The Seattle Seahawks moved on from Jimmy Graham this offseason by not offering him a new contract. He signed with the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks signed Ed Dickson in free agency and drafted Will Dissly this offseason to replace Graham and Luke Willson, who also departed over the summer.
But, Seattle’s tight end question has stretched back for more than a decade.
Since Christian Fauria was the Seahawks’ tight end for four years at the turn of the century, no tight end has started more than three years for Seattle. You run through a list of names that are recognizable to Seahawk fans, but other than Jimmy Graham and possibly Zach Miller, none of them really were that good. So, it seems like a position that is constantly in flux.
Let’s take it year by year, and the player with the most starts at tight end in a year will be listed.
1998-2001 Christian Fauria. A good blocker with solid hands.
2002-2003 Itula Mili. One of my favorite Seahawks of all time, very good in the run game and had enough athleticism to make some plays with the ball.
2004-2006 Jerramy Stevens. A receiving tight end who had problems with drops and off the field issues.
2007 Marcus Pollard. A really good receiving tight end for the Indianapolis Colts but was at the end of his career in Seattle.
2008-2010 John Carlson. Carlson was pretty solid all around, probably a better receiver than blocker.
2011-2013 Zach Miller. Was known as a receiver before coming to Seattle, then became known as a great blocker with excellent hands.
2014 Luke Willson. He had great speed and athleticism, was a willing blocker but just did not make a lot of plays.
2015-2017 Jimmy Graham. Seattle thought they finally had a tight end that could score touchdowns and be a difference maker on the field. But, he only scored touchdowns and did not make a huge difference, especially in the run game and outside the red zone.
2018 Will Dissly, Nick Vannett and Tyrone Swoopes all have starts so far. Dissly has shown tremendous promise in his limited snaps this year before his season ending injury, both blocking and receiving. Vannett has been with the team for a while and we are waiting for him to show his strengths. Swoopes was called up to help after injuries to Dickson, Vannett and Dissly, and he’s a good receiver with some athleticism, but is not in the team’s long-term plans.
So, this is 20 years of some good tight ends but mostly average players, and none of them were very long term. I am not going to speculate on why tight end is somewhat of a trouble area for the Seahawks, because that seems pointless. I am just pointing out an interesting trend I have seen with Seattle.
I do see a lot of upside in Dissly and I think he can develop into one of the better tight ends we have seen in the Pacific Northwest. He outperformed expectations in his first professional games as a blocker and as a receiver. But we will have to wait until next year to see if he develops because of his injury.