As we wait patiently to find out if free agency is going to happen soon, I wanted to point out a few more offensive players that the Hawks could look at. I'll include a short synopsis of skills/knocks based on what I see and take from multiple scouting reports on each player from outlets like the NFL Combine Page, CBSSports, FFtoolbox, Sideline Scouting, and more.
I'm unsure at this point what the Hawks think of their receiver corps with Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Kris Durham, and Isaiah Stanback. For me, I don't think they should necessarily avoid signing a UDFA WR or two because they feel they're set there - Butler is a question mark in my mind, even if he wasn't coming off a gruesome leg injury. He had way too many easy balls dropped in 2010 for my liking and doesn't bring any physicality to the Hawks' offense, often getting thrown around on first contact. His main weapon would be his speed but he doesn't really translate this to the field. I think if Butler could develop as an outside threat like Mike Wallace, he could be dangerous but at this point they've been using him more in the slot but doesn't have the shiftiness or YAC ability you'd like to see from that position. Golden Tate has talent for sure, but the Hawks will have to utilize his strengths better in 2011. I'm hoping to see him in more of a Percy Harvin role with end-arounds, direct snaps, and bubble screens rather than just throwing up a fade every now and again. Ben Obomanu is a solid player and has admirably worked his way onto the field but I'm still not sold on him as an every-down receiver at this point, and I don't even know if Stanback will make the 53-man roster. That being said, here are some guys that could be intriguing for the Hawks.
Terrance Toliver, LSU
At 6'4, 212, he's another big bodied, long armed receiver with huge 10" hands. He uses his hands well most of the time and catches the ball away from his body, but has a history or frustrating drops due more to his concentration. He's got good body control in the air and on jump balls and his specialty is running deep routes. He has good speed once he has a chance to get in the open field but isn't as good in the slot. If the Hawks are looking to improve their vertical threat arsenal, Toliver would be a cheap option at this point with some potential to be very good. It was a bit of a surprise he didn't get drafted as he was expected to go in the mid-rounds after catching 5 passes for 112 yards and 3 TDs in LSU's Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M, so signing him now could be a good flyer. Rumor has it he went undrafted because of a medical concern though, when I have more details on that I'll update this.
DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss
I talked about Brown a bit before the draft and he ended up getting passed over by all teams. He's a guy that had first round talent written all over him after his first season at Southern Miss but broke his leg the last game of the season and hasn't been the same since. If he could rehab and get back to full health, he'd be another guy that could be a vertical route, deep ball or redzone threat. At 6'6, 240 he's got the straight line speed to get past the secondary on certain routes and could stretch the field but has a ton of red flags due to character, work ethic and maturity.
Jeff Maehl, Oregon
We talked about Maehl before the draft as well, and I was surprised to see him go undrafted. He's got unbelievable shiftiness and solid hands as a prototypical slot receiver with some size at 6'1". He was a producer for Oregon and some team will pick him up in the coming days/weeks. I could see him being a big steal for whoever takes that chance. Without rosterbating too much, the thought of Mike Williams, Golden Tate, Jeff Maehl, and Kris Durham lining up in 4 WR sets would be pretty intriguing.
Tori Gurley, South Carolina
Another big-bodied possession receiver type threat that also has the speed to stretch the field vertically. He's 6'4, 220 and has very reliable hands - he didn't drop a pass in 2010 for the Gamecocks. He's probably best in the slot as he's shown a fearlessness going over the middle and making catches in traffic. He shields defenders away from the ball and is difficult to bring down after the catch. He's young and raw - coming out after only his 2nd year, and though many outlets describe him as a good backup receiver at the next level, in the right system he could be a very reliable slot receiver with the ability to run the occasional seam route with effectiveness to stretch the defense. He also flashes as a good downfield blocking receiver. Check out RookieDraft's profile on Gurley for more info. The more I read about him the more intrigued I get.
Tight end isn't really the biggest position of need for the Hawks as they've got quality starters in John Carlson and Cameron Morrah and depth in Anthony McCoy. Dominique Byrd is on the practice squad but as we saw last year against the Bears in the playoffs, this could be a position they need more depth at.
Weslye Saunders, South Carolina
At 6'5, 272, Weslye Saunders is a huge tight end. With his immense size and surprising athleticism, he's physically capable on the line of holding up defensive ends but also can release downfield and catch a pass or two, making him a bit of a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He has shown a remarkable ability to catch the ball in traffic and is a really solid short to intermediate route target for a quarterback. His size gives him limitations going deep but he's versatile, can block and catch, and has a mean streak and a bit of an attitude. Sounds a bit like a Tom Cable guy. He sat out all of 2010 because he accepted gifts and his questionable character concerns have left him undrafted. Originally a 1st or 2nd round prospect until getting dismissed from South Carolina, he's similar in stature and style to Anthony McCoy so I could see him being on Seattle's radar as depth.
Andre Smith, Virginia Tech
6'5, 270. He's another physically impressive blocking tight end that can also release and catch short to intermediate routes with soft hands. Would be good in two tight end sets and could be a matchup headache. He's durable and could contribute on special teams.
Schuylar Oordt, Northern Iowa
Oordt, in my mind, would be sort of like a Jameson Konz pickup. He's a physical specimen - he ran a 4.58 at 6'6, 260 and is a deep threat seam route H-Back/Tight End that can track the ball in flight and make the over the shoulder catch with soft hands. He's very raw in his blocking but could have upside if that were coached up and improved upon. His physical attributes are suited to a versatile role and the Hawks have shown they love guys that can move around. He has potential to swing back to fullback like we saw with John Carlson last season, line up in-line as a tight end, or slide out to the slot or in motion to run a vertical route. He's a high-character guy, a hard worker. If the Hawks do pick him up, I'll be excited at his prospect as a player but bummed out because his name is extraordinarily hard to remember how to spell.
Allen Reisner, Iowa
Reisner looks a little bit more like a fullback than a tight end but is in the H-Back mold of player that can line up as a tight end, in the slot or in motion to the wing, or in the backfield. He's 6'2, 250 and possesses soft hands and an ability to find the open spot in the zone. Once he catches the ball he's a good YAC runner, always going forward and showing good spacial awareness. He's got less upside as an athlete but is a hard worker and a good blocker out of the backfield.