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Draft Wish List: A tight end for each day of the draft

Portland State v Idaho State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

If the first month of both the 2018 and ‘19 seasons are any indication, the Seahawks are set at the top of the tight end position. Will Dissly has begun each season of his career terrifically, however, both have been cut short due to two of the worst injuries a player can suffer. While the way in which he returned from a patellar tendon injury that cut short his 2018 season was encouraging, Seattle can’t yet depend on the former Husky to be the long-term answer. In the short-term, they have signed veteran Greg Olsen to a one-year deal, and have pleasant surprise Jacob Hollister as well.

Though it’s already a crowded tight end corps, the Seahawks could very well address the position in the draft. It’s one of the weakest tight end classes in recent memory, but there are several well-rounded talents available.

(Disclaimer: It’s quite possible round one comes and goes without a tight end being selected, but for this exercise, we’ll be bumping one of the draft’s best at the position into day one.)

Day 1: Cole Kmet

With a better Scouting Combine, Kmet would likely be much more sought after than he is. Instead, the former Notre Dame tight end tested rather pedestrian, slotting in the 77th percentile. Kmet has ideal size at 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, and uses it well in both phases, but his limited athleticism makes his upside as a receiver, which is already a projection, more difficult to make. He has an excellent catch radius and good hands. Prior to the catch, however, he is a choppy mover.

As a rookie, Kmet should be able to slide right into a starting role because of his ability in-line as a blocker, and as a decent option in the short and intermediate areas in the passing game. In a league fueled by 11 personnel offenses, Kmet can be a three-down player right away. With time, Kmet could develop into a Pro Bowl player at tight end. There’s no question surrounding Kmet’s potential fit in Seattle’s offense—but plenty of questions about whether he’s worth a high selection or not.

Day 2: Adam Trautman

While Kmet failed to establish himself as the clear cut top tight end in this year’s class, Adam Trautman has been enjoying a very positive pre-draft process. The former Dayton Flyer was one of the more intriguing players in Mobile at this year’s Senior Bowl, and went onto impress during a week of practices there. Similar to Kmet, Trautman tested in the middle of the road, in the 66th percentile.

Trautman did what you would hope at a lower level of competition—dominate. Over two seasons, Trautman posted 110 catches, 1,511 yards and 23 touchdowns. Trautman’s athletic testing doesn’t properly represent his fluidity in his route and after the catch, and he has the potential to be a legitimate mismatch in the NFL. Unsurprisingly, as the Flyers’ best player, Trautman was not asked to stay in-line and block often, but at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he has the frame to do so at the next level. Trautman could end up being the first tight end off the board later this month, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if that is the case.

Day 3: Charlie Taumoepeau

Taumoepeau, a Portland State product and a native of Seattle, got himself into the conversation to be drafted in a weak tight end class with a strong showing at the combine. At a lower level of competition in the Big Sky conference, Taumoepeau produced numerous big plays and often overmatched the linebackers and safeties opposite him. While he won’t present such a threat in the NFL, he has solid hands and intriguing versatility.

Pete Carroll has yet to be able to quit fullbacks full time, but a player like Taumoepeau offers a solution. At 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, Taumoepeau can get snaps at fullback, in-line at tight end and, with his speed, he can be a plus special teams contributor. At the end of the draft, that has the potential to provide tidy value.

In a weak tight end class, the Seahawks may not address the position—especially with several potential contributors already in place. It’s difficult to rule anything out with Seattle, however. If they zag once more and shoot for a tight end, there are a handful of prospects who possess intriguing upside.