Maxx Williams: Forty time will not make or break his stock

What makes a first round tight end? It’s not as simple as you think.

If you look at the last ten years a real cluster of very different tight ends have been drafted in the first frame. You’d expect to see a bunch of big guys with incredible speed. That isn’t quite the case. Here’s every tight end drafted in the first round since 2005 alongside their forty yard dash time.

There are nine in total:

Eric Ebron (#10, 2014) — 4.60
Tyler Eifert (#21, 2013) — 4.68
Jermaine Gresham (#21, 2010) — 4.66
Brandon Pettigrew (#20, 2009) — 4.83
Dustin Keller (#30, 2008) — 4.53
Greg Olsen (#31, 2007) — 4.51
Vernon Davis (#6, 2006) — 4.38
Marcedes Lewis (#28, 2006) — 4.80
Heath Miller (#30, 2005) — 4.77

Vernon Davis is the only genuine ‘freak of nature’ drafted in the last ten years — he also had a 42 inch vertical to go along with that 4.38 forty. He was 6-3 and 250lbs. It’s no wonder he was a top-ten pick. After that, there were a couple of ‘great’ athletes for their size. Greg Olsen and Dustin Keller both ran in the early 4.5’s — Olsen at 6-6, 254lbs and Keller at 6-3, 242lbs.

Three players ran in the 4.6’s. Eric Ebron almost cracked the 4.5’s but still went in the top ten last year (one pick ahead of Odell Beckham Jr). Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham both ran ‘good but not great’ times in the high 4.6’s. And then you have the downright sluggish times recorded by Brandon Pettigrew, Marcedes Lewis and Heath Miller.

You’re looking at one incredible physical specimen out of nine. The Lewis/Miller/Pettigrew trio were drafted as much for what they did on the field in college as they were for their athleticism. You could pretty much say the same about Eifert (Gresham’s forty time was seen as a surprise, given the athleticism he flashed on the field for Oklahoma).

When you put all this into context — what does it say for Maxx Williams’ chances of going in round one? He’s the only 2015 prospect with any shot at being a day one pick. This is a tremendously weak looking TE class — and that could impact the free agent market for Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron (if they even make it that far).

It’s very difficult to judge how quick Williams is. On tape he looks relatively slow — as he’s running away from defensive backs. It’s a contradictory sentence but still sort of makes sense. “He’s very slowly getting away”. (That’s a Simpsons reference by the way, not to be taken seriously if you happen to stumble across this piece during a Google search Maxx).

Look at the first play in the video below:

He runs right down the seam and is thrown the ball at the 35-yard line. He finishes the play, sprinting home despite being chased by two safety’s and a cornerback. Touchdown. The second play he shows good initial quickness to settle into the underneath zone for a nice gain (before dragging a cornerback downfield for extra yardage). The third play is a touchdown on a wheel route down the left side line. He motions from right-to-left and just beats the linebacker who is far too stiff and slow to react to the play call. Having seen Seattle get beat a few times on TE-wheel routes in 2014, this play felt familiar.

So you seem some quickness, the ability to make YAC and get open on the second level. The fourth play in the video he struggles to gain separation and looks labored. He still makes an incredible one-handed catch for a big first down.

At 6-4 and 250lbs — I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran a 4.7 at the combine. I felt going into this week that his forty time would probably determine if he can make it into round one. Looking at the history of first round tight ends in the last ten years, now I’m not so sure. Clearly teams are willing to consider taking slower TE’s in the first frame — if they provide unique qualities. And I think Williams has shown plenty of these. Plus an average forty time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad athlete. I think this play proves he’s a good athlete, if not a brilliant straight-line runner:

One of the things that made Kevin Norwood stand out last year was his ability to maximize his targets. He didn’t play in a high-volume passing attack. This was the pre-Lane Kiffin Alabama offense. When they did throw, Amari Cooper received most of the attention.

Norwood made several difficult grabs, was adept in the scramble drill and kept making chunk plays for decent yardage. He was consistent, impactful, showed good hands and became a safety net on broken plays. Seattle wants to have the best scrambling offense in the league and that’s why Norwood was so appealing. He also ran a 4.48 and had ten inch hands.

The more I watch Maxx Williams, I think he shares similar traits. Not so much on the broken plays — the passing game is a virtual afterthought at Minnesota and they don’t have the quarterback extending many plays. But when they did throw to Williams at tight end, he just had a knack of making it count. Touchdowns, big plays, third down conversions, difficult leaping grabs, one-handed catches. He doesn’t drop the ball.

Williams led all college tight ends with nine explosive catches (25-plus yards) last season. If you want to believe he’s a possible Seahawks target — the chunk plays, character, consistency, bloodlines and red-zone potential all add up. The only caveat is they took Norwood in the fourth round. Will this combination of skills make up for a lack of game-changing size or speed to warrant a possible three round jump?

I don’t think anyone should judge him for not being a Gronk or Jimmy Graham clone. That’s not what he’s about. Those types of players are so rare. If you’re looking for a guy who can max out his targets, convert a few key third downs, run the seam and show up in the red zone — Williams ticks those boxes. And these are all money situations during a game. He isn’t going to be a 1000-yard monster but he might be a consistent feature, worthy of a few 800-yard seasons pushing 8-10 touchdowns. Throw in above-average blocking skills on a modest CBA-salary and you can see some worth in the latter part of the first round. Especially when you know the depth at the position is so weak in this years class.

I’ve seen comparisons to Olsen (one of the more underrated players in the NFL since he came into the league) and Lane Zierlein went a step further suggesting he compares to Jeremy Shockey. I’m not sure about either comparison personally. He’s a really good player with some physical limitations. I think he can get stronger without losing any speed, adding some extra tone to the upper body. That should make him an even more effective blocker.

The other thing he has going for him of course is the NFL bloodlines. Both his father and grandfather played in the NFL. You better believe teams pay attention to stuff like that. Williams’ mother was also an excellent athlete. He speaks like a player who spent a childhood growing up in a NFL locker room. He’s admitted in interviews he’s tight with Michael Strahan because of the years he spent following his dad’s career with the Giants. He’s not going to be intimidated by ‘the rookie experience’ and will know what to expect. He speaks with eloquence and confidence — plus a passion for the game:

Speed won’t be the deciding factor for Williams. There are so many other strings to his bow. The clutch-catching, the explosive plays, the athleticism shown during that touchdown against Missouri, the consistency and good hands, the character and the bloodlines. It all adds up. All of these traits are easily transferable to the next level. I’m more interested in his vert and broad jump (explosion), hand size and arm length (catching radius).

He won’t be the flashiest player drafted. He won’t have an exciting SPARQ rating. He won’t be the Gronk. But there is so much to like about his overall game. He’s a second round player at the very worst and he has every chance to go in round one — even if he runs an average forty time. I’m not convinced he’ll be Seattle’s pick at #31, but I could see someone else taking him in that kind of range (top-40).

And speaking of tight ends — get ready for Devin Funchess to have a big week in Indianapolis…

Thought I didn't have it. I guess I still do @carislevert @dw10_

A video posted by Devin Funchess (@dfunch) on


  1. Ho Lee Chit

    Yeah, Maxx is a very solid TE prospect. I could see Seattle being interested in the second or third round. I doubt he lasts that long. I would be pleased to see you do a similar write up on the alternatives at TE, especially Jesse James. Maybe the whole position group all in one piece.

    TE’s are not generally game changers but they provide a valuable service by providing the QB with a short range outlet guy and help out the tackles with the speed rushers. They are the body blow to the mid section, while the WR’s are the knock out punch to the head.

    • Dave

      He’s a finisher — the hurdle and dive for the pile-on was amazing! I saw this on Sportcenter but forgot the name until I saw the highlight. I’ve seen a lot of Jason Whitten comparison, but I see more Gronk in the hurdle highlight.

      Thanks Rob for a TE post, are there any other TEs you like in the 2-4 rounds?

      • Rob Staton

        Nick Boyle had a nice Senior Bowl. Wes Saxton has some nice mobility — decent project. Jesse James is intriguing.

        • rowdy

          Wes Saxton, isn’t he from south Alabama?

        • Dave

          There’s not much tape on Nick Boyle. Unfortunately the Delaware Blue Hens don’t appear too many times on ESPN. I watched most of the game against Sacred Heart in 2014. Boyle is a really good blocker, his kick step looks like an OT’s and will help Britt out a lot. The hurdle in the Senior Bowl was pretty spectacular too.

    • Alaska Norm

      Jesse James might have the rare traits that the Seahawks love. Would be an interesting pick up for sure.

      • rowdy

        He could but do those traits out way his limitations? He’s a very Interesting prospect For sure. Other then this blog you don’t hear much about him, one guys always talking about him. Definitely want to see more of him, I haven’t found much as off now.

    • hawkfaninMT

      I know we have several HS wrestlers on the team.. And Jesse James would be another to add to the list. Is the wrestling connection a coincidence, or is it something that the Hawks, and in particular Cable, look for? Thoughts from Rob or the Peanut gallery?

      • Volume 12

        Thoughts from the peanut gallery: It may be something that TC looks for in O-lineman, because it is very similar.

        As for TE Jesse James, I like the kid and he has some desirable athletic traits, but he’s kind of an ‘under-achiever.’ Yeah, I know Penn St’s QB play wasn’t great, but it’s not like WR D’Sean Hamilton wasn’t productive.

  2. Volume 12

    One TE that I think compares somewhat favorably to Vernon Davis, at least in terms of size, grit, hands, and blocking technique is Iowa St TE EJ Bibbs. I’ll be monitoring hike closely.

    He’s a great teammate and high character as well.

  3. Bruce M.

    Funchess looks pretty damn Sparq-y to me. Head at the rim at 230+. Looks like he needs some weight, though, if he’s going to block in line effectively….

    • Ben

      I don’t think he’s a TE for Seattle. He can dominate the perimeter as a blocker, and he’s got enough speed to threaten corners deep. I think his ceiling is higher as a WR.

  4. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Fuchness seems like a fit for New England at #32. He could also see himself possibly going to a team, such as the Chargers or Broncos, both of which are going to be in the market for TEs.

    • bigDhawk

      I was thinking Maxx would be a fit for NE at 32.

  5. Attyla the Hawk

    That’s funny about him just slowly pulling away.

    I noticed that early on when watching his tape, and even in my notes, I wrote down, “Kind of slow. Jerry Rice kind of slow. He’s slow but just can’t seem to get caught.” That was a huge perceived liability to Jerry coming out. But he just had a knack for going less slow than everyone else when they were chasing him. On my final line, I wrote down: Game Speed +.

    Man can get open. IMO, the best player in the draft for what ails Seattle at this time: A reliable intermediate range matchup who can move the chains. This offense is explosive. And when we can surmount the occasional 3rd down hurdle, we can score points big time. Our inability to get past the third and medium scenario is retarding our point production.

    More than red zone efficiency. It’s about keeping the ball. We may have poor red zone efficiency. But we also score outside the red zone at an elite clip. Getting 2 more third down conversions per game is like getting 5 additional points per game on average. Not to mention being more able to flip the field and to put opponents in more predictable passing scenarios.

    He’s a player who could easily change us from an 11 personnel dominated lineup, to a 12 personnel package. WR isn’t our deepest position. We enjoy some flexibility with our current TEs, in that Miller is a very good blocker, decent receiver. Willson is an emerging receiver and a competent blocker. Williams is a bit more like Willson. But I expect him to be a better receiver in terms of skill. Which is important when you’re playing in a phone booth. Willson needs space and seams to run. Williams is better inside in zones and adept at seams. But likely won’t have Willson’s speed advantage.

    Seattle needs that guy who can get catches in amongst the defense. Williams looks like he’s adept at doing just that.

    But beyond that, all three are flexible enough that Seattle can use a 12 package for run or pass equally. Which is a pretty good advantage to have, because you force defenses to go with a more base package look.

    • SunPathPaul

      I have to say Attyla that I was kinda shocked that we didn’t throw to Luke Willson once in the SB. ?
      Why don’t we deliberately use or TE’s, and 2 TE sets for throwing the ball regularly?
      One week Willson has 2 TD’s and over 100 yards, next game ZERO targets… Bad coaching in my opinion.

      Bad coaching and game planning if we don’t use our TE’s as a threat. Why not? Tax the defense from all over the field. I’m hoping that the addition of Brennan Carroll is an addition to the passing game game planning!!?!!

      We need some diversity in Bevell’s passing system to aid our team and new WR now.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        I was equally stumped on that. I felt that Willson would be a significant factor in this game heading in. A real mismatch opportunity for us as a guy who either would command Hightower’s coverage (limited) or pull Collins out in coverage, leaving Wilson against Hightower.

        That never materialized. I have to admit, I’ve not looked at the all-22 and I really don’t plan to at this point. It’s too tough to relive and rehash a game I felt we had in the bag before the 4th quarter began. To see that certainty of a title evaporate and then to see what would have been one of the greatest championship drives of all time (rivaling the SF/Cincy drive in 89) result in crushing defeat — I just can bring myself to relive that.

        • SunPathPaul

          I understand not rewatching it. I’ll be going along through the day and all of a sudden (Just RUN the DAMN BALL!) pops up in my head, and I’m reliving it all over again…

          If we can get a TE that makes the roster and can catch well, I do hope to see more 2 TE sets…

          Maybe they will learn that TE’s should be central to any game plan, not an afterthought…

        • AlaskaHawk

          Overall the Seahawks don’t consistently pass to tight ends. I blame that on blocking assignments, pass routes and planning. They need a coach that can design pass plays and design a counter to defense. Thinking back to that throw to Lockette, that could have been a tight end running the slant. Someone with more bulk and strength then our wide receivers. I guess the Seahawks will keep drafting tight ends. I don’t think Miller will be back unless he is faster after healing up. He isn’t worth keeping as a blocker when we have offensive linemen that can block from that position.

    • sdcoug

      “More than red zone efficiency. It’s about keeping the ball. ”

      Thank you for saying this. Everyone wants that explosive deep threat. I just want to keep moving the chains. One or two more drives each game rescued by a 3rd down conversion could just be huge for this offense (and as you said, Defense as well)

      • Attyla the Hawk

        It’s worth noting a couple things too:

        1. We already are amongst the best in the league at getting explosive plays. That is one of the happy byproducts of having a great play action game that opposing defenses MUST focus on defending. Getting explosive plays downfield has not been an issue for this team even with the talent we do have.

        2. We also have a very good chain mover player in Doug Baldwin. The unfortunate thing is, we don’t have any other really good options. Defenses can rather easily take Doug away by design. They cheat coverage and personnel to force Seattle to go to other options. And those options are generally poorly equipped to deliver first downs. That’s where losing Harvin was difficult. Because like it or not, he was an impact player on his 3rd down targets. Richardson fared kind of poorly in that regard, only converting 4 of 11 3rd down targets.

        Willson did ok, converting 14 of 26 third downs.

        Kearse managed to convert 8 of 19 third downs.

        Baldwin and Willson were clearly the better third down performers. The only two to manage over 50% conversion rates on targets. Seattle just didn’t have any quality alternatives to those two.

        Adding a second quality option to what we have should provide very significant improvement to Seattle’s offense as it’s constituted right now. Certainly a second wide out option should have a cascading effect for Willson who is emerging as a real quality contributor in both third down conversions and explosive plays in the middle.

        Seattle really could address this nicely in this draft. Whether it’s Maxx, or Phillip Dorsett or McBride or even a Perriman type of receiver. Guys that indicate they can get open in that intermediate area of the field. I like all 4 prospects in their ability to get loose quickly and provide separation in the intermediate zone.

        These aren’t ‘red zone target’ types necessarily. But I truly feel this offense is hamstrung more by the lack of good receivers to target in the 4 to 8 yard range, than I do guys to throw the red line fade.

    • Jake

      That’s my take as well on Williams vs. all other receiving prospects as well Attyla. I think his ability to catch in conflict is unmatched in this class, and the Seahawks need that if Zach Miller is let go. If he’s kept for one more season, Williams could still provide depth and an obvious succession plan.

      The ability to catch in conflict is what got Heath Miller drafted in the first round back in the day, despite him being slow. Heath Miller was widely viewed to have the best hands in his class of ANY receiver in his class, I think Maxx Williams is in his class as a receiver and blocker. I for one would be elated if the Seahawks drafted Maxx at 1.31.

  6. SunPathPaul

    As Maxx Williams looks to be a top 40 pick, he probably isn’t going to end up a Seahawk…

    I would love to hear your thoughts Rob on the other candidates. Feels like Te may be a 2-5th round pick for us. We definitely could use another diverse TE for our roster, esp if Z Miller is a cap casualty.

    If we could grab a dynamic WR and TE in this draft, that would sure help out RW!

  7. CA

    Although I see Jason Witten-like upside to Williams, I can’t help but lean toward Funchess if I have to pick between these two. I think with our current TE group, Funchess brings more in terms of physical mismatch. Witten has 2 inches and 15 lbs on Williams. Although measurables don’t make the player- I like Funchess to fall a little longer than Williams anyways. This team needs to hit in the draft on a WR moreso than a TE, so I like the idea of waiting patiently in mid rounds for someone who presents a bigger physical mismatch. I don’t fancy the idea of drafting a TE in the first 3 rounds when we can potentially land our WR, CB, and DE by then.

    • manthony

      And in your draft we dont address the OL in the first 3 rounds? Not addressing the oline is what did Holmgrens hawks in and it looks like u want to see that again, interesting. Fyi, it doesnt matter who u have at WR if u cant get them the ball

      • Volume 12

        I don’t think Seattle hasn’t addressed the O-line, 1 top 10 pick, 1 late 1st rounder, a 2nd rounder, a 3rd rounder who’s’ no longer on the team, multiple day 3 additions and UDFAs.

        If Seattle doesn’t re-sign Big Carp, they have Alvin Bailey, plus there’s really good value in, say round 4. SD St’s Terry Poole, Texas A&Ms Jarvis Harrison, Utah’s Jeremiah Poutasi, Hobart’s Ali Marpet, Oklahoma’s Adam Shead to name a few.

        I’m anticipating that round 4 will have great value this year, much like it did last year.

        • Rob Staton

          I think only Dallas have pumped more stock into their offensive line over the last few years. Seattle has put more draft stock into the OL than any other position on the team.

          • manthony

            Idk, it still seems like a weakness to me, Okung, Carp, and Unger are the only 3 i oike, and Max is hurt a lot and Carp might be gone, plus Okung is looking a little slower every game. Just cuz we’ve vested a lot of picks there isnt a reason not to. If it needs fixing, fix it. I’d like to see some extra beef up front considering we play the Rams, Niners, and Cards twice, and AZ will have Washington and Dockett back this go around. And we play the AFC north this year, they’re all stout defensive fronts. So thats 10 games where i think an olineman would benefit us greater then a CB or DE. Im also a former olineman in h.s., but everyone wants to salivate over a big target, (which would be cool), but i think if we had a line with 3 or 4 studs on it, that would propel this offense to greater heights.

            • Rob Staton

              The line can improve — although I think it’s also hard to judge given how tough it is to block for a.) a run-first offense and b.) a unique scrambling QB. Teams know Seattle wants to run and they don’t fear getting beaten by the receivers so they stack the box. It’s a perfect storm for a defense in that regard. Put a couple of ace targets on the field and you’ll see a lot less pressure on the OL and Wilson. They need guys who can get open… and guys who have the size so even when they’re covered they’re still open.

              • manthony

                Yeah that is true, it seems like Russ did have a lot of time to throw in the SB and the Big Target arguement gained a lot of validity there. More then anything, i just hope we can get a bunch of guys that can come in and contribute.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      I admit I am not a Funchess fan.

      1. He is a lousy blocker. He’s lousy even by WR standards. It’s one of those strikingly bad things that really when Schneider talks about desire and loving football and such — I immediately think Funchess is the kind of guy he’s referring to when he talks about striking them off their board.

      2. He isn’t very good at getting decent separation quickly. He’s a long strider who looks like he’ll do well on the 9 routes. His hands are magoo. I don’t see a guy talented at the short/intermediate game. Honestly, I don’t even see him as an upgrade to Chris Matthews at this stage. Funchess could develop well after the draft. But the body of work I see tells me he has such a long way to go to get into the conversation of playing time in the first place.

      He is significantly worse in my estimation, than Kelvin Benjamin was last year. He has crazy athleticism. But he doesn’t look like he applies that advantage in games. His skill set looks very meager.

      I could be way off on this. It’s merely my opinion on him. I just don’t see an impact player when I watch him.

      • bigDhawk

        I think you are right on point with the recent JS grit comments when evaluating effort before athleticism, especially with an upside prospect like Funchess. This is exactly the kind of thing that will devalue a player like Funchess and elevate a player like Williams.

  8. rowdy

    His footwork is incredible! No wasted movement but always squared up with his body and his toe tapping is elite.

  9. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Thank Walterfootball for a few of these guys. The kid out of BYU really intrigues me…. and at a late round bargain price. The guy I would love to see is Boyle in the 3rd round to Seattle, but the other guys to keep an eye on are listed below….

    Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware (Stand out at All star Game) Note: Blocking TE.
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 273. Projected 40 Time: 4.85. Projected Round (2015): 3-6.

    Pharaoh Brown, TE, Oregon (Injured)
    Height: 6-6. Weight: 250. Projected 40 Time: 4.69. Projected Round (2015): 4-6.

    Devin Mahina, TE, BYU Note: Blocking TE, with hands
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 251. Projected 40 Time: 4.??. Projected Round (2015) 5-FA.

    Long story short, the Seahawks need a true blocking TE.. which can be found later in the draft, starting late 3rd round – FA.

    • Volume 12

      Pharaoh Brown is only a JR, and had a devastating leg injury this year. I hope he can make it back.

      Pharaoh is an athletic TE, that seems to be what every team is looking for. It’s a real shame what’s happened to him.

  10. Ross

    I love this guy. Not the flashiest athlete but he’s just looks so rounded and reliable. He could be Wilson’s Jason Witten.

    And he’s only 20 years old.

    I guess my problem is that I don’t know if he’s worth a low first/high second round pick if one a Collins or a Harold are there.

  11. Lil'stink

    LOL at the Simpsons reference, from back when it was still a great show.

  12. matt509

    Rob, here is a solid QB prospect who could find his way into the first round. Brandon Bridge out of South Alabama. He’s big, fast, and has a cannon. He kinda reminds me of Newton and how he’ll stand there and sling darts. Very strong arm.

    • rowdy

      He looks more like Logan Thomas. Extremely raw and needs a lot of coaching. Looks to have everything physically but not sure if he has it mentally. Miss St. D is on point though. I’ll tell you one thing though, I hope the hawks don’t draft one of his receivers. ET has better hands.

      • matt509

        I was comparing one thing of Newton to him. It wasn’t a full comparison.

      • matt509

        Logan Thomas does fit. I think he has a great future in the NFL.

  13. Ghost Mutt

    “He’s very slowly getting away”.

    I vote that from this point forward, Maxx is only referred to as “Big Daddy”

  14. Phil

    If drafting Maxx (or another TE) allows us to save cap $$ by cutting Miller, I’m all in — not that I don’t like Miller, but we have to keep replacing our aging players with less expensive alternatives if we are going to sustain the level of our play.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Honestly, I believe Miller gives us real good value for the cap spend. Miller is still a valuable and savvy TE target. Wilson missed having him out there.

      Even if we pick up a Williams, I like the ability to pair Miller and Williams together. Both have excellent flexibility and it forces the defense to play both equally honest, while also preventing the ability to reliably cheat the line in the run game — despite the offense offering a heavy run set.

      If you have both Miller and Williams, you can run most of your offense from the same configuration. I’m not going to lie, I don’t really like our WR corps in terms of talent. And I certainly don’t think we should be dipping into the 3rd best and 4th best of that group with the regularity that we do.

      I also like the ability to have Williams/Willson in the lineup. Gives Seattle the flexibility to start them in tight, then motion one (or both) out wide to manufacture a 3/4 wide from a base set.

      It just intrigues me to have the ability to run most of your offense with the same personnel package. Willson/Miller/Williams offer an interesting and flexible mix of talents with a great deal of redundancy.

      • Phil

        If the Seahawks were to draft Maxx, I don’t see them keeping Miller, so I just don’t see Miller and Maxx on the field at the same time — I see Maxx as a complement to Willson and a less-expensive alternate to Miller.

        • seanmatt

          If we drafted Williams I think that it would be best to keep Miler. Williams would be the 3rd TE on the roster in my mind and he would essentially red-shirt is Miller stays healthy or get playing time when Miller gets hurt. I really like the idea of him being under Miller’s wing during camp. Miller took a pay cut to stay with the team and I would like to see the Hawks reward him for that by keeping him on the roster. I think that Miller would respond to playing out his contract by being a professional and taking on the mentor role with Williams. I still have hopes for Willson ( he could progress in his third year like Tate did) but even is he progresses he’s a move TE and not a TE for base sets. Have Williams learn under Miller and he takes over Miller’s spot in 2016 and hopefully Willson can become the Winslow-esque move TE that we’ve been looking for.

      • Phil

        Taking my line of reasoning a step further, if the front office intends to keep Miller, I don’t see them using a #1 or #2 pick (what it would take to get Maxx) on a TE.

        • Attyla the Hawk

          Well, you wouldn’t if we planned on rolling out 11 personnel packages to the degree that we have the last couple years.

          Adding a Williams early would or at least should, usher in a different style of offense. One that Seattle would actually benefit from being a team that likes to run the ball more than they throw.

          Not to try and highlight the worst play in the season, but the concept still applies. Seattle has more flexibility with a 2 TE set. They can run or pass equally well. If a team goes with a goal line package, Seattle doesn’t have to try to counter with a pass set and completely concede the threat of the run. If instead of running a rub route at the 1, you have either Williams or Miller matched up with a midget undrafted strong safety at the goal line. I like that matchup much better to be honest. And I do believe that kind of predictability that we concede with our propensity for using 3 and 4 wide packages tends to limit our efficacy in converting 3rd downs as a whole.

          Bottom line is, we don’t have to throw out our versatility because our personnel package limits our run/pass options. That kind of balanced threat enhances our ability to exploit mismatches offered up by the defensive personnel on the field. Seattle isn’t forced to just ‘waste a play’ if their base allows them the option to run despite a defense trying to take that away. Nor does having the ability to go 2 TE more reliably eliminate our ability to still go 3 or 4 wide. That option would still remain.

          • SunPathPaul

            I agree Attyla, I’m confused as to why we don’t use more 2 TE Sets with 1 or both running routes?

            I see other teams make 3rd down after 3rd down with a little route from a TE over the middle. Just watch Jason Witten! (One of the best ever, mind you) But why don’t we have those routes as options? If Revis and BB had our 2 WR’s shut down, then where is the use of the TE? No where!

            I hope we diversify our offensive play calling and schemes more this year. It seems like we are stubborn!! RUN RUN RUN doesn’t mean we can’t:

            1)Identify WR/TE mismatches 2)Exploit them 3)Do it Over and Over until they stop it…

          • Phil

            I don’t see how “adding Williams early would or at least should, usher in a different style of offense” (2 TE sets). If the Seahawks want to run more plays with 2 TEs, they can team Williams with Willson, instead of Williams with Miller. I think having a heavy TE (Miller/Williams) teamed with Willson provides more flexibility than having 2 heavy TEs on the filed at the same time.

            • SunPathPaul

              If both TE’s are versatile and can run routes and catch, then I’m fine w that…

              We just need the defense to have to be aware of BOTH TE’s as weapons…

            • Attyla the Hawk

              ” If the Seahawks want to run more plays with 2 TEs, they can team Williams with Willson, instead of Williams with Miller. I think having a heavy TE (Miller/Williams) teamed with Willson provides more flexibility than having 2 heavy TEs on the filed at the same time.”

              Miller and Williams are both better blockers. And Miller’s age and speed decline aside, Miller has been a quality intermediate receiving option for Seattle.

              Pairing those two specifically would make for a very flexible heavy set where you can run effectively or pass. Both can be used as edge blockers nicely, and either one can be reserved to protect while the other goes into the pattern. The unpredictability that a 2 TE set of Williams and Miller simultaneously provides means defenses can’t key or slant their coverage towards your intended target without completely guessing.

              Additionally, having a Willson/Williams pairing on downs where you are more likely to pass affords the same value. You still retain the option to run out of that set effectively if the defense goes to nickel. Or if they don’t, you can spread one (or both) out wide.

              Ultimately, keeping Miller and Willson and Williams on the roster allows Seattle to dictate matchups in their favor on all downs one through three. And their interchangeability of roles provides Seattle with the advantage of operating their full playbook regardless of down/distance — all while prohibiting defenses from accurately predicting the plays based on alignment or grouping.

              Miller’s contract is really team friendly at this point. I don’t necessarily see his deal as being an impediment to resigning players we want to keep, or to eliminate most UFA/depth options. Jettisoning him for the sake of his cap value (2.3m) is a bit pointless. Unless you’re talking about needing that cap for a really good player.

              I wouldn’t even really consider cutting him for a Cameron type TE to be a wise move. Cameron’s health issues aside, he’s not a dual threat/inline TE. Seattle’s bread and butter is still the run. Miller is still a very valuable asset in the run game. If we were to let him go, we’d be in the market for another TE of his skill set.

              • bigDhawk

                Agree about Miller. If we can expect any reasonable amount of health from him in 2015 I want him back and starting. Both the interception he saved and the circus catch he made in week one against GB was worth his price of admission for he year.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        “Wilson missed having him out there.”

        That’s the point. He’s not out there, and $3mm is a lot to pay for someone who’s always injured.

        • Attyla the Hawk

          And that’s the fallacy.

          Miller has played 14+ games for 7 straight years until he was injured in week 3. He’s been very durable throughout his career. But having missed 2 games in 2013 to injury, followed by his early loss last year imparts a sense that he’s injury prone. When in actuality, he’s been very reliable for us and throughout his career.

          He does get knicked up throughout the season. But has been a beast at playing through pain.

  15. Volume 12

    WOW! Unicorn Charlie, you may have found my newest draft crush. BYU TE Devin Mahina is going to end up a steal for someone.

    He’s a very uniquely built TE (6’6, 251 lbs.), and easily has the frame to add another 8-10 pounds if needed. Has nice length, and the physique of these ‘new age’ TEs, but his run-blocking is fantastic. He high points the ball well, always presents his QB with a good look, turns and locates the ball nicely, and washes his man out of numerous run plays, and obviously has the athleticism to line up in the slot. It’s also not lost on me that he’s already quite familiar playing in a read-option offense. It doesn’t bother me one bit that he doesn’t run away from guys, because Seattle already has that in TE Luke Wilson. This kid Mahina is a run blocker, a security blanket, and a red zone target.

    Here’s his highlights:

    • matt509

      Here is another prospect I found watching Mahina. He’s his teammate, Paul Lasike. He plays HB and FB. The highlights show a lot of his running ability, blocking as a FB, and pass catching. He’s a really solid all around prospect.

  16. AlaskaHawk

    I can see Miller as a mentor to the tight ends. He was moving very slow this year. I don’t think he is fast enough to play anymore, but maybe he will surprise me when he gets healed up and rested.

  17. matt509

    Here are a couple of solid prospects out of Liberty. Both highlights. One is a safety that seems to always be around the ball and the other is a WR that looks to have good size and speed.

  18. Volume 12

    Rob, I may have asked you this previously, but what do you think of Iowa St TE EJ Bibbs?

    Is a Vernon Davis mixed in with some Dwayne Allen a good comp?

    • Rob Staton

      Not watched him yet V12.

      • Volume 12

        Oh. I was just saying he has Vernon’s hands and build, but more of Allen’s skill set.

      • Volume 12

        Sorry to keep asking you what you think of so and so prospect, but I noticed you mentioned something above about about S. Alabama TE Wes Saxton. Is he a good fit for Seattle in your opinion, or is he somewhat redundant to TE Luke Willson?

        • matt509

          I was watching Saxton and realized the QB I mentioned before was throwing to him. Both seem like really good prospects. Saxton has some good looks against D1 teams. They used him lined up at WR more than anything. He seems more like a possession type big body receiver more than a seam burner like Willson. I would like to see him blocking more. Besides that I like what he has to offer. You have been scouting TE heavily?

          • Volume 12

            Yeah, I guess I kind of have been. For some reason I just have a feeling that Seattle will sign a FA and then draft one anywhere from rounds 3-5. Just a hunch, I mean obviously if a Williams or Walford are sitting there and one of them is ‘their guy’ then by all means go get ’em.

            TE Walford does have a Julius Thomas vibe about him. They both are former basketball players and have similar size and playing styles. IMO Thomas is a better athlete, while Walford is a much better blocker.

            Clive Walford is very ‘Seahawky’ IMO. A real gritty/tough football player. Very mature with a family too.

            • matt509

              JS said he had a good feeling about this draft class and I can see why. I have a feeling this draft will be special for Seattle.

              • Volume 12

                Totally agree. Very excited for this year’s draft. I think Seattle will replenish their depth and add 2-3 highly impactful players their 1st year.

                Also think they’ll make a splash move in FA and another ‘under the radar’ type signing.

        • Rob Staton

          I think given he’d be a later round guy, you could afford to bring him in unless you go big on the position in FA.

    • matt509

      I’ve been watching the TE out of Miami, Clive Walford. He’s got great size and looks athletic enough to be a problem in the passing game.

      • Volume 12

        Yup. Clive is probably my favorite TE in this class. I just wonder if he’ll be available after the 2nd round, since this TE class lacks real talent at the top. IMO he may be over-drafted.

        • matt509

          I could see him being the first TE taken. Close to the early 2nd-mid 2nd round. For some reason he reminds me of Julius Thomas.

  19. Volume 12

    He isn’t a TE, but one guy I haven’t seen mentioned on here is Florida St WR Rashad Greene. He’s almost become an afterthought. Started off this year red hot and then cooled down considerably, but he’s a very smooth/natural WR. I myself somewhat forgot about him.

    Thoughts on him?

    • Rob Staton

      Dependable, technically gifted. Would be awesome on a short passing offense.

    • matt509

      I am SOOO glad you mentioned him. I was going to ask about him but I spouted off so many names of players I wanted to take a break. I was watching him and the first name that came to me was Golden Tate. You’re right, he’s very smooth catching the ball and making a move afterwards. He’s also got great vision in open field, which I think is a very underrated part of Tate’s game. The more I watch him the more I like him over Agholor, Dorsett, Lockett, or Crowder. Right now my top two guys at 31 are Jaelon Strong and Greene. Strong might have a lot to prove but I really love his ability to make plays. He reminds me of Anquan Boldin with his physical play. I wouldn’t be upset with either of those two.

      While i’m at it, I was watching Antwan Goodley of Baylor and couldn’t help but tell he looked like Reggie Bush in open space. He’s got the body of a RB. I wouldn’t mind seeing him convert.

  20. Travis Williams

    Eric Ebron (#10, 2014) — 4.60
    Tyler Eifert (#21, 2013) — 4.68
    Jermaine Gresham (#21, 2010) — 4.66
    Brandon Pettigrew (#20, 2009) — 4.83
    Dustin Keller (#30, 2008) — 4.53
    Greg Olsen (#31, 2007) — 4.51
    Vernon Davis (#6, 2006) — 4.38
    Marcedes Lewis (#28, 2006) — 4.80
    Heath Miller (#30, 2005) — 4.77

    Given this list of 1st round TEs (copied and pasted from the article), I’d like to pose this question. With the benefit of hindsight, would you invest a 1st round pick into any of these players if you had a chance to do it over again?

    I’d take VD again in a heartbeat, and would probably take Miller as well. The rest of the guys though? None of them really busted hard, but (with the possible exception of Olson) none of them are difference makers on offense.

    I’m not arguing against a 1st round TE strictly on principle. But a guy like Williams I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. If I can’t get a SPARQed up superfreak I’d rather “gold pan” the position and cycle late rounders and UDFA’s till someone sticks than go out and get the next Brandon Pettigrew.

    • Rob Staton

      Olsen has definitely been worth the #31 pick for me. Lewis has played in some bad offenses but in his career has had over 3000 yards and nearly 30 TD’s. He’s played for the Jags his entire career. On a different roster he could’ve been deadly.

      • monkey

        Agreed on both counts, but the real question then is, do you see Maxx morphing into either of those two?
        As someone who lives in Fargo North Dakota and therefore subjected to near constant bombardment of Minnesota sports news, I usually recoil at the suggestion of my Seahawks drafting Minnesota Gopher players with few exceptions.
        This is definitely one of them! I could definitely see Maxx developing into a Greg Olsen or eventually Zack Miller type of player, a guy who shows terrific hands, and is an every down player because of his blocking skills.
        Maxx can block, and is an especially nasty run blocker (yeah that fits!), but his hands are EXTREMELY reliable for someone who is so rarely targeted compared to other top collegiate tight ends.
        He makes the most of his limited targets, and that too seems to fit what Seattle would look for.
        The only thing that doesn’t necessarily fit, Maxx isn’t a standout SPARQ guy.
        Otherwise he definitely ticks all the boxes.

    • Jake

      I’d take all of these guys in a heartbeat in the first: Olsen, Miller, Davis, Lewis.
      Jury’s still out on Eifert (who seemed to be worth the pick in his limited action) and Ebron (who only had one year).

      Gresham, Pettigrew, and Keller have been disappointing though.

      Zach Ertz should have been a 1st round pick, he compares favorably to most of these guys. He would have made the YES list as well. I believe Maxx Williams could be for Wilson what Heath Miller was for Big Ben. He catches everything, no matter how tightly contested the ball.

  21. RealRhino2

    Any chance the Hawks actually package some draft picks and move up this year? It’s frustrating seeing us stockpile a bunch of picks only to have half of them not make the team. I’m starting to feel like we might be suffering from “smartest guys in the room” syndrome.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s possible, for the right player.

    • matt509

      Why is it frustrating? It brings in more competition for the team and it gives you a better chance of hitting on the draft picks.

    • monkey

      I too wonder why that’s frustrating.
      Personally, I root for them to continue to trade down and stockpile picks, because it’s such a proven formula. The Patriots have done this fro years, with great success.
      The Seahawks have gone to back to back Super Bowls, and have built the team from the time that Pete and John was hired, by mostly following the stockpiling picks formula.
      I see no reason to change now…
      Of course, if someone the front office felt was a game changer, were available and they trade up to get him, I would be ecstatic, but otherwise, why fix what ain’t broken?

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