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Seahawks 2021 pre-draft checkup: QBs, TEs, and Special Teams

Part 8 of a 9-part series

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Normally the installment right before the series finale is the “penultimate” one - the longest, most robust, most jam-packed installment.

This time, not so much.

Which is sort of amusing since this is the installment where I am going to do more than just reference Russell Wilson in passing.

Today’s position groups are:

  • Special Teams (the full-time ST guys)
  • Tight Ends
  • Quarterbacks

Turnover, thus far

Out:

  • Greg Olsen, TE: Retired
  • Jacob Hollister, TE: Free agent, signed with Buffalo
  • Luke Willson, TE: Free agent, unsigned
  • Stephen Sullivan, TE: Released; signed with Carolina

In:

  • Gerald Everett, TE

Net result: At this point, we have basically swapped 4 tight ends for 1 tight end.


Special Teams

Starting with this group because it will be quick.

Jason Myers has connected on 47 of 52 field goals since coming to Seattle after the 2018 season. He was a perfect 24-of-24 last season, and has converted his last 37 straight attempts, dating to the middle of the 2019 season.

There should be zero concerns about Mr. Myers.

Even when he inevitably misses a field goal (and then starts a new streak).

_____

Michael Dickson is a Pro Bowl punter who is a bona fide weapon and actually somehow manages to make the Seahawks having to punt seem like a little bit less of a bad thing.

There is only one thing to be concerned about with Mr. Dickson . . .

When is he going to sign an extension?

_____

Tyler Ott . . . If you just said, “Who?” then shame on you. Mr. Ott is one of the best Long Snappers in the game and his awesomeness is an integral part of why our special teams are as great as they are.

He’s signed through 2022 so zero concerns (this year).


Tight Ends

If you missed Tyler Alsin’s February expose on John Schneider’s “fascination with tight ends”, you should take a look.

My take is that we currently have 4 on our roster and while one more “wouldn’t hurt,” I don’t feel like it is an area of concern.

Seattle still has Will Dissly - who, as Mookie noted, finally made it through an entire season healthy.

The Hawks have “upgraded” from Greg Olsen to Gerald Everett - which sort of seemed like a foregone conclusion the moment we hired Shane Waldron as our new OC, but wasn’t actually official until free agency opened.

Jacob Hollister and Stephen Sullivan departed - for Buffalo and Carolina, respectively. Luke Willson is currently unsigned.

Of those 3, only Hollister recorded any stats last year (25 catches, 209 yards, 3 TDs). It seems reasonable to assume Colby Parkinson (R4, 2020) and/or Tyler Mabry (UDFA, 2020) can pick up the slack - if Everett and/or Dissly don’t do it first.

That said . . .

If this year’s draft is crazier than usual and Florida’s Kyle Pitts lands in our laps, or if Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth is still on the board at #56 then all bets are off.

Boston College’s Hunter Long and Miami’s Brevin Jordan would also be quality additions.

And then there’s Tre’ McKitty . . . who I hope makes a team this year just so we can hear an NFL announcer say his name :)

If it were up to me though, given our current picks, and assuming that Tight End was the call, my pick (at #129, or later) would be Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble.

If you only read PFN’s Player Profile on Tommy Tremble, you might be wondering why he would be my pick. The answer lies in what PFF had to say about him in their 2021 NFL Draft Guide (no link; premium subscription required):

In the right scheme, Tremble could very easily take the torch from Kyle Juszczyk as the league’s best fullback.

Consider me intrigued.


Quarterbacks

Despite the offseason drama, and despite the offensive struggles the team had the second half of last season, the list of people who are “concerned” about Seattle’s QB1 is probably exceedingly short. At least in regard to the on-field “product.”

However, just in case anyone reading this article is on the list of those who are concerned, let’s see if I can put your mind at ease . . .

  • Russell Wilson’s 4,212 passing yards last season were 7 yards shy of his career high.
  • His 40 touchdowns were a single-season record for the Seahawks and tied for the 13th-most by any QB in any season . . . in NFL history.
  • The 213 first downs last year? 20 more than his previous best.
  • The 73.5 QBR? A career high.
  • His 267 career touchdown passes? The 2nd most through 9 seasons in NFL history.
  • The 98 wins over his first 9 seasons? An NFL record.

Worth Noting: Someone will undoubtedly point out in the Comments that I’m a leading advocate for the idea of trading Mr. Wilson. My counter to that will be that it’s NOT because of his performance or any concerns I have about him leading our team.

Wilson is a winner. Wilson gives the Hawks a chance to win every single game. There should be ZERO concerns about the Quarterback position as long as he’s in Seattle.

But Seattle does have more than one quarterback on the roster.

And although Russell Wilson has started 144 of 144 regular season games over his 9-year career, there does exist the possibility that his streak could end at some point, perhaps even this year.

On the bright side, the Hawks re-signed Geno Smith last week.

Why did I say, “bright side”?

For 2 reasons.

Reason #1: Behind Geno, we currently have Alex McGough and Danny Etling. Neither has any “actual” experience and neither are likely to inspire any confidence if the team were to have to turn to them unexpectedly.

At the very least, Geno gives us an insurance policy that keeps McGough and/or Etling on the “development” path (aka “the bench”) - and that insurance policy is worth every penny of the Veteran Minimum (or slightly higher) that the Hawks are paying Geno for his services.

Reason #2: While Geno isn’t a “direct replacement” for Russell Wilson (really, who is?), he isn’t necessarily a “bad” quarterback, nor is he completely incapable of delivering a few Ws should we ever have to turn to him (which we hopefully don’t).

Need proof?

Let’s start with this post by Quaternion last Thursday:

So the Seahawks just re-signed the best quarterback from the 2013 draft to back up the best quarterback from the 2012 draft? And yes, Geno Smith does have a case for being the former.

I realize that quarterback wins are an overrated stat. But out of 11 quarterbacks who were drafted and one UDFA who did actually play in a game, here’s the career records as a starting quarterback for the class of 2013:

Geno Smith: 12-19
EJ Manuel: 6-12
Mike Glennon: 6-21
Matt Barkley: 2-5
Landry Jones: 3-2
Jeff Tuel: 0-1

The other six quarterbacks who were drafted never started a game and have a cumulative total of 19 career passing attempts. Mike Glennon and Matt Barkley are the only other quarterbacks from that year who were still in the league last year.

Quarterback wins aside, and not limiting things to the QB class of 2013, I have a current comparison for Geno Smith.

To be clear, I am not saying that the QB that I am about to mention is “good” (per se), or that Seattle would want to add him if he were available, but the QB that I am about to mention was a full-time starter last year and is (currently) penciled in to be his team’s starter again this year.

Who am I referring to?

Drew Lock

Stop laughing and bear with me for a minute . . .

When drafted

  • Geno Smith: Round 2, #39 overall (2013)
  • Drew Lock: Round 2, #42 overall (2019)

Their first “full” year as a starter

  • Geno Smith: 247 of 443 (55.8%) for 3,046 yards with 148 first downs
  • Drew Lock: 254 of 443 (57.3%) for 2,933 yards with 145 first downs

Pretty similar, no?

Admittedly, those stats are slightly “cherry-picked.”

For instance, Lock’s first season as a starter was his 2nd year in the league whereas Geno’s was his rookie season. And Geno’s stats are from 16 games (16 starts) whereas Lock’s are from 13 games. I also omitted TDs and INTs and their W-L record and, well, basically everything else too. But I did include links so feel free to check out their full stat lines for yourself.

For me, what stands out is that the attempts are identical, the completions are only 7 apart, the 1st downs are only 3 apart, and they were separated by only 113 passing yards (3.x%). It’s pretty uncanny.

Would I want either of them starting full-time for the Seahawks this year?

No, absolutely not!

But if something were to happen to RW3 (knock on wood), turning to Geno might at least allow the team to stay “competitive” - which is not something I think I could (or would) say with McGough or Etling under center.