With Seahawks training camp kicking off later this month, Seahawks.com is taking a look at 10 of the most intriguing storylines, position battles and players heading into the 2023 season. On Monday we kicked things off with special teams, and today, we take a look at tight end, a position group looking to build off a strong 2022 season. Check back tomorrow when we focus on a new-look defensive line.
Tight End Key Additions: None.
Tight End Key Departures None.
The Seahawks made a big addition at tight end last offseason, acquiring former first-round pick Noah Fant in the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver.
And in Fant's first season in Seattle, he combined with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson to form a formidable trio of tight ends that gave offensive coordinator Shane Waldron a lot of flexibility in how he used that position group. The Seahawks used three-tight sets, or 13 personnel, more frequently last year than they have in the past, and for the most part the results were good, both in the running game and in the passing game.
While the Seahawks didn't get huge numbers out of one tight end (sorry, fantasy football players), Fant, Dissly and Parkinson combined to put up what would be high-end production for the position, combing to record 109 catches for 1,157 yards and nine touchdowns. All three also played a big role in helping protect Geno Smith in a Pro Bowl and Comeback Player of the Year Award-winning season, and helped pave the way for Kenneth Walker III to lead all rookies in rushing (1,050) and touchdowns (nine).
So it shouldn't come as much surprise that the Seahawks were content to come into this season with, for the most part, the same group of tight ends, with Tyler Mabry, who has spent most of his time in Seattle on the practice squad, adding depth. The Seahawks did add a pair of tight ends as undrafted free agents, Noah Gindorff and Griffin Hebert, but for the most part they like what they had at that spot coming out of last season.
That tight end trio is part of the reason the Seahawks came out of the 2023 draft without selecting a tight end despite it being a strong position group in this year's class.
"We had a couple guys identified that (tight ends coach Pat McPherson) really liked, and our whole staff liked that were real good fits, good special teams players. But kind of like the quarterbacks, it just didn't fit at the correct time (in the draft), general manager John Schneider said following the draft. "It could be by design to a certain extent the way we build our board. We grade for our team, not the National Football League. And what our team looks like, we have a really strong group and we believe in all those guys."
If there was a big question mark at that position coming out of last season, it was the health of Dissly, who finished the year on injured reserve with what Pete Carroll described as an unusual knee injury. At the time it was unclear if Dissly would need surgery or not, but in the end he was able to rehab the injury without surgery, and was full-go for offseason workouts.
"He feels he's absolutely back," Carroll said last month. "Had a great offseason working down in L.A. with his guys. He's got great support down there. He had an incredibly effective recovery. He's doing great."