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What do the Seahawks have in Colby Parkinson?

Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Second-year tight end Colby Parkinson finished the season having accumulated a grand total of 187 offensive snaps for the Seattle Seahawks. This equates to less than a quarter of the total snaps for the offense, according to Pro Football Focus. However, 78 of these came over the team’s final three games. In fact, following the first two Weeks of the season, where Parkinson played in 38 and 35 snaps against the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, respectively, he never saw the field for more than 8 offensive plays per game until he saw his time increase over the final three weeks.

These numbers aren’t exactly jaw dropping for the player who was once the number one overall recruit at his position in 2017. However, this seems to pretty clearly be an effort on the part of the team to give a young guy some playing time and see what he can do on the field. And what did he do? Well, he made a couple receptions and gained a first down. And what may be even more significant is the play that he didn’t make, and I don’t mean this as a slight to Colby; his near miss in the Red Zone during the second quarter looked like a promising glimpse of what may lie ahead for the physically imposing pass catcher.

The pass is a little high and the timing is a little off, but this is less of a tight window than a pinhole, and Russell Wilson put the ball in a spot where only his hulking tight end would have an opportunity to make the catch. Sure, he didn’t come down with it this time, but this looks like something that the team could build on and work into the rotation in 2022. And this is not the only area of growth for the young player with a couple seasons now under his belt.

In general, Colby Parkinson has yet to display the “dominating” traits that you would hope to see from somebody with his unique capabilities; take this play below for example.

It is for reasons like this that Colby Parkinson often seems to be the forgotten man in the Seattle Seahawks small but talented corps of tight ends; he has a grand total of seven receptions in his two seasons since being drafted. However, five of those receptions came this season, including a couple in the thrilling win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. But this being said, the team is almost certainly hoping to see some more growth out of the young guy with the imposing 6’7” frame. They would like to see more plays like this one below, where he just turns up field and powers through the contact.

Even though he only gained a couple extra yards, he displayed the fight and reach on this play that he will need to keep building on as he continues to play.

And of course, much of Colby’s slow start has been due to factors outside of his control, as he has seen his young career derailed by injuries; suffering a second consecutive foot injury in August was a real kicker, especially after having a reportedly impressive offseason of working with Russell Wilson. Sitting behind the talented duo of Gerald Everett and Will Dissly in 2021 didn’t help his case for playing time, either, although he did seem to vulture some snaps away from Dissly over the final weeks. But both of the veterans are expected to be free agents at this point — free agents who the team should definitely try to retain, in my opinion. Colby has yet to demonstrate that he can be more than depth so far; he definitely has the physical attributes required to be successful, if not dominant, but has he done enough so far to justify seeing an expanded role next season — when he could potentially be the only veteran carryover with playing experience at his position? Seeing how the team approaches Free Agency and the Draft may provide some clues as to how the team feels, but at the bare minimum, they have to feel at least a little bit more confident after giving him some extended work over the final weeks. I look forward to seeing where he can take his role this offseason and beyond.