Shane Waldron has absolutely revolutionized the Seattle Seahawks offense. In the aftermath of a departed quarterback, the campaign of Geno Smith has centered around brilliant decisions, impressive accuracy, the intermediate game, and three men who tower above their opponents.
Introducing, the only three guys eligible to catch a pass and who are at least as tall as DK Metcalf: the Seattle tight ends.
Will Dissly is the familiar face, as Noah Fant arrived this season and Colby Parkinson simply hadn’t played much. But together - and we do mean together because of the prolific 13 personnel package when they’re all on the field - they’ve done some significant damage en route to the 6-4 start for the Hawks.
Just how good are these guys now?
Are they....Travis Kelce good?
Seahawks have 3 of NFL's top 25 tight ends by PFF grades https://t.co/Wbk4abDKR4— Seahawks on Scoreboard Page (@SEAHAWKSonSP) November 23, 2022
Spoiler alert: It’s a ridiculous question, and the answer is no, but that doesn’t mean the question is useless. As they’re on a pretty significant timeshare, I was curious how the entire position group has fared this season up against the current best in the game.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of their fun stats. By way of reminder, YAC is yards after catch and aDot is average depth of target, an evaluation of route running success. Also included are their Pro Football Focus blocking grades.
Dissly - 26/28 | 258 yards | 3 TD | 150 YAC | aDot 4.1
pass block 67.9
run block 65.7
Fant - 30/38 | 306 yards | 1 TD | 175 YAC | aDot 6.1
pass block 62.8
run block 53.5
Parkinson - 13/16 | 172 yards | 1 TD | 102 YAC | aDot 6.9
pass block 66.0
run block 60.9
In total: 1 broken tackle.
Not too shabby! Especially on the efficiency and consistency side. That’s only 13 incompletions to tight ends on the season, and each with average or better blocking scores.
Here’s the composite with Kelce’s to compare.
Seattle tight ends
69 / 82 | 736 yards | 5 TD | 427 YAC | non-weighted aDot 5.7
The composite pass block score was 65.57 and run block was 60.03
Travis Kelce stats
69 / 94 | 855 yards | 11 TD! | 397 YAC | aDot 7.2
- 11 broken tackles
- pass block 62.6
- run block 63.7
In all, it’s about what one might expect, with some surprises in each direction. Travis Kelce’s 11 receiving TD lead the NFL at the moment. The next tight end has five.
However, as a whole, stacked against the game’s best, Seattle holds its own. They’re a slightly better pass-catching group, better pass blockers, but a less dynamic / explosive unit.
One might argue that this entire study is irrelevant because Kelce is on the field by himself, whereas Seattle needs three players to (almost) match his production.
One might easily counter that the variable run / pass option that Waldron has created out of multiple tight end sets in the same formation more than supersedes the “it’s going to Kelce” approach.
In a year of fun surprises, tight end been one of the best position groups to watch this season.