Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, which is set to take place from April 30 - May 2 in Chicago, Ill., Seahawks.com will take a position-by-position look at this year's top prospects.
Along the way, we'll rehash the team's past draft picks at each position under Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll and also provide an outline of where the team currently stands at each spot.
Seattle owns 11 selections in this year's draft - one in the second round (No. 63 overall), one in the third (No. 95), three in the fourth (Nos. 112, 130 & 134), two in the fifth (Nos. 167 & 170), three in the sixth (Nos. 181, 209 & 214), and one in the seventh (No. 248).
We led our draft preview series with a look at the offensive and defensive lines before following up with the running backs, linebackers, quarterbacks, and safeties. We continue today with the tight ends, a position the Seahawks have already significantly improved this offseason.
Draft History (Under Schneider & Carroll)
TE Anthony McCoy (No. 185 overall, 2010), TE Luke Willson (No. 158, 2013)
Where The Seahawks Stand
Four days after the Seahawks parted ways with veteran tight end Zach Miller (failed physical), the team orchestrated a blockbuster trade to acquire three-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham just moments before the start of NFL free agency. Seattle shipped center Max Unger and its 2015 first-round pick (No. 31 overall) to New Orleans for the rights to Graham and the Saints' 2015 fourth-round pick. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Graham adds a piece that had been missing from the Seahawks offense - a big, athletic, and highly-productive pass catcher. Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 receiving yards, and 11.5 touchdowns the past four seasons.
Luke Willson, a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks two years ago, will work at the position alongside Graham. Willson started 10 games for Seattle in 2014 in place of an injured Miller, hauling in 22 balls for 362 yards and three touchdowns. He was one of the Seahawks' most productive rookies the year prior, playing in all 16 games and recording 20 catches for 272 yards and a score.
Anthony McCoy missed the past two seasons with Achilles injuries and was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but the Seahawks signed him to an extension last month. A healthy McCoy could go a long way in making up for the loss of Miller, who was one of the team's better blocking tight ends.
Outside of Graham, Willson, and McCoy, the Seahawks have fourth-year pro Cooper Helfet and second-year pro RaShaun Allen under contract this season.
NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock shares his top five tight ends set to enter this year's draft.
NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Tight Ends
1. Maxx Williams, Minnesota, 6-4, 249 lbs
Draft Projection (via NFL.com):Round 2 or 3
Bottom Line (via NFL.com):Pass-catching, move tight end with straight-line play speed and an ability to stretch defenses deep. Williams comes from NFL bloodlines and has the self confidence often found in a former player's son, but he needs to improve his route running in order to become a more complete receiving threat. Williams led all college tight ends with 9 explosive catches (25-plus yards) in 2014 and should be an early target for teams looking for pass-catching weapons.
2. Clive Walford, Miami (Fla.), 6-4, 251 lbs
Draft Projection (via NFL.com):Round 3
Bottom Line (via NFL.com):A combo tight end who can help a team in the running game and through the air, Walford can be moved around the field. He lacks the elite athletic traits to be a game-changer at the position, but he is becoming a premium blocker. With teams looking for versatile TEs to create matchups in two-TE sets, Walford's stock should be high.
3. Blake Bell, Oklahoma, 6-6, 252 lbs
Draft Projection (via NFL.com):Round 5
Bottom Line (via NFL.com):A newly converted tight end who was a short-yardage specialist and red-zone brute for the Sooners as a quarterback. Bell was looked over by scouting community during the regular season, but he has flashed sure hands and shown improvement as a blocker and could have an NFL future if a team is willing to be patient with him.
4. Tyler Kroft, Rutgers, 6-5, 246 lbs
Draft Projection (via NFL.com):Round 5
Bottom Line (via NFL.com):Tall, athletic tight end with the frame to add more muscle and the athleticism to get open in space. Kroft is an aggressive blocker who can help the running game win on the edges, but he also possesses the quickness to get open in space and make a play after the catch. Kroft's size, athleticism and competitiveness as a blocker make him a scheme fit for most offenses and he could be one of the top tight ends to come from this draft class.
5. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State, 6-5, 254 lbs
Draft Projection (via NFL.com):Round 4 or 5
Bottom Line (via NFL.com):Heuerman's production fell off in 2014 after dealing with a foot injury and quarterback change. He is a vertical pass-catching tight end who can be moved all over the formation. Scouts seem to be unusually intrigued and excited about Heuerman's NFL potential.