It wasn’t too long ago that tight end was considered a possible need area for the Seahawks.
Right now, it doesn’t seem quite so vital.
Seattle had 69 offensive snaps against the Falcons yesterday. They used the fullback Michael Robinson (21) nearly as many times as Luke Willson (25). I suspect for most of snaps involving Robinson they didn’t use two TE’s.
They may well move away from the fullback if Robinson’s return is temporary. But we’ve seen how much Marshawn Lynch benefits from a trusted lead blocker.
Zach Miller is the perfect tight end for a run-centric offense. He blocks well. He makes enough plays in the passing game. He knows Tom Cable’s scheme inside out. And while he’s no Jimmy Graham — who is?
Miller’s cap hit goes from $11m to $7m in 2014. It drops to $6m in 2015. They might be able to do a deal to spread the cost out a little, perhaps with an extra year added to the end. Miller is only 27 after all (he turns 28 in December).
Willson has shown some promise in a limited role. He seems to get a target on every opening drive. I also wouldn’t rule out a return for Anthony McCoy. He’s been with Pete Carroll a long time, he’ll be cheap.
There’s also the chance another former USC prospect such as Fred Davis comes onto the radar. He’ll be a free agent next year. And he too wouldn’t cost the earth after a rough couple of seasons in Washington.
So is tight end a big need?
Not unless there’s an unmissable guy.
Offensive line and, depending on cuts, defensive line depth appears to be more of a pressing long term need.
I’m not sure there’s even any tight ends worthy of first round investment.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins entered the year as a viable first round option — but he’s had an underwhelming season. It started with a DUI and subsequent suspension, his role has decreased.
Does he warrant such a high pick?
Particularly when so many good college tight ends have drifted out of the first round in recent years.
And more than anything, has he played within his means at Washington? Has he ever truly delivered on his potential? If not, will we ever get to see it in the NFL?
I found Tony Pauline’s tight end rankings, published today, pretty interesting.
He listed Seferian-Jenkins as a third round prospect. “Can be an overwhelming force but shows a lot of inconsistency and does not play up to his level of ability.” That just about sums it up. That and the fact he’s unlikely to run the kind of combine time that’ll raise eyebrows.
Interestingly, Pauline has Jace Amaro as his only definite first round pick. “Dynamic tight end that’s quickly developing a complete game. Shows himself to be the go-to receiver that cannot be stopped.”
I need to spend a bit more time looking at Amaro. Recently he made it clear he wouldn’t declare for the 2014 draft, but this weekend he seemed to be giving it more thought…
If you have no other reason to go out to this game, come for our Seniors. Who knows, it might be my last game at the Jones too. #WreckKSU
— Jace Amaro (@J_ACER22) November 7, 2013
On the year he has 1102 receiving yards in Texas Tech’s always productive offense. He only has four touchdowns though, so is he enough of a red zone threat?
Despite perhaps not needing to make tight end an ultimate priority, dynamic playmakers are hard to find. Especially 6-5, 260lbs pass-catchers who can get downfield. If he’s the real deal, can you ignore him? Especially if there’s an early rush on the offensive line?
Again, much could depend on just how much of an athlete he is. Tyler Eifert benefited from being the fastest runner at the 2013 combine — clocking a 4.65. Jimmy Graham had a 4.56 in 2010 while Jordan Cameron managed a 4.53. Teams are looking out for guys like that now.
Of the other names listed by Pauline, North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is intriguing yet frustrating. He’s capable of amazing plays and being a difference maker, but he’s also flashed inconsistent effort and hands. He plays at his own pace.
Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz is a good blocker but might not be much of a receiver. After that, it’s not much of a class.
If Seattle finds a 4.5-4.6 guy who will take this offense to another level, then fair enough. Otherwise there may just be too many other priorities early on.