Chris Duvalt contributed primarily on special teams for the Fighting Illini and if he makes Seattle's 53 man roster, it's likely as a gunner. Chirp, by way of Mac's Football Blog, by way of Duvalt's agent's Twitter, is reporting that Seattle has signed the former Illinois player to a three-year deal. In four seasons in Champaign, Duvalt had 33 receptions and nine tackles. As a receiver, he's playing at a position pretty choked with bodies. Not to say he couldn't fight his way into the mix, but he's currently behind T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Deon Butler, Golden Tate, Mike Williams, Reggie Williams; presumably, Ben Obomanu, Ruvell Martin, Mike Hass, Jameson Konz, and maybe even Michael Jones and Patrick Carter.
Seattle is not lacking for players to run drills. It has a punt return problem. I think the problem is with punter Jon Ryan and his tendency to kick the ball long rather than high, but if the punter is over-kicking the coverage, the other solution is to get more speed on the coverage unit. Obomanu developed into a solid gunner as the season progressed but he's no speed demon. It wasn't a position I thought Seattle needed to upgrade at, but like a lot of decisions this offseason, that it doesn't accord with my opinions does not mean it's wrong. Whatever the outcome, I am happy to see the FO acknowledges a problem. Ryan kicked the crap out of the ball and his average punt length ranked seventh among primary punters, but his net was only 15th because Seattle allowed the third most yards per return.
Duvalt once had 4.38 speed. He can get further faster than Obomanu. Not even Sean Morey is free from competition. I love it.