are more proven. Additionally, the Seahawks added two tight ends in undrafted free agency in Dom Wood-Anderson (Tennessee) and Tyler Mabry (Maryland) and also have 2019 undrafted rookie tight end Justin Johnson on the roster as well.
NFL teams typically carry between three and five tight ends during the regular season, so why do the Seahawks have nine at the moment? Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard explained why to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant.
“I think they’ve got nine because they love the competition at that position,” he said. “That is an area where across the league, there tends to be a shortage, especially at cut down time at the end of training camp. The teams are looking and I think there’s a possibility out of those nine that you could see someone traded at the end of camp.”
Olsen and Dissly appear to be locks to make the team and it would be surprising if Parkinson didn’t, either. The team invested future draft capital to acquire Sullivan, so he figures to be around as well. That could mean Hollister and/or Willson ends up on the trading block.
Another key reason the Seahawks have so many tight ends, Huard said, is because of what each of them brings to the table.
“There’s nine very unique, different guys. There’s some that are a lot taller, some that are a lot bigger, some that are better blockers, some that have a lot of age and wisdom and experience on them there are some from Canada that don’t believe in the moon landing,” Huard said, with the last “trait” alluding to Willson. “I think you’ve got, at that position, the most diverse of all skill sets on this team and you know the head coach and GM love diverse skill sets.”
“If you had nine that were very similar that were 5.0 (second 40-yard dash runners) and 6-4 and 250 and just similar cardboard cutouts, that’d be one thing,” Huard continued. “But you’ve got a kid from LSU (Sullivan) that ran 4.6. You’ve got Colby Parkinson that’s 6-7 with ‘go go gadget’ arms. You’ve got Jacob Hollister who’s a very smart guy and is a former quarterback who sees the game and runs really good routes and has a tremendous view in the passing game. Greg Olsen has tremendous experience. Will Dissly is the biggest at 270 pounds and is by far the best blocker. Luke Willson is willing and able and sacrificial and has been (through his career).”
And because of those different skill sets and abilities, expect to see many of those nine guys stick around with the Seahawks for 2020.
“You go through the list and each of them do bring a little different component, so as you go into building this team and you put that final 53-man roster together and an expanded practice squad with 10 guys, I think you start to say, ‘I like this and I want to see how it all fits and works’ and more than likely (Seattle) will have two tight ends on the practice squad when all is said and done,” Huard said.