After running backs and offensive linemen got the Scouting Combine underway on Wednesday, it rolls on as tight ends and wide receivers take their turn getting measured on Thursday.
To put all wide receivers under the same umbrella would be misguided—it’s several positions within a position. Every good wide receiver corps resembles a starting five, and to have a well rounded group, a team needs a vertical stretcher, an underneath receiver and an above-the-rim player. That’s how I split the position, but the Seattle Seahawks have consistent thresholds across the position they follow, regardless of the role.
Similarly, at tight end there are different roles— a move tight end is not an in-line tight end is not an H-back. However, like at wide receiver, Seattle does have trends they follow, albeit less strict than at wide receiver.
In terms of athletic testing, the Seahawks’ thresholds are consistent regardless of the type of receiver. Where it differs is the size requirements. In a possession receiver who wins above-the-rim, Seattle looks for a player 6-foot-2 and above, and 210-plus pounds. We’ve seen different body types among that style of player, from the string-bean Kenny Lawler (who admittedly fell outside their mold) to the granite-carved David Moore. In a slot receiver, the Seahawks look for a player around 5-foot-10 and between 180 and 190 pounds. And, in a deep threat—though a small sample size—it’s just about clearing that 5-foot-10 threshold.
The athletic testing is highly focused on the important traits at the position. Explosiveness is (logically) desired: 10 of 12 receivers drafted by the Seahawks (or impactful UDFAs) since 2010 jumped 10’ or higher in the broad and 35” or higher in the vertical. All of the 12 receivers were below 7.2 seconds in the three cone, which tests a player’s change of direction, and all but Lawler ran a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash. (And really, all any team should be looking for in the 40-yard dash, for the most part, is functional speed.)
With the exception of the uber-athletic and largely positionless Jameson Konz, Seattle has consistently targeted tight ends 6-foot-4 and taller, and between 250-260 pounds. (For as specific as the Seahawks get at some positions, this is about as average can be. Perhaps, for a true modern tight end in the Evan Engram or David Njoku mold they would go smaller, but even the freakish Jimmy Graham was 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds.)
Athletically, Seattle isn’t looking for anything particularly unique—which goes back to the different roles within the position. The trends for the broad jump (9’) and vertical jump (30”) are quite average. Regardless of whether it’s a traditional blocking tight end like Will Dissly, or a total project like Konz, change of direction ability is desired—watch for players who come in at 7.1 seconds and below.
The Seahawks could add a player at both wide receiver and tight end, whether it’s in free agency or through the draft. There are half a dozen roles within those two positions, but Seattle narrows the pool by looking for their kind of players and athletes.