When it comes to tight end, the first question on everyone's mind will be Jimmy Graham's health. But beyond the status of Graham, who finished last season on injured reserve, the Seahawks will have some interesting battles waging in camp for playing time and roster spots.
"The tight end position is going to be fun to see," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the conclusion of offseason workouts. "Nick Vannett did a great job, and with Jimmy out he has given the other guys a really good opportunity to do some nice stuff."
|Returning starters:||Jimmy Graham|
Nick Vannett (third-round pick)
Ronnie Shields (free agent)
Brandon Williams (free agent)
The initial 53-man roster included three tight ends: Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet
What's At Stake In Training Camp
When it comes to Graham, the first question is one of health. Carroll said Graham, who had season-ending knee surgery last year, should be ready for the regular season opener, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be on the field on Day 1 of camp. Whenever Graham is back, the question will be how the Seahawks can get the most out of him. While Graham's production didn't match the numbers he put up in New Orleans, he was still a big part of Seattle's offense before his injury, but he and the offense really seemed to be figuring each other out just before his injury. If he, Russell Wilson and everyone else can pick up where they left off in late November, Graham figures to be a huge part of the offense in 2016.
In addition to veterans Graham and Luke Willson, the Seahawks will be looking for big contributions from rookie third-round pick Nick Vannett. Vannett is expected to give Seattle more of a blocking presence in the "Y" tight end role than Graham or Willson provide, but he also showed off impressive pass-catching ability in offseason workouts. And while those three appear to be the clear-cut top three on the depth chart for now, there will be others competing for jobs, including Cooper Helfet, who has started four games over the past two seasons, and Brandon Williams, a free-agent signing who previously played for Carolina and Miami.
"Brandon Williams has done a really nice job," Carroll said. "You guys don't know much about us picking him up, but he played for Carolina the last few years and we're very fortunate to get him. He's a very good special teamer, but he'll add to that [competition]."
Check out the best photos of Seahawks tight ends at the team's 2016 offseason workout program.