_With Seahawks training camp kicking off later this week, Seahawks.com is taking a look at some of the team’s most intriguing storylines, position battles and players heading into the 2019 season. Today, we look at the competition at tight end, and Tuesday wrap things up looking at a rookie class the Seahawks hope can make big contributions right away. _
When Will Dissly went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 4 of the 2018 season, it was a premature end to what began as a very promising rookie campaign for the fourth-round pick out of the University of Washington.
And while the Seahawks would have loved to have had Dissly for longer last season, his return to action this year after such a brief rookie season almost makes him feel like an addition to a position group that on top of Dissly has a number of interesting options who can do a lot of different things.
Following Dissly’s injury, the Seahawks leaned heavily on Nick Vannett, then later Ed Dickson when the veteran free-agent signee made it back from his own injury. But what also emerged last year was a new role for offensive tackle George Fant, who served as a hybrid sixth lineman/big tight end—and yes, occasional route-runner and pass-catcher—who helped pave the way for the NFL’s top rushing attack.
“We love the big tight ends, as we showed you last year with George Fant doing a great job for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “So Will and George and Eddie Dickson, those guys are a pretty good group right there. They all are a little bit different. We will use them according to their strengths, hopefully well.”
Dickson, who is heading into his 10th season, should be more comfortable in the offense than he was last year when he jumped into things midseason after missing the first six games and all of the preseason. Vannett, meanwhile, is heading into his fourth season and looking to build off a 2018 in which he set career highs in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. The Seahawks generally carry three tight ends—though if you count Fant, who can also back up at both tackle spots, it will likely be four—meaning there should be a tough battle for the final roster spot or two at that position. Not only do the Seahawks return the aforementioned players, there’s also Tyrone Swoopes, who split time between the practice squad and active roster last year, and Jacob Hollister, an offseason trade acquisition who impressed coaches during offseason workouts.
“Terrific acquisition, he has had a great camp,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said of Hollister. “The speed element is awesome, really good route-runner. A lot like Tyler in terms of the instincts, just the ability to get open. He has a great feel for coverages, man and zone, things like that… He has been a great acquisition, he really has.”
As for Dissly, even if he isn’t on the field for Day 1 of camp this week, he figures to be on the field soon and have a big role in 2019 after showing so much promise last year.
“He’s on schedule,” Carroll said. “We’ll get to camp and figure out what it means in camp. He’s running, catching balls and doing stuff in the workouts and all that, so he’s making good progress. We think there’s no reason for him not to be on schedule when we get back to camp, which would mean we’d not rush him, so we’ll take a few weeks in camp before we would think to cut him loose.”
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The Seahawks rookies report back to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for 2019 Training Camp.