The Seattle Seahawks have selected Ohio State TE Nick Vannett with the second of their three 3rd Round picks, 94th overall in the NFL Draft.
Vannett adds depth to the position and provides a hedge for Luke Willson should Willson leave in free agency after next year. He projects as more of a traditional style tight end with some upside as a pass catcher, but hopefully has a future blocking in-line for Seattle in the run game as well. Ideally he's the Zach Miller type of tight end in the Seahawks system.
Obviously, with Jimmy Graham's health up in the air, the added depth with the Vannett pick is a nice bonus too.
Here's a scouting report on Vannett rom NFL.com's Lance Zeirlein.
STRENGTHS Endowed with an all-day NFL body type. Carries long limbs and big hands on a muscular, athletic frame. Comfortable hands in traffic and can make the heavily contested catch. Not afraid of taking a hit over the middle to secure the throw. Fluid mover and has the flexibility to sink and run sharp angle routes. Has body control and catch radius to pluck it high or low. Has size and ability to handle inline blocking assignments and will battle once he's locked into a one-on-one fight. Was trusted to help in pass protection. Lined up wide, in slot and as both move and inline tight end. Finds his place against zone and works himself into open, easy throws for quarterbacks on the move.
WEAKNESSES Allows defender to crowd him on seam routes. Will need to improve hand fighting and leverage to create late separation for catches. Needs to be tougher at point of attack as a blocker. As move tight end, didnt always fire downhill into his iso blocks. Allows defensive ends and outside linebackers to bring the fight to him. Routes need refining for better separation against man coverage. Run after catch potential not realized because his legs are easy targets for secondary to chop down.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 3 or 4
NFL COMPARISON Zach Ertz
BOTTOM LINE Vannett's combination of size and athleticism will be very attractive to teams in search of a combination tight end who can stay on the field and operate from a variety of personnel groupings and formations. Vannett will need to embrace his size and become more aggressive as a blocker, but his athleticism and pass catching ability could turn him into a safety blanket for a quarterback in need of a big, safe target.
Here's what scouts at NFLDraftScout.com had to say.
STRENGTHS: Good all-around prospect who essentially got lost amongst all the talent that Urban Myer collected in Columbus. You can line him up in-line, in the slot or make him an H-back.
Good run blocker, whether in space or in tight quarters. Has good feet and plays with leverage. While he's not overwhelming at the point of attack, he can stay in front of defenders and be very effective in blocking for his teammates.
Can be an asset in the passing game. Runs well and can create separation, and has displayed strong hands and focus to finish contested catches.
WEAKNESSNESS: Not used all that much in the Ohio State passing game, so you really see a limited version of what he can do as a receiver. It may take him some time to acclimate to an NFL offense and the intricacies of the playbook.
No much shake at the top of routes to create separation.
IN OUR VIEW: Vannett showed he can be an every-down viable tight end where you can virtually line him up anywhere to help out an offense. He certainly is more than solid in the run game and helping to open up some holes. When given opportunities, Vannett caught the ball well.
While this isn't a deep tight end draft class, Vannett could separate himself as the top senior prospect at the position and worthy mid-round pick.
Here's what Tony Pauline said about Vennett.
Positive: Broke into the starting lineup as a senior and totaled 19 receptions for 162 yards. Developing tight end with a complete game. Terrific pass catcher who gets down the seam, extends and makes the reception away from his frame. Comes across the middle of the field, uses his frame to shield away opponents and looks the ball into his hands. Gets vertical and contorts to come away with the difficult grab in a crowd. Consistent hand catcher with a lot of natural receiving skills. Gives effort blocking, plays with solid fundamentals and works through the whistle. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looking for someone to hit. Keeps his feet moving on contact as a blocker and shows ability on the 2nd level.
Negative: Average blocking strength and struggles to finish. Lacks the true speed to separate downfield. Has a limited body of work.
Analysis: After being used in a rotational system early in his college career, Vannett watched his game take off last year when he moved into the starting lineup. He performed brilliantly at the Senior Bowl as both a pass catcher and blocker and now grades as one of the more underrated tight end prospects in the draft.
The Seahawks now have 9 selections total in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 26 (26): Germain Ifedi, OL Texas A&M
Round 2, Pick 18 (49): Jarran Reed, DL Alabama
Round 3, Pick 27 (90): C.J. Prosise, RB Notre Dame
Round 3, Pick 31 (94): Nick Vannett, TE Ohio State
Round 3, Pick 35 (97) (Comp pick):
Round 5, Pick 34 (171) (Comp pick):
Round 6, Pick 40 (215) (Comp pick):
Round 7, Pick 4 (225) (From Cowboys):
Round 7, Pick 26 (247):