Seahawks Position Breakdown 2021: Tight Ends

Let’s finish this week’s Seahawks coverage on an underwhelming note! We can’t very well shoot our wad all at once; let’s save receivers and the O-Line for next week.

I’m actually quietly stoked for the tight end room this year. I don’t know if that’s warranted or not, but I guess we’ll see.

Gerald Everett is the big “get” for us, having signed a 1-year $6 million deal (with a 2022 void year costing us $2 million in dead cap space next year). Everyone I’ve heard talks about what a fantastic move that was for the Seahawks. Obviously, he has familiarity with the Rams’ offense, being a regular contributor for them the last four years. There was obviously a need for the Seahawks to address this position, after the Greg Olsen debacle a year ago. Everett has largely been healthy and relatively productive in his career. And, by all accounts, he looks like he’s fitting in beautifully so far in training camp!

That leads to the question of: why is he only on a 1-year deal? He’s young enough, he’s competent enough; we couldn’t have locked him in for 3 years at this salary average?

But, you have to follow that up with: how much should we really expect out of a Gerald Everett? When you think of the vaunted Rams offense since Sean McVay took over, do you REALLY think about the tight end position? As any fantasy football player will tell you, it’s easy to get sucked into punting on the position in the draft, then settling for one of the Rams guys in free agency. Once in a while, they’re good for a TD, but more often than not, the Rams have prioritized the wide receiver almost exclusively in the passing game, with various running backs also seeing good value as pass catchers out of the backfield.

Tight ends are oft-overlooked in the Rams’ offense. What makes you think that’ll be any different with Shane Waldron here in Seattle?

The Seahawks are another team, by the by, that have some elite wide receivers in their arsenal! With D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett hogging the lion’s share of the targets, and with Russell Wilson being notorious for spreading the ball around every game, what is a Gerald Everett going to do for you that any other guy off the scrap heap couldn’t? Just because he’s a step up from Old Man Olsen doesn’t mean he’s necessarily worth $6 million per year.

We’ll see. Time will tell. I still like Everett, even though I don’t think we saw tremendous value in the signing. Either he blows up and commands more money next year, or he plays as expected and goes down as yet another overpaid tight end we’ve employed in the Pete Carroll era (or he under-performs and is REALLY a bust).

Behind him, we have Will Dissly back for his fourth season. After having his first two years cut short due to injury, he managed to play in every game in 2020. Granted, his production per-game has gone down every year, but I would argue he’s still a quality weapon for this offense, and a fantastic #2 tight end for this team. Particularly in his ability to help in pass protection. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do in a contract year, especially with what could be a very good crop of new tight ends coming out of the draft in 2022.

Colby Parkinson is an exciting prospect, who was drafted in the fourth round last year, and really only saw action in one game – a 40-3 blowout at home against the Jets – but he’s 6’7 and could be a tremendous weapon in the red zone given his frame. He doesn’t seem like much of a blocker, but Everett and Dissly already fill that role anyway; you bring Parkinson in for the mismatches he creates; either slower, shorter linebackers have to take him on, or teams have to spend secondary resources on him, that might still be too small to deal with his unique frame.

I am SO GLAD that the Seahawks didn’t invest any more heavily in the tight end position than they did with Everett, because why would you draft someone like Parkinson in the fourth round if you’re just going to bury him on your roster? He’s the #3 guy, it’s not like you’re asking him to assume a starting role in year two. This is exactly what the team should be doing with someone like him: bring him along slowly, hope his hands are as soft as advertised, and hope that he maybe develops into a starting-type tight end in year three.

That also leaves open the possibility for a fun prospect in Tyler Mabry to break onto the roster as the #4 guy. He was an undrafted player last year who spent most of the season on the practice squad. So, right there, he’s been in our system, and the team likes him enough to keep him around and try to develop him. He’s another offensive-minded tight end who – if he does that part of his job well – could earn more reps and more opportunities to round out into an all-around tight end.

Failing that, there are more rookies on the squad who could sneak through onto the practice squad. And, of course, there’s always Luke Willson out on the scrap heap, if injuries mount and we have a need to fill in the cracks.

My overall grade on the tight end room is a B. I don’t have to worry about these guys, unless literally EVERYONE gets injured at the same time. The top two guys will probably be in that B+ range, with the bottom two guys in the B- range. Regardless, there isn’t a ton of variance. Depth is a question mark – with the bottom two guys having less than 2 years’ experience – but I also don’t think we’re as tight end-heavy of an offense as many other teams in the league, so what does it matter? They chip in from time to time, otherwise they need to block well and be an occasional outlet for Wilson when he’s in trouble.

The Seahawks Have A Roster & It’s Not Too Terribly Surprising

I should also point out that, obviously, this isn’t set in stone. This is just the 53-man roster as it stands at this moment; it very well could change anytime this week, or after the first game, or at any other point in the season. So, let’s hop to it, we’re burning daylight!

Quarterbacks

  • Russell Wilson
  • Geno Smith

Yawn. This was never in any doubt. Especially in a season like this, you want a veteran backup over a rookie. The biggest surprise is that the Seahawks opted to go with Danny Etling over Anthony Gordon on the practice squad, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Obviously, you have to be happy with what the Seahawks have done here. Russell Wilson is one of the top two quarterbacks in all of football. And Geno Smith … is fine. If Wilson was ever seriously injured I would not want to live in this world any longer our chances at a championship would go down the tubes, but if we needed a spot start out of a guy for a week or two, you could do a lot worse than a game manager like Geno.

Running Backs

  • Chris Carson
  • Carlos Hyde
  • Travis Homer
  • DeeJay Dallas

Contain your glee, because while fullback Nick Bellore isn’t on this list, I wouldn’t expect that to last long. Just try to prevent the Seahawks from keeping a stupid fullback on their roster, I dare you! Bellore will be back. We just have to do that thing where we re-sign someone after the first week of the season, so their full year’s contract is no longer guaranteed (meaning they’re essentially week-to-week players who can be cut at any time with no financial consequence to the organization). It’s kind of a shitty thing to do to someone, but it’s not like fullback is a high-demand position in the NFL anymore.

If the hype around Dallas is as legitimate as it sounds like, we could be talking about the best running back room in the entire NFL. Chris Carson has Top Ten running back talent when he’s healthy. Carlos Hyde could start for any number of teams right now. Travis Homer proved his worth quite well as a late-round draft pick last year. Plus, on top of this embarrassment of riches, we still have Rashaad Penny coming back from the PUP list after six weeks (another guy who, when healthy, has proven to be quite good).

Wide Receivers

  • Tyler Lockett
  • D.K. Metcalf
  • Phillip Dorsett
  • David Moore
  • John Ursua
  • Freddie Swain

One of the bigger surprises that probably shouldn’t have been once you heard Pete Carroll talk about him: Paul Richardson was cut. It was a fine idea, but considering we didn’t immediately jump on him as soon as he was waived by his previous team, you could sorta tell that we weren’t feeling it. He was an insurance policy until someone better came along. As our home-grown guys started getting healthy again, P-Rich was no longer needed. I wonder if he’s lost a step? It’ll be interesting to see if he gets another chance somewhere else, or if this is the end of the road. Obviously, whenever Josh Gordon is reinstated, he’ll take the spot of one of these guys (probably Swain). Also of note: the team renegotiated Moore’s contract over the weekend to lock him in place. He’s earning less than the just-over-$2 million he would’ve gotten on his tender, but it’s guaranteed, and it guarantees his spot on this roster now.

I know this group doesn’t look like much, especially from a national perspective. But, Tyler Lockett is legit, and will likely be criminally underrated his entire career. Metcalf looks poised to be the next Julio Jones. Dorsett, when healthy, should fit in quite nicely with what this team likes to do with its deep passing. When Josh Gordon comes back, that’s another elite-level receiver in our arsenal. David Moore, by all accounts, has looked like a true professional in camp this summer. And, I still have high hopes for John Ursua being a slot receiver for this team (so, watch the Seahawks cut him as soon as Gordon is reinstated). I know nothing about Swain, except he’s a rookie and I think he can also return kicks, which gives him an obvious edge over Ursua, who does nothing on Special Teams.

Tight Ends

  • Greg Olsen
  • Will Dissly
  • Luke Willson
  • Jacob Hollister

Both Stephen Sullivan and Tyler Mabry are on the Practice Squad right now, and Colby Parkinson is on the Non-Football Injury List, so we’ve got all of our guys! Luke Willson making the team is a wee bit of a shocker, but I think he can do double-duty as this team’s fullback for the time being, so I kinda hope that just makes him our full-time fullback going forward. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Like our running backs, I think this could be the best group of tight ends – from top to bottom – in the league. Olsen is on his last legs, but he was still highly productive last year. Dissly is a superstar waiting to not get severely injured every year happen. Willson is a true every-man who is a joy to have on the team and can do a little bit of everything. And Hollister is more like a wide receiver in a tight end’s body.

Offensive Line

  • Duane Brown
  • Mike Iupati
  • Ethan Pocic
  • Damien Lewis
  • Brandon Shell
  • Cedric Ogbuehi
  • Phil Haynes
  • B.J. Finney
  • Jordan Simmons
  • Jamarco Jones

The only semi-surprise is the fact that we kept ten offensive linemen, but considering how hard the Seahawks went after this position group in free agency, it makes sense.

I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous here. I think this group will gel at some point; I just hope it isn’t too horrific in the early going. I’m glad we’ve got Brown and Iupati locking down the left side. I find it endlessly fascinating that Pocic was able to beat out Finney for the starting center job (even though we gave Finney all of that guaranteed money over the next two seasons). And, I’m encouraged that Lewis and Shell were able to step right in here and win their jobs immediately. If nothing else, I really do love the depth at this spot; they won’t be the best in the league, but they should be far from the worst.

Defensive Line

  • Rasheem Green
  • Jarran Reed
  • Poona Ford
  • L.J. Collier
  • Bryan Mone
  • Benson Mayowa
  • Alton Robinson
  • Damontre Moore

The only surprise here is that the Seahawks have yet to make a surprise last-minute free agent signing! Even for a run-stuffing tackle, if not another pass rusher! Unless you count Damontre Moore, which I do not, because I don’t even know who that guy is, other than he’s one of an endless string of ex-Seahawks we like to keep around to pad out the back-end of our roster. In non-Seahawks news, Jadeveon Clowney finally made up his mind; he’s on the Tennessee Titans (1 year, $12 million, worth up to $15 million with incentives … or what the Seahawks previously offered to him months ago to re-sign here). It’s a bit of a bummer; apparently the Seahawks were still in the picture up to the moment of signing, but not in the top two or three. I’m just glad he didn’t sign with New Orleans; keep him out of our conference and out of our hair, thank you very much!

Look, I’ll just say this: I hope the Seahawks know what they’re doing. They seem to be pretty satisfied with what they’ve done here, and are not freaking out like the rest of the fanbase. That’s a good sign, but by the same token, it’s still interesting that we continued to push to sign Clowney even after he turned down our earlier offer. I’m an “I’ll Believe It When I See It” kind of guy, so …

Linebackers

  • Bobby Wagner
  • K.J. Wright
  • Bruce Irvin
  • Cody Barton
  • Ben Burr-Kirven
  • Jordyn Brooks
  • D’Andre Walker

The bummer of the weekend was seeing that Shaquem Griffin didn’t make the cut. He is on the Practice Squad though, so all hope is not lost! I would expect him to play again this year – once someone goes down with an injury – and to make a solid contribution to the team. D’Andre Walker was the only guy the Seahawks picked up from another team after cut-downs on Saturday. He was drafted by the Titans in the fifth round last year and has yet to play in the pros; he did get a good number of sacks in college though, so maybe he’s a little diamond in the rough project for us?

We’re in good hands with this group. Wagner and Wright are still top shelf. Brooks looks like he’s ready to start immediately. Irvin is still looking to prove himself. Barton, by all accounts, has looked tremendous in his second year. And BBK still figures to be a stalwart on Special Teams.

Secondary

  • Jamal Adams
  • Quandre Diggs
  • Marquise Blair
  • Lano Hill
  • Shaquill Griffin
  • Quinton Dunbar
  • Tre Flowers
  • Neiko Thorpe
  • Ugo Amadi

Linden Stephens was the guy we cut when we claimed D’Andre Walker; what a rollercoaster for Stephens! He thought he made the team – at a pretty deep position, all things considered – and then he had it yanked out from under him within a day! By all accounts, the Seahawks want him on the Practice Squad (he just has to clear waivers first), so I wouldn’t expect him to be going too far.

Best Secondary in football. Period. I can’t wait to see these guys do their thing! And, as chance would have it, we get to see it right away when we play the Falcons on Sunday!

Special Teams

  • Tyler Ott (long-snapper)
  • Jason Myers (kicker)
  • Michael Dickson (punter)

No surprises whatsoever here.