The 2023 NFL Draft kicks off later this month, and for the Seahawks, this year's draft represents a big opportunity to improve upon a team that reached the playoffs last season. After hitting a home run in the 2022 draft, the Seahawks have even more draft capital this year, including extra first and second-round picks (No. 5 and 37 overall) that were part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver last year.
The fifth overall pick is the highest the Seahawks have had since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, and this is just the second time in the Carroll-Schneider era that Seattle has had a pair of first-rounders in one draft, having selected Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in 2010.
"This is really an exciting opportunity for us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL Scouting combine. "We have not been in this situation, we have not felt like this ever. So all of the build up to it has been exciting, and we're hoping to obviously max out everything we can with it… We know that the opportunity is something special, so we're looking forward to it and we'll see how it goes."
With the draft coming up soon, Seahawks.com is taking 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 13 drafts under Schneider and Carroll.
So far we’ve covered quarterback, the defensive line/outside linebacker, the offensive line and off-ball linebacker, and today we turn our attention to tight end. Check back tomorrow for a look at where things stand at running back.
Seattle's 2023 Draft Picks: Round 1, No. 5 overall (from Denver); Round 1, No. 20 overall; Round 2, No. 37 overall (from Denver); Round 2, No. 52 overall; Round 3, No. 83 overall; Round 4, No. 123 overall; Round 5, No. 151 overall (from Pittsburgh); Round 5, No. 154 overall; Round 6, No. 198 overall; Round 7, No. 237 overall.
Tight end draft History Under John Schneider and Pete Carroll: 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
The Seahawks have a talented and diverse trio of tight ends already on their roster, with Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson all bringing slightly different skillsets to the table. Their playmaking ability and blocking skills paved the way for the Seahawks using more three-tight end sets in 2022 than they have in recent years, mostly with good results, and while no one player put up huge numbers individually, that trio was responsible for 109 receptions, 1,157 yards and nine touchdowns.
"All three guys can catch, and all three guys are blocking," Carroll said last season. "It's a marvelous position group for us… We really feel comfortable and know that we have a variety of them. We are not going to stick them in roles where this guy only does this, and this guy does that. We don't want that to happen, we want to be versatile with these guys because they can, and just to make it difficult for the opponent too."
So with all of that being said, the Seahawks have no need to draft a tight end, right? Well, it's not quite that simple. Yes, the Seahawks love that trio of tight ends, and that position is by no means a big need, but that doesn't mean John Schneider and company won't at least consider a player from what is considered to be a very strong tight end class. While Dissly signed a multi-year extension last offseason, both Fant and Parkinson are heading into the final year of their contracts, meaning a draft pick with an eye to the future could make some sense.
Rob Rang's Top 5 Tight Ends
Overview: Few teams across the NFL are as versatile and talented at tight end as the Seahawks with veterans Noah Fant, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson all legitimate starting caliber-options. Ironically, that fact could force the Seahawks to consider taking advantage of one of the best tight end crops to enter the NFL during my 20-plus years of evaluating college prospects, as Fant and Parkinson are only inked through the conclusion of next season and are likely eager to get their first opportunity to test the open market. This tight end class is really fun with dynamic seam threats, the most intimidating blocker at the position in years and exciting depth, which extends into Day 3. Few teams are willing to carry four tight ends on their active roster once the season begins so given the talent already in place, it seems unlikely that the Seahawks would draft one early. This class is good enough, though, to be thinking about the long-term future of the position, even if "just" a late round pick is used on a developmental prospect who might first be a member of the practice squad. Quality fits for the Seahawks not listed below include South Dakota State's Tucker Kraft, Cincinnati's Luke Whyle, Penn State's Brenton Strange and Miami's Will Mallory.
1. Dalton Kincaid, Utah, 6-4, 246, First-Second Round
Boasting a similar combination of agility, speed and soft hands as San Francisco's star George Kittle, Kincaid is a true matchup nightmare in the passing game. He began his career at San Diego before transferring up to Utah, where he caught 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame, 6-5, 249, First-Second Round
While not as fleet of foot as the aforementioned Kincaid, Mayer checks every other box, showing good agility and savvy as a route-runner, excellent hands and the power and temperament needed as a blocker. He is widely viewed as one of the safer prospects in this class, regardless of position.
3. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State, 6-6, 251, Second Round
Among the "freakiest" athletes of this year's draft class, regardless of position, Musgrave stole the show at the Senior Bowl, Combine and his Oregon State Pro Day, wowing onlookers with his exceptional blend of size, speed (4.61) and agility. Scouts have to determine why all of those traits only resulted in two touchdowns over his career at OSU, especially given that he comes from a football family with his father, Doug, a former quarterback at Oregon and his uncle, Bill, currently a senior offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns.
4. Darnell Washington, Georgia, 6-7, 272, Second Round
Among the most physically imposing players in the entire class and a bit of a throwback to a previous generation of tight ends better suited to bullying opponents at the line of scrimmage than racing downfield on pass routes.
5. Sam LaPorta, Iowa, 6-3, 245, Second-Third Round
While lacking some of the others' flashy traits, LaPorta plays bigger and faster than his measureables would indicate, bouncing off would-be tacklers due to his contact balance and determined running and showing terrific hands and body control. LaPorta would offer Seattle a different frame and style than the tight ends currently on the roster.
NFL Draft expert Rob Rang identifies the top tight end prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.