It’s not often that the third tight end on the roster is a topic of conversation, but Colby Parkinson is in the final year of his rookie contract and could be poised to live up to his immense potential in 2023.
As a fourth-round pick out of Stanford in 2020, Parkinson was seen largely as a receiving threat – and what a giant target he is at 6’7. Over the years, he’s taken advantage of the Seahawks strength and conditioning program and added plenty of muscle to become a more well-rounded TE.
Parkinson’s 2022 stat line might not be that impressive on first glance with 25 catches for 322 yards and 2 TDs, but that production dwarfed his first two seasons where he only had 7 catches for 49 yards and 0 TDs. However, the fact that he played in all 17 regular season games for the first time in his career might be the best part about Parkinson’s 2023 season considering he missed 13 games in 2020-2021 with various injuries.
With Parkinson finally staying healthy, he proved that he’s a mismatch to almost every defender opposing teams can throw at him. He’s fast enough to outrun opposing LBs and big enough to box out DBs in the red zone.
Throwing to 6-foot-7 Colby Parkinson should be like stealing candy from a baby in the red zone with his size/speed/catch radius. This could be a precursor to seeing him get more targets inside the 20 moving forward. #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/Ee31cuFHOj— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) January 3, 2023
That poor DB had no chance.
Parkinson is still a work-in-progress in the blocking department, but he’s light years ahead of where he was when he came to the NFL and is no longer solely a receiving threat. Look at our boy finish!
Colby Parkinson finishing the block on Lawson. PFF had him as a top 5 run blocking tight end in 2022. I would tend to agree! pic.twitter.com/fAgBqsRYct— mr sunshine on my goddamn shoulders (@JamesBallwin) June 20, 2023
The Seahawks have an interesting decision looming within their TE room. Both Parkinson and Noah Fant are free agents after this season and Will Dissly is only signed through 2024 with no guaranteed salary left for that season. Each has a different skillset – Fant is the most productive receiver, Dissly the best blocker, and Parkinson a nice mix of the other two with the best potential for physical mismatches. It’s highly unlikely that all three of the current TEs will be on the roster next season and it’s not totally inconceivable that Seattle would move on from all of them.
Seattle may only choose one player from the current TE trio to pay in 2024 and beyond, especially if the multiple TE sets are used less often with the addition of Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Parkinson may be the best choice as an all-around TE, especially if he continues to improve his blocking. Factor in age – he won’t turn 25 until January – and you begin to see a future where the Seahawks bet on Parkinson with a long-term contract and draft replacements for Dissly and/or Fant.
In order to make that an easy decision, Parkinson needs to continue his development and steady improvement. Then again, that might also price him out of Seattle. Either way, Parkinson has a lot to gain in 2023.