Pete Carroll has made a point of giving undrafted free agents and late round picks an opportunity to show the rest of the league that they made a mistake. It can be hard to predict who the next “Doug Baldwin” is gonna be year-to-year, but it was obvious early on that Tanner McEvoy was special.
McEvoy was an incredibly unique athlete out of Wisconsin, a freakishly fast 6’6 human being who did everything for the Badgers including: throwing, running, catching, and playing defense at safety. But he never did any one thing good enough to attract NFL scouts or to convince a GM to spend a draft pick on him. Even the Seahawks, the team that signed him after the draft, didn’t even know what to do with him.
Carroll said that they’d try him on defense first and see what happens, but seemed to almost immediately decide that McEvoy had no future at safety. At that point you’d think that a guy with 10 career catches in college would almost certainly not make the final cut -- especially on a team that had at least seven or eight viable candidates for the final wide receiver spot -- but McEvoy proved he’d be worth keeping around while several others got hurt or didn’t show a fraction of the potential of McEvoy.
Seven weeks into his NFL career, McEvoy hasn’t been too much unlike the player he was at Wisconsin: Not heard from a ton but notable every time you do hear his name called. On Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals, McEvoy literally saved Seattle with a single hand.
McEvoy’s blocked punt in the fourth quarter was the only thing all night that could get the Seahawks into field goal range. On third-and-20 three plays later, McEvoy’s 10-yard catch set his team up to get back into that range to tie the game.
The Seahawks didn’t win the game. They also didn’t lose it. McEvoy had a lot to do with that.
He cost the team basically nothing. He is a key player on special teams and he’s already made a couple of extremely vital plays on offense that are enough to prove his worth on the roster for the whole season. He’s shown the potential that in a couple of years, McEvoy might be one of the biggest regrets of the 2016 draft for every team that let him pass on by in favor of so many who have already been released from their rookie contracts.
I love stories like Tanner McEvoy. As a Seahawks fan, I love that he gets to be Seattle’s story.