Why the Seahawks might be interested in Hunter Bryant

November 29th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Hunter Bryant helped the Huskies win the Apple Cup today

Washington won the Apple Cup again for the seventh straight time today.

John Schneider, unsurprisingly, was in attendance.

It’s not exactly headline news that the local NFL GM took in the game. It’s an easy opportunity to get a look at some of the pro talent particularly on the Washington roster.

Nick Harris is an underrated center who could be an off-season riser as the process develops. Trey Adams will get a shot somewhere — although his medical checks will determine how early he goes.

The player the Seahawks might be most interested in though could be tight end Hunter Bryant.

Husky fans will be quick to mention his drops. That is an issue that warrants consideration. Yet there are a significant number of positives to mention too.

Short-area quickness

A lot of people will tell you Bryant isn’t ‘fast’. Admittedly at SPARQ he ran only a 4.82. If you’re expecting him to test like Evan Engram (who he’s occasionally compared to) you’ll be disappointed. Engram ran a 4.42 at the combine at 234lbs. Bryant isn’t going to be in that ball-park.

Where he should test well, however, is the short shuttle. At SPARQ he ran an excellent 4.35.

There’s evidence to suggest the Seahawks pay a lot of attention to the short shuttle at the tight end position:

Luke Willson — 4.29
Will Dissly — 4.40 (8th best in 2018)
Nick Vannett — 4.20 (2nd best in 2016)
Anthony McCoy — 4.57
Zach Miller — 4.42
Jimmy Graham — 4.45

These are all excellent times for the position with the exception of McCoy (who was a sixth round pick). This is the benefit of being able to study a front office for a decade. You can pick up on trends.

Will Dissly only ran a 4.87 forty at his combine but has shown plenty of ability as a pass-catcher due to his short-area quickness, execution on routes and body control. Bryant might not run a 4.42 like Engram or even a 4.52 like George Kittle or a 4.61 like Travis Kelce. There’s at least some history suggesting a good short shuttle time — which we know he’s capable of — could get him on Seattle’s radar.

Explosive plays

Coming into the Apple Cup, Bryant had 14 receptions of +20 yards or more. That ranked #1 in college football among tight ends. It also compared favourably to some of the top draft prospects at receiver:

Ceedee Lamb — 19
Jerry Jeudy — 18
DeVonta Smith — 18
Tyler Johnson — 17
K.J. Hamler — 16
Brandon Aiyuk — 15
Hunter Bryant — 14

He’s also the only tight end in the country to register enough +40 yard plays to make the list (three). He also has one +50 yard play and five +30 yard plays.

In the Apple Cup he added to his total with a 39-yarder and ended with six catches for 96 yards. For the season he has 52 catches (second most in programme history) for 825 yards and three touchdowns. He averages 16 YPC.

He is proving he can be a X-factor as a receiver.


The Seahawks want tight ends who can block. Yesterday I watched three Washington games specifically to study his blocking.

The first thing to point out is it’s actually a rare positive to see him doing some blocking. Most college TE’s barely have any blocking responsibility these days. When I went to study Stanford’s Colby Parkinson recently — it was practically impossible to judge his blocking. He spent most of his time as an outside or slot receiver. And that’s at Stanford — a team known for it’s desire to run the ball.

Bryant actually has some fairly frequent blocking duties and he does a good job overall. He’s not T.J. Hockenson driving defenders onto the turf in the running game. You’re not likely to see him operating as the ‘sixth lineman’.

However — whether he’s working the edge or being asked to get up to the second level on screens or quick-hitters, Bryant did a perfectly adequate job. His hand placement and control is good. When he’s blocking bigger targets he generally stays in position to execute. When he does get overmatched he often finds a way to cling on just enough to get the job done. His ability to locate and latch onto second-level targets on the move was impressive.

That’s really all you can expect. He’s not going to be drafted for his blocking. Saying he’s not a liability might sound like dabbing him with faint praise. Yet there are barely any classic Y-tight end’s in college football. The fact Bryant does block, executes at a decent level and offers move than a mere ‘move TE’ is a big positive.


Bryant lines up in a number of different positions and can be shifted around to create mismatch opportunities.

In the Apple Cup on one snap he lined up as an outside receiver and was still given a significant cushion by the cornerback. He ran to the sticks, caught a slightly overthrown pass by Jacob Eason at full stretch and then turned upfield for a nice gain (it took several defenders to halt his progress).

On another snap he lined up in the slot and settled into the soft-zone to provide a nice target between two defenders.

On his long reception they lined him up in a more orthodox position and cleared out underneath by having the receivers run downfield. It’s poorly played by the defense but on a team with several deep threats like Seattle — you can see why having another dynamic target to handle the middle/underneath could be useful in these situations.

On one snap they had him line up in a 2×1 look to the left sideline. It’s a nice play design to fake the receiver screen with Bryant shaping to block and the other wide out sitting in position. Instead Bryant gets the release and flies by the two defenders sucked into the static receiver. He’s wide open and Jacob Eason has a horrendous overthrow on what should’ve been an easy touchdown.

Again — we’ve seen D.K. Metcalf execute some effective WR screens recently. Having Bryant line-up next to him as either a lead blocker or an option to run downfield on the fake would be a useful.

They also used him on a quick-crosser and he did a good job catching the ball in traffic for an eight yard gain.

The Seahawks need a tight end

Whatever happens between now and the end of the regular season, the Seahawks need to add a tight end. Dissly has suffered his second serious injury in just over a year. Ed Dickson is a certain cut after he missed the entire 2019 season. They’ve already traded Nick Vannett away and are currently ‘getting by’ with Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson.

Hollister has shown more than enough to warrant some faith and an extended run. Even then — they need one more at least. This is a position they’ve placed a lot of importance on over the years. They spent a first rounder on Jimmy Graham. They paid Zach Miller a fortune. Vannett cost them a third rounder and Dissly a high fourth.

One way or another they’ll make a move. It doesn’t have to be via the draft. Perhaps Tampa Bay will consider dealing O.J. Howard for example? And there might be some appealing veteran options?

Yet with the need to retain some key internal players and bolster the defensive line — the available cap space might need to be spent elsewhere.

With three high picks in the 2020 draft, it won’t be a surprise if they target Bryant. There’s still a lot to be determined of course. We need to see him test for a starter — plus he’d need to declare as a junior.

Yet this isn’t a particularly good looking tight end class. Byrant is a strong contender to be the best available who is eligible to turn pro.

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83 Responses to “Why the Seahawks might be interested in Hunter Bryant”

  1. Kingdome1976 says:

    Rob, whereabouts do you see Bryant going in the draft?

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s difficult to answer at the moment.

      How he tests will have a big impact. Plus it’s a bad TE class — so if he separates from the pack, teams might feel like they ‘have to have him’ and he could go earlier as a consequence.

      Currently I’d say he’s a top-50 pick with the potential to go as early as 25-35. I’m not tying myself to that though.

  2. Colin says:

    Freiermuth will go in the 1st if he declares.

  3. cha says:

    A package of Bryant, Dissly, Metcalf and Lockett along with a RB would give Schottenheimer all kinds of options. That could open up all kinds of disguises and a lot of mismatch opportunities.

  4. CaptainJack says:

    I can see why you like his athleticism and production.

    But I do NOT at all like his drops or his injury record. He gets a lot of targets because Washington is kind of light on receiver talent.

  5. charlietheunicorn says:

    (CNN)Josh Shaw, a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, has been suspended through at least the 2020 season for betting on NFL games, the league said Friday.

    This is huge news and could really mess with the NFL in the future.

    • Trevor says:

      It is going to be a huge issue for all pro sports going forward now that gambling has been legalized. Maintaining the integrity of the games and ensuring both refs and players have not be compromised is going to be job #1 for these leagues going forward. I am guessing there will be many gambling related scandals as we have seen in football / soccer over the years as gambling has been legal in Europe for decades.

  6. Isaac says:

    I wish Dissly could stay healthy. He is such a big part of what the hawks do. The hawks offense hasn’t been the same without him. A new TE is gonna take time to catch onto the scheme and learn to block properly. Particularly drafting one. Is there a Zach Miller type going into free agency that we could grab?

  7. Hawksince77 says:

    I have good news for everyone – The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl. They may not win it, but they are going.

    Why do assert this with so much confidence? Am I just a silly homer? Or do I have some form of advanced analytics that support my claim? Well, yes and no (I am a silly homer).

    Let me explain. In 2004-2005, I enjoyed some incredible fortune in my personal life. And what happened? The Seahawks went to the Super Bowl.

    Again, in 2013-2014, I again enjoyed remarkable luck in my personal life. And what happened? You guessed it – Super Bowl.

    Once again, in 2019, wonderful personal luck. Which obviously means that the Seahawks will playing in this year’s Super Bowl.

    Book it.

  8. Nick says:

    Rob, with the news of Lane Johnson’s huge contract, do you think this basically spells the end of Ifedi in Seattle? I cannot imagine they’re going to want to pay him 12+ million per year. Do you think this makes OT a bigger priority? Thanks!

  9. ZHawk says:

    I know the running back position has decreased in value over time, but I’m shocked there hasn’t been more first round talk about JK Dobbins. He looks like such a complete offensive weapon. Perfect build, elusive, great burst, powerful, tough, smart, capable receiver, AND appears to have a similar mindset to Russell Wilson when it comes to work ethic and possessing a will to succeed.

  10. Edgar says:

    Side complaint while watching Michigan Ohio St on Fox……..anybody else find Gus Johnson horribly annoying? Every score he screams like it’s a game winner. He does this in college basketball as well, and I find it repulsive. The great ones lead up and build instead of going bonkers on every good play/TD.

  11. drewdawg11 says:

    Hunter is a beast and anyone who doesn’t think so just doesn’t know. Now yes, he does have the occasional bought of the drops. It’s annoying because he’s so good when he gets the ball in his hands. Here is why the Hawks night not go the hunter Bryant route: Assuming Dissly is healthy next season he can be a true “Y” TR who blocks like a tackle. Then you’ll have Hollister who, to me, is an awful blocker and is purely a guy who can make a catch and be an occasional red zone threat. If you add Bryant to the mix, that’s one TE who can be an asset in the run game and pass pro, and he’s no sure thing to be ready to go to begin 2020. This would mean that keeping Fant is a higher priority to be that swing player. Hunter is definitely a weapon. If he improves his focus, (he’s got really good hands), he will be an impact player.

    • Rob Staton says:

      They can’t go into next season with Hollister and Dissly. As good as Will has been that’s two serious injuries now. And Hollister is what he is — it’s nice he’s contributing. But you’re not passing on the position for him.

      • Dale Roberts says:

        The Patriots have a knack for finding undervalued talents that just get it done. Hollister is a poster boy for that ilk of player and I hope he carves out a long career with the Hawks. I’d be very happy with a Dissly, Hollister, Howard cadre of tight ends but given the dearth of “Y” tight ends TB must know Howard’s value to running teams. How high do you think Seattle would go in a trade for Howard? Hunter Henry might be more affordable after his 2019 ACL. What do you think of Henry as a fit for the Hawks?

      • drewdawg11 says:

        My point was that they can’t rely on Will being back and they would need to find a TE who could block like they want him to do in their offense. Drafting a “move” TE would necessitate bringing in another player who could be the traditional “Y”. The roster would be a little imbalanced.

  12. Sea Mode says:

    Whoa. Glad to hear he’s in stable condition now.

    Adam Schefter

    Former NFL WR Terrelle Pryor underwent surgery this morning and is in critical condition after being stabbed last night at his Pittsburgh apartment in the shoulder and chest, per source.

    Ian Rapoport

    Former NFL WR Terrelle Pryor, in a hospital after being stabbed while at a Pittsburgh apartment last night, is currently in stable condition, source said. Progress.

  13. WALL UP says:

    With the evident injury history Dissly carries, it would be more prudent to go after a bigger TE that can be more proficient in blocking, and still be a threat offensively. Another name to consider is Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0R94YIURyo

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s easier said than done though. Good luck finding orthodox blocking/bigger TE’s. And Okwuegbunam isn’t that type of player plus he’s considering a medical career instead of football.

    • Volume12 says:

      IMO the best blocking TE is Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant.

      Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins and Penn St’s Pat Frieirmuth would be the other options at TE behind Hunter Bryant that I hope Seattle would target.

      Rob is very likely right. A lot of appeal in Hunter Bryant’s game.

  14. Volume12 says:

    ‘DK Metcalf, as is often the case after practice, is the last player off the field getting extra work in. He’s catching passes off the JUGs machine.’- Joe Fann

    Think I’ve heard of him needing work with the JUGs machine on here somewhere 🤔

    • drewdawg11 says:

      Jugs machine is fine and dandy, but his inability to track a ball over his head screams corrective lenses or lasik surgery to me. He could get checked out, have surgery and be ready to roll in no time.

  15. Volume12 says:

    On the subject of BIG 10 DBs.

    Ohio St corner Jeffrey Okudah had himself a game today.

    Minnesota S Antoine Winfield, jr might be giving LSU’s Grant Delpit a run for his $ as the top safety in this class.

    Will he go as high if he comes out? Doubtful. Is it possible he ends up the better player on Sundays? Oh yeah. Has his daddy’s game in his blood.

  16. Dale Roberts says:

    If the Hawks draft a speed receiver in the first round would they consider moving Metcalf to the tight end “slot” position. He’s got enough size, he’s a decent blocker, and OMG what a mismatch weapon he would be against typically smaller slot corners and slower coverage linebackers.

    • Rob Staton says:

      No — TE isn’t just about size. He runs a 4.3 and he’s very much a receiver.

      • Dale Roberts says:

        I’m not saying convert him to a TE but rather use him as a mismatch down the center of the field from our normal two tight end formation. He’s a good enough blocker that we’d still be able to run the ball and he’d stress the defense deep middle forcing single coverage on the outside for Lockett and Brandon Aiyuk. He’d also make an impressive hole in the short middle zone as he sucked DBs in his wake. 4.3 isn’t only good on the outside.

        • Rob Staton says:

          If that was viable though we’d see every team do it. Tampa Bay don’t with Mike Evans. D.K. for me is a 5-10 speed receiver in a bigger frame. I think the best way to use him is deep, go, crosser and slant.

    • Jamho3 says:

      If that was the case then why wouldn’t SEA just use Jazz Ferguson as a TE?

  17. cha says:

    Local Twitter buzzing a bit about Molden as an NFL nickel target after the Apple Cup. Lots of tackles and a TFL. Lots of talk about his short-area quickness. Did you get any impressions of him from the game Rob?

    • Paul Cook says:

      Molden had an absolute monster game yesterday. 12 tackles. INT. He’s had a great year all season long. I expect he’ll return next season to the Dawgs. What I’ve also noticed about him is the solid weight he’s put on in his three years here. He’s a stud, and he hasn’t lost a step either.

  18. Sea Mode says:

    Vol, this is one of your guys, right?

    Staying on the theme of PAC 12 underclassmen, I reported more than a month ago Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson would enter the draft. I am told prior to tonight’s game against Colorado, which is a nationally televised contest, Johnson will be announced with the other departing seniors as part of the senior night for the Utes.


  19. Sea Mode says:

    PC says JD and Jarran are ready to go!

    • Paul Cook says:

      That’s great news to hear, SM. I think we’re going to win this game on MNF. My reasoning…

      1) We’re trending upward now, and you can almost feel the confidence and belief escalating on the team
      2) PC teams have always tended to play well in big nationally televised games
      3) I think it’s just about time for us to reassert out home field advantage…place should be rocking
      4) We’re just bound to FINALLY put a complete game together for once this year
      5) And, of course, we’re wearing action green, undefeated when we do

      I’m kind of getting tired of so many of us 12’s being so damn worried and scared about our opponents. Oh the dreaded Eagles…oh the dreaded Vikings…oh the dreaded Rams… For heaven’s sake, we’re at least the third best team in the NFC now and fighting for the division crown and a first round bye in the playoffs. These are goals clearly within our grasp now.

      • Sea Mode says:

        I see where you are coming from, but Zimmer’s Vikings have been a very complete team and Cousins seems to have re-found his form the past few weeks.

        What makes me more optimistic are two things:

        One, PC’s Seahawks are 5-0 vs. Vikings and 3-0 vs. Mike Zimmer. (though the 2016 game probably shouldn’t really count because of the extreme conditions and “wide left”.)

        Two, their injury report: lots of key players limited. And even if Thielen does manage to play, he’ll likely be on a snap count/rusty.

        Still, we’ve got to go out there and execute like we know we can.

        • Paul Cook says:

          I’ve just decided that I’m going to surf the positive momentum now until proven otherwise. Yeah, the Vikes are probably a more complete team than any NFC team not named NO or SF. I get that. But like you said, they have their injury problems too. And I’ll always take RW over Cousins any day of the week, and twice on Mondays. 🙂

  20. Henry Taylor says:

    Jayden Waddle is ridiculously electric!

  21. Sea Mode says:

    It seems PC/JS are at the forefront of pushing for all 53 to be able to be active for game day. So awesome to hear that. Says it would help reduce injuries throughout the long season and “we’re paying them anyways!”.

    Says he thinks the league’s position is based on the old thinking that “what if one of the teams doesn’t have 53 guys healthy they can suit up?”. So basically, allowing for a margin of error there. PC answers that guys could either be promoted from PS for the game or one team could just match the amount of available players of the other (51, 52, etc.). “There are solutions.”

    • Paul Cook says:

      They’re really good at that, by and large. They’re always tinkering with the roster to have the best possible amount of players available. They never sleep in that way. NE has been good at that too.

    • TomLPDX says:

      Take it a step further and expand the roster to 60 so you can always have 53 men available at game time. This seems so darned logical and would be a benefit to player safety…guys that are hurt don’t play because there is depth to help fill the gap.

      • JimQ says:

        I’d like to see an expanded practice squad (maybe 12-14) with the provision that 2 or maybe as many as 4 of the practice squad players can be listed as “untouchable”, where other teams can’t poach them. Currently it is difficult to place good players on the practice squad to “hide” them from their competition.

        The current process of having inactive players every game is also kind of silly, because they are paid anyway as stated above. The players association, next go around, should push for some changes in the way the NFL teams manage their players availability. + Anything that helps player safety is always a good thing.

  22. Paul Cook says:

    Pick 6. Auburn…please beat Alabama.

  23. Kenny Sloth says:

    Thats some fucking football right there.

    Shivers looks about 5’8 poppin Bama helmets off

  24. Kenny Sloth says:

    Derrick Brown > Chase Young?

    • AndrewP says:

      The comparison I made with friends is he’s 90% Aaron Donald… Everything except that freakishly explosive first step

    • Rob Staton says:

      Maybe. The Chase Young stuff has gone OTT.

      • Aaron says:

        Today I saw Chase Young being stoned by Michigan TEs on running plays. He’s a very good player, but I wonder if he’s still got work to do defending the run in order to be a complete player. Also, is it just me or does it look like he has short arm length? Could be an issue in the pros.

        • Rob Staton says:

          It’s a great point and one I’ve made a lot this year. He’s a terrific pass rusher who is dominating overmatched, non-NFL offensive tackles. Yet he struggles to contain the edge in the running game and that does matter at the next level. He also didn’t test particularly well at SPARQ and while he’s clearly athletic — you do wonder if he’s simply ‘quick’ over the short-area and while that’s a big plus, you expect more from top-five defensive linemen. Arm length is key too as you suggest.

          Young is very talented but all this ‘best player in the draft by a mile’ talk is too much.

  25. Paul Cook says:

    Praise the Lord. Alabama thankfully out of the CFP discussion.

  26. Kenny Sloth says:

    What a way to lose.

  27. Easthawk says:

    What an iron bowl. That was a fun game to watch. Anti-climatic way to lose for Bama though.

  28. DC says:

    So it’s OSU, LSU (even with a close SEC TG loss), Clemson (real tough schedule there boyz) & 1 of Georgia, Utah or OU.

    • Paul Cook says:

      Precisely with one twist. If Georgia loses to LSU. If Utah loses to Oregon. And if Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State BUT loses to Baylor in the playoff game, you could argue that Baylor is deserving of the 4th and final spot in the CFP.

  29. […] If you missed yesterday’s piece on Hunter Bryant check it out here. […]

  30. RWIII says:

    Number one key to winning the Viking game is preventing turnovers. Against the Saints and Ravens the offense gave turnovers that produced touchdowns(two in the Raven game). The Hawks also gave up a punt return for a touchdown against the Saints(The Popes favorite team). Yes against both San Francisco/Philadelphia the Hawks had turnovers. But they also forced turnovers. You can’t assume that you are going to force turnovers against the Vikings. But if the Hawks don’t have turnovers (and stupid penalities) they are in GOOD SHAPE. I understand that Adam Thielen is a no go. If that is the case it will make it much easier to defend against the Viking offense.

    I also understand that both Jarran Reed and Clowney are available tonite. I think I would only use those guys in passing situations. The Seahawks have Al Woods, Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson DT Position) as run stoppers. They also have Rasheem Green, Quinton Jefferson, and either Braden Jackson/L.J. Collier to provide beef at defensive end. So I would save Reed/Clowney for passing downs.

    So my message to the Seahawks is PROTECT THE FOOTBALL. No easy scores. Make them earn everything. Finally, no STUPID penalities.

  31. Rob Staton says:

    This comment may be inspired by the time I travelled 5000 miles to watch Kirk Cousins beat the Seahawks with an injury ravaged Redskins team given almost no shot to win… but….

    I fear a little bit for tonight. I’ve been pessimistic for a few games this year already and I can’t shake the feeling that sooner or later, we’re going to lose one of these close games. Minnesota are extremely balanced and strong. Last year we controlled them but kept missing opportunities to pull away. Our defense destroyed them. Cousins isn’t playing anywhere near as badly in 2019 and Dalvin Cook isn’t just returning from injury like he was a year ago. Clowney and Reed playing hurt isn’t good news and now Kendricks is banged up too.

    This is a massive test. I’m not confident in our home form either (justifiably so given the last 2-3 years).

    That said, if they win tonight it should be celebrated with gusto. No downplaying, regardless of the outcome. Minnesota is a good team. A win tonight would be a statement.

  32. […] — Hunter Bryant announced he was turning pro this week. We’ve talked about him a lot this year. He’s a name to keep an eye on for the Seahawks in this draft. A quick reminder — the Seahawks have frequently targeted tight ends who do well in the short shuttle and three cone. Bryant ran a superb 4.35 three cone at SPARQ. Unlike most college tight ends he was asked to block at Washington and did a decent job overall. He’s a dynamic target at the second level and while he’s had some drops — he’s also a big-play artist who’s tallied a high number of explosive plays this year. The Seahawks will add a new tight end at some stage during the off-season. If the top receivers are off the board by Seattle’s first pick — Bryant could offer an alternative option. For more on Bryant check out this article. […]