Saturday marked the second day of rookie minicamp for the Seahawks, with this year’s draft picks and undrafted rookie free agent signings joining a group of tryout players and veterans with rookie minicamp eligibility for practice along the shores of Lake Washington.
For most rookies in camp this weekend, the experience at an NFL facility, let alone the Seahawks’ headquarters, is a foreign one. But that’s not the case for Will Dissly, who Seattle selected in the fourth round of the 2018 draft out nearby University of Washington.
"Really cool to be a part of this organization, just excited to be with the team here,” Dissly said after Saturday’s workout. "Obviously, I’ve been out on this field a few times with the Huskies, but being in a Seahawks uniform it’s an unbelievable experience and just really exciting to keep working with these guys.
“I think this is a great fit for me because this is Seattle, this is my home, I have my buddies over there in my backyard at UW,” Dissly added of his transition to the professional level. "But this is a new challenge, a new opportunity to do some cool things and I’m just trying to give the most effort, more detail in all my play, and just learning a bunch. This whole weekend I’ve just learned so much, so it’s been a cool start.”
That Husky connection isn’t Dissly’s only tie to the region, however. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound tight end is also a native of Bozeman, Mont., and his hometown was buzzing at the news that he would be staying in the Pacific Northwest as his NFL career begins.
"My family is super excited,” he said. "It’s an easy flight. We love the Pacific Northwest, it’s a lot of mountains so a real home feel for me. But Bozeman was really excited. It was a really special opportunity to share with them and they’ve always supported me. It’s been unbelievable.”
On the football field, head coach Pete Carroll has said the Seahawks considered Dissly to be the best blocking tight end in the 2018 draft. Dissly, who interestingly began his career on Montlake as a defensive end, said that background of playing in the trenches helps his approach as a blocker, but ultimately it comes down to “blocking is something that you’ve got to want to do.”
"Obviously there’s techniques here and there, but at the end of the day it’s just something that you want to do,” he said. "Coming from D-line, used to banging heads all the time, it’s just something I want to do. Just want to help the team win is what I’m about. That’s kind of how it translates.”
While the Seahawks primarily selected Dissly because they were attracted to his skills as a blocker, on the first day of rookie minicamp it was Dissly's skills as a pass catcher that caught coach Carroll's eye.
"Very bright kid, obviously, could pick stuff up right away but probably looked better in the passing game than we expected,” Carroll said Friday. "We saw him catch the ball well, but he just looked really clean running routes and all, so that was great.”
Told of Carroll’s pass-catching comment, Dissly added: "I’m just trying to add value to this organization. Whatever coach Carroll has instilled for me, I’m open with arms. Whatever they want me to do, whether it’s blocking or catching. I think every opportunity you can to be the best football player you can, whether it’s catching the ball or blocking, you've got to do that. And to make it in this league, you've got to be prepared every day and every down and give 100 percent effort.”
On Friday, Dissly was one of three Seattle draft picks to sign their first NFL contract, and while Dissly said a pair of new golf clubs may be in his future as a result, it’s his love for the game that motivates him most.
“For me it’s not about money, it’s about I love this game, I love being out here with my guys and just trying to be the best football player I can,” he said. "So that was a cool thing and I worked really hard to get to this point and had a tremendous amount of support, so it was just a cool moment, but at the same time I play for the love of the game.”
Photos from the second day of the Seattle Seahawks 2018 Rookie Minicamp on Saturday, May 5 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.