Goofing around in a 7-on-7 drill during a pre-bowl game practice helped Will Dissly land a job in the NFL two years later.
The Seahawks stayed local in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, selecting Will Dissly, a tight end out of the University of Washington with the 120th overall pick. But if not for a spontaneous moment in a practice leading up to the Huskies’ 2015 bowl game, Dissly likely wouldn’t have heard his name called on Saturday.
Dissly, who arrived at Washington as a defensive end, decided to jump into a drill and run a route as the Huskies were preparing for the Heart of Dallas Bowl. He made a difficult catch, one that caught the attention of Washington coach Chris Petersen, and as a result he got to play a little bit of tight end in the bowl game. The following spring, Dissly made the switch full time, and two years later he became a fourth-round pick.
“I was messing around in a bowl practice, and Coach Petersen was like, ‘Hey, do you want to have a package for this bowl game?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m just trying to play and help the Dawgs win.’” Dissly said from his hometown of Bozeman, Montana. “I did well in the bowl game, then we had a conversation about making it full time in spring ball.
“The D-line was running to the east field, and they were doing 7-on-7, and I was like, ‘Hey, let me get a rep here,’” continued Dissly, who played tight end and defensive end in high school. “Coach Petersen was like, ‘All right, jump in.’ I ran a little stop route, made kind of a tough catch and I think opened some eyes there. It was just all in fun. At the moment I didn’t think anything of it, but I guess I caught some attention.”
Dissly, who is 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, began his college career as a defensive end, but eventually switched to tight end where he played the past two seasons. Dissly was a big part of Washington's running game and is considered one of the better blocking tight ends in this draft, making him a player who could help the Seahawks work toward one of their biggest goals of this offseason, which is improving a running game that has struggled to find consistency the past two seasons.
“I think that’s one of my strong suits,” Dissly said of his run blocking. “Obviously I’m looking to grow my game as much as possible, but I’ve always put pride in my run blocking. I’m the first to say that I’m not afraid to block. I’m excited about that.”
As a pass-catcher, Dissly had 21 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns last season. Dissly started 11 of 13 games last season and was co-winner of the team’s Husky Excellence Award.
The Seahawks came into this offseason needing reinforcements at tight end, having lost both Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson in free agency. Dissly gives the Seahawks four tight ends on the roster, joining Nick Vannett, Tyrone Swoopes and free-agent addition Ed Dickson. Dissly is the first University of Washington product drafted by the Seahawks since Jerramy Stevens was taken in the first round of the 2002 draft. He’s the third Husky selected in this year’s draft after defensive tackle Vita Vea and receiver Dante Pettis.
Check out photos of Washington tight end Will Dissly, who the Seahawks selected with the No. 120 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.