2017 NFL Draft Preview: Are The Seahawks Set At Tight End?

Where the Seahawks stand at tight end heading into the draft, as well as a look at some of the top prospects in this year's draft class.

With the NFL Draft coming up, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand on the Seahawks' roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks currently hold 7 picks in the 2017 draft, which begins Thursday, April 27 in Philadelphia.

  • Round 1 | Pick 26 | No. 26 overall
  • Round 2 | Pick 26 | No. 58 overall
  • Round 3 | Pick 26 | No. 90 overall
  • Round 3 | Pick 38 | No. 102 overall*
  • Round 3 | Pick 42 | No. 106 overall*
  • Round 6 | Pick 26 | No. 210 overall
  • Round 7 | Pick 8 | No. 226 overall

*-Compensatory Pick

So far we've covered the offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver and cornerback. Today, we turn our attention to tight end.

Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll

  • TE Anthony McCoy (No. 185 overall, 2010)
  • TE Luke Willson (No. 158, 2013)
  • TE Nick Vannett (No. 94, 2016)

Where the Seahawks Stand

If the Seahawks had lost Luke Willson in free agency, tight end might look like a position of need heading into the draft, but with Willson re-signing, Jimmy Graham fully healthy this offseason and Nick Vannett expected to make bigger contributions in his second season, tight end appears to be a pretty solid position for Seattle.

When it comes to re-signing Willson, Carroll said, "He's a great team member. He's really one of the highlight team members because of the attitude that he brings. He's a great worker, and he's just at the center of the spirit of our team and has been a great guy. He helps on special teams, he can catch the ball, he's really fast, he can get down the field and make big plays. He's versatile, he has become a very versatile player for us. He's a guy who all of our players want on our team, so we had to figure out a way to get that done and we were able to, so that's a plus."

Another big plus is that Graham is fully healthy and able to take part in offseason workouts when at this time last year he was rehabbing a serious knee injury.

"It's really one of the beautiful things that's happening this offseason is that Jimmy has a chance to work out and get better," Carroll said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Last year, he was just rehabbing. If you can imagine at this time last year, he was looking at that scar and wondering if he's ever going to be able to run again. He barely made it back to camp, then barely made it into the season, then had a marvelous season under all of those circumstances. Under any normal circumstances he had a marvelous season. In communicating with him, he feels great. He's thrilled about the chance to work out, he's going to be working Russell (Wilson) wherever they get together and do their thing; they're looking forward to that. They didn't have the chance to do that last year. He couldn't run; he couldn't work out. And the amazing thing is that he had such a good season under those circumstances, so we're really looking forward to what comes up, and I know he is too and everybody's pumped up about it."

Yet even with Graham, Willson and Vannett, as well as Marcus Lucas, who spent last season on the practice squad, and Chris Briggs, who signed a futures contract earlier this offseason, the Seahawks could still be intrigued by what is regarded as a very strong tight end class. Re-signing Willson kept the Seahawks from feeling like they have to come out of next week's draft with a tight end, but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't find one at some point next weekend.

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Tight Ends

1. O.J. Howard, Alabama

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Howard has struggled to live up to hype that has come with his play-making ability while at Alabama, but some scouts put the blame on the staff and scheme. He has elite athletic traits and raw talent, but must add polish to go along with those attributes. Should become substantially more productive as a pro, but the difference between "potential weapon" and "elite tight end" will likely be tied to his desire and overall football character.

2. David Njoku, Miami

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Ascending pass catching talent with elite athleticism and enough fight in his run blocking to believe that he can be lined up anywhere on the field at any time. Njoku should annihilate the combine with monster numbers in speed and explosion, but his play on the field shows he's more than a combine warrior. He is still growing into his body and has to add to his play strength, but his playmaking potential and elite traits should make him a first-round pick and a future Pro Bowler.

3. Evan Engram, Ole Miss

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Makes up for his lack of size with athletic ability and plus speed for the position. Engram has experience as a safety blanket for Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly and can work all three levels of the field. He will appeal strictly to teams looking for a move tight end who can be deployed as a chess piece in a matchup-based passing attack. Engram's ability to stress defenses could land him on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) of the draft and a potential starting role early in his career.

4. Gerald Everett, South Alabama

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): It's difficult to find a good comparison for Everett because his size and toughness are similar to Marshall's coming out, but his playing style resembles Delanie Walker at times. Everett has size, speed and tremendous run-after-catch potential, but it is his willingness and ability to block that separates him from other "matchup" tight ends. Route running is below average, but he should improve with NFL coaching. Everett has the talent to become a very good NFL starter with Pro Bowl potential if he puts it all together.

T-5. George Kittle, Iowa

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): H-back type who lacks the desired size for in-line blocking but certainly has the technique and willingness to do it. He has good hands and flashes an ability to challenge as a pass catcher on all three levels. Kittle has the athleticism and blocking ability to become an effective move tight end if paired in the right system.

T-5. Jordan Leggett, Clemson

Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Has elite size for the position, but his motor and effort leave a lot to be desired. Despite his size, might not have the attitude necessary to be an in-line blocker on the NFL level. Tape shows a route-runner who could struggle to uncover against quality man coverage. Leggett has traits and talent, but his production was helped along by Clemson's system. Will need a more ramped-up motor to reach his potential.

RELATED

Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's top tight ends in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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