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2021 NFL Draft Preview: Will The Seahawks Draft A Fourth Tight End In As Many Years?

A look at where the Seahawks stand at tight end heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, and at some of the top prospects at that position. 

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FILE - Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) tires to get past Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine (16) after a reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Jacksonville, Fla., in this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, file photo. Kyle Pitts is arguably the most dynamic playmaker in the NFL draft, a versatile tight end who will try to impress league executives in person during Florida's pro day Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

The 2021 NFL draft kicks off next week, though as things currently stand, the Seahawks will be sitting out Day 1 of the draft having traded their first-round pick to acquire safety Jamal Adams last summer. While the Seahawks could always add more picks via trades, for now they have just three picks due to the trades made to acquire Adams, defensive end Carlos Dunlap II and guard Gabe Jackson. And whether the Seahawks end up making just those three picks or if John Schneider works his magic and they end up selecting more players, there will still be opportunities to add talent to the roster, so over the next two weeks, Seahawks.com will take a position-by-position look at where things currently stand for the Seahawks, as well as the top draft prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position over the past 11 drafts under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll. 

So far we've covered the offensive and defensive linesrunning backsafetyreceiver and cornerback, and today we take a look at where things stand at tight end. Tomorrow, we'll turn our attention to linebacker.  

Seattle's 2021 Draft Picks: Round 2, No. 56 overall; Round 4, No. 129 overall; Round 7, Pick No. 250 overall.

Draft History Under Carroll & Schneider: Anthony McCoy (No. 185 overall, 2010); Luke Willson (No. 158, 2013); Nick Vannett (No. 94, 2016); Will Dissly (No. 120, 2018); Colby Parkinson (No. 133, 2020); Stephen Sullivan (No. 251, 2020; also played DE).

Where The Seahawks Stand

In the Seahawks' first seven drafts under Schneider and Carroll, the Seahawks picked only three tight ends, but they've addressed that position more thoroughly of late, selecting Will Dissly in 2018, and Colby Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan in 2020. So will the Seahawks continue that trend in 2021, or have they added enough to be content with their depth there?

Dissly is coming off of the first healthy season and should be a big factor in the offense, while Parkinson will be looking to take on a bigger role in his second season after playing only sparingly as a rookie following his return from a foot injury. Greg Olsen's retirement made clear the Seahawks would need to supplement that position beyond those two, as well as 2020 undrafted rookie Tyler Mabry, and they did just that in free agency, signing former Rams tight end Gerald Everett, a pass-catcher with big-play ability who also should have some familiarity with Seattle's new offense having played for Shane Waldron for four years in L.A. 

The addition of Everett and a 16-game season out of Dissly in 2020 are both reasons for optimism about the position, and while he didn't play a lot, Parkinson earned strong reviews from coaches for what he showed in practice, so tight end doesn't feel like a big need heading into this draft, but adding more depth is always a possibility, either during or after the draft.

NFL.com's Top 5 Tight Ends

1. Kyle Pitts, Florida

Overview (via NFL.com): While the player comparison for the purposes of this scouting report is Darren Waller, Pitts may have the traits and talent to create mismatches similar to those created by Calvin Johnson and Tyreek Hill. His rare blend of size, athleticism and ball skills are reminiscent of Megatron's. His ability as a pass-catching tight end could force defenses in his division to alter the way they construct their roster. He's a tough matchup for most linebackers and too big for most cornerbacks. He offers offensive coordinators the ability to align him all over the field and, like Waller, can become a highly targeted, highly productive pass catcher from the tight end position. He puts in effort as a blocker but with limited success. That's not what makes him special, though. Along with Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Pitts has a chance to become the biggest game-changer in the 2021 NFL Draft.

2. Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame

Overview (via NFL.com): Highly intriguing early entry tight end who appears to be scratching the surface of his future impact. He's not the same level of player, but Tremble's blocking toughness and athletic profile are reminiscent of Kellen Winslow Jr.'s when he entered the league. Tremble is a gritty, capable blocker at the point of attack and will really move the needle as a lead and move blocker in space. However, he lacks development as a route runner and has hands that fail to inspire confidence as a pass catcher. His versatility as a run blocker will allow offensive coordinators to shift him around formations and create favorable matchups in the passing game. If he's able to simply improve his hands status to average, his speed and athleticism should create chunk play opportunities. He has Day 2 value with Day 1 upside.

3. Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

Overview (via NFL.com): Big, athletic tight end with the potential to be a combo player at the position, helping as a run blocker and pass catcher. Freiermuth needs to tighten up his technique as a run blocker but his foot quickness and agility led to some splashy recoveries and block finishes that foreshadow his future potential. He's athletic and has good build-up speed down the seam to attack the second level. However, he's average in separating underneath. Will need to do a better job of accessing his basketball background and putting a body on defenders to "block out" and create space for the throw. He'll need to have his season-ending injury vetted, but he has Day 2 talent for teams looking to bolster their 12 personnel package or add production from their Y tight end.

4. Hunter Long, Boston College

Overview (via NFL.com): Pass-catching tight end with decent speed and plus ball skills but a concerning lack of consistent aggression in his play. Long is much too passive and unskilled as a run blocker at this point of his development to consistently help against NFL competition. He also needs to get better at controlling his catch space with body control and physicality. However, when the ball is in the air, he plays with a plus level of tracking and focus to make tougher catches look easy, including throws that are down near his feet. He doesn't look like a burner, but he does have success running the seam and working over routes, so play speed should not be an issue. He's unlikely to ever be much of a blocker, so he must learn to become more competitive and feisty in fighting for his space and the football.

5. Brevin Jordan, Miami

Overview (via NFL.com): Potential Y tight end if he can improve blocking technique and grit at the point of attack. Jordan can work the field in-line or from the slot and has improved his route-running over time. His play speed is average, as is his burst to separate, so learning to own the catch space and fend off draped coverage at the top of the route might be essential for his long-term success. He's best at creating looks for his quarterbacks on simple outs, crossers and slants. He has decent size and athleticism to add modest yardage after the catch. Many of his catches came on short throws or coverage busts, so some of the production might need to be taken with a grain of salt. He has decent pass-catching talent but needs to bolster the run blocking to become a TE2.

NFL.com's rankings of the top tight end prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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