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 8 picks in the 2018 draft, which begins April 26 in Dallas.
Seattle's 2018 Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 18, No. 18 overall; Round 4, Pick 20, No. 120 overall; Round 5, Pick 4, No. 141 overall; Round 5, Pick 9, No. 146 overall; Round 5, Pick 19, No. 156 overall; Round 5, Pick 31, No. 168 overall; Round 7, Pick 8, No. 226 overall; Round 7, Pick 30, No. 248 overall.
So far we've covered the offensive line, and the defensive line, and today we take a look at tight end. Tomorrow we'll turn our attention to the linebackers.
Draft History Under Schneider and Carroll: Anthony McCoy (No. 185 overall, 2010), Luke Willson (No. 158, 2013), Nick Vannett (No. 94, 2016).
Where The Seahawks Stand
Tight end will be a position that looks quite a bit different for the Seahawks when they take the field in 2018. Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson, who played the majority of the snaps over the past three seasons, both signed elsewhere in free agency this offseason, meaning 2016 third-round pick Nick Vannett is the only returning player with any significant playing time under his belt. Also back from last year is former University of Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, who spent most of last season on the practice squad before a late-season call-up.
The Seahawks are expecting Vannett to be ready to take on a bigger role with Willson and Graham gone, but they also added help via free agency, signing Ed Dickson, an eight-year veteran who started 12 games for the Panthers last season.
"Ed's a real versatile football player," Carroll said last month at the annual league meetings. "Kind of a situation where he has played behind such a great player in Greg Olsen that we haven't seen him maybe as much. But again going back to knowing Ed through the recruiting process and kind of watching him grow, we've always known about his athleticism. He's an all-around player can play the Y position as well as the X position where he moves around. Good athlete, good downfield catcher. A guy you can go to in regular situations and normal ball control situations and also down the field so he's a really, really interesting addition."
Even with Dickson added to the mix, it's a good bet that the Seahawks will try to add more to that position group at some point, be it in the draft or by signing an undrafted rookie free agent. Seattle has only picked three tight ends in eight drafts under Carroll and Schneider, but with only three tight ends currently under contract, this could be a year when they add to that total at some point during draft weekend.
Check out which players NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock pegs as the top tight ends in the 2018 NFL Draft.
NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock's Top 5 Tight Ends
1. Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Overview (via NFL.com): Hurst's initial opportunity at athletic stardom came up short in baseball, but he has his second shot and plays like every down could be his last. His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He's sure-handed and could become a young quarterback's safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end.
2. Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Overview (via NFL.com): Goedert is a very talented pass catching tight end with the ability to work all three levels of the field. His ball focus and ability to make the spectacular catch will make him the darling of fans and media throughout the draft process, but, he still has work to do. Goedert dominated a lower level of competition and will have to prove he can uncover and block against bigger, more explosive athletes as a pro. The size, speed and talent is there for him to succeed as a very good combo tight end if he works and plays with a little more urgency.
3. Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Overview (via NFL.com): If you are looking for a tight end who can line up and help in the running game, he's not your guy. However, if you want a pass-catcher who can get open and has the ball skills to win against linebackers and safeties, he might be your guy. Gesicki needs to improve his play strength and his issues as a blocker could limit the amount of teams who will target him, but he has a chance to become one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league.
4. Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Overview (via NFL.com): Andrews is a former wideout who plays with a receiver's mentality in a tight end's body. He is a pass-catcher with a deft feel for route adjustments and operating in space against zone coverage. Andrews is a big, reliable target who doesn't need a spacious catch window to haul it in. Despite his size, he lacks the desire and fundamentals as a blocker which will hurt his standing with some teams. He should be able to find early catches and production as a solid pass-catching tight end in the league.
5. Will Dissly, Washington
Overview (via NFL.com): Inexperienced but improving, Dissly is a Y-tight end prospect who has the potential to become a much more productive and effective player than where he stands right now. Dissly has decent size and is nothing special as an athlete, but he displays the toughness and talent to become an NFL blocker as a Day 3 selection.