Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller (86) runs after a catch in the third quarter of the NFC divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks Don’t Have a Strong History at Tight End


When Keith put up an interesting article yesterday on the success the Seahawks have historically had with centers, it got me thinking. Specifically, it got me thinking about what position the Seahawks have had trouble filling over their 37 year history. The current front office has found above average players at virtually every position, from the famed secondary to the underrated wide receiver core, making it difficult to find a position that has always been a problem. However, when I gave it enough thought and did a little research I was not exactly surprised by what I concluded. The fact of the matter is that the Seahawks franchise has had fairly woeful luck when it comes to tight ends, despite some pretty promising players starting for them at that spot. In this article I’m going to look at the sad list that constitutes the Seahawks all-time top tight ends.  I realize that blocking is also an important part of being a tight end but that’s pretty hard to quantify/compare over time. To qualify as a Seahawks “all-time top tight end” the player had to have accumulated only 1,000 career receiving yards as a Seahawk. Below is the list of players who qualify, it’s a short list, and nobody made it by a ton.

Player

Year

Receptions

Yards

Touchdowns

Itula Mili

1998-2006

164

1743

13

Christian Fauria

1995-2001

166

1683

7

John Carlson

2008-2010

137

1519

13

Jerramy Stevens

2002-2006

130

1458

15

Charle Young

1983-1985

97

1217

5

This is not a very impressive list. Not one player got as many touchdowns in their Seahawks career as Rob Gronkowski did in the 2011 season. The first type of tight end that shows up on this list is the steady 2nd tight end type that was around awhile, like Christian Fauria and Itula Mili.  I always liked the reliable Itula Mili, but he accumulated these numbers only by virtue of sticking around the longest.  Between 2002 and 2003 Mili put up a solid 1000 yards but averaged just over 100 yards per season in the other seven years of his career, while usually serving primarily as a blocker. As for Fauria, he played seven seasons with the Seahawks and only started all 16 once, while topping out at 377 yards in a season in 1998. When you are talking about franchise leaders at a particular position these really aren’t the type of guys one would have in mind.

The second type of guy who stands out here is young guys with a lot potential who didn’t exactly work out. Jerramy Stevens was a first round pick in 2002 who had a pretty unreal combination of size and speed but never really developed into an impact player at the NFL level. He had some problems with drops and often found himself on the bench behind a less talented Itula Mili. Carlson broke onto the scene in 2008 with possibly the best Seahawks TE season ever (627 yards 5 TD) but never replicated that success. After another good season in 2009 Carlson got injured in the 2010 playoffs and missed 2011 before resurfacing last year with the Vikings and doing nothing. It’s a shame that he got injured and departed because he looked in a good position to be the Seahawks all-time greatest TE by a mile.

The last name on this list, Charle Young, falls into a slightly different category. Young was an aging veteran who finished his career with the Seahawks. He did fairly well in his three years with Seattle but his best years were behind him. Young would have been a good candidate for top Seahawks TE if he had come to Seattle earlier in his career.

This exercise doesn’t really come with a finite conclusion or any particular wisdom, it’s more of an oddity than anything else. Perhaps the tight end to buck this trend is currently on the roster. Zach Miller is young and talented enough to put up some pretty impressive numbers if given more of a chance in the passing game. Miller showed that in the 2012 playoffs and may carry it over to 2013. Luke Willson is a guy who could also be the next great Seahawks TE as he has virtually limitless athletic potential. Perhaps we’ll have to wait a few more years. It seems like we’ve been waiting a long time for a standout tight end in this town.

Tags: Seahawks

  • ricefield

    Like your story on tight ends. I haven’t followed the Seahawks that long. Since I started following them they have been a running team with Warner, Waters, Alexander, and now Lynch. The Hawks seemed to throw mostly to the WRs and the TEs were mainly blockers. Maybe it’s because they need TEs that can block more than catch. I hope that they throw more to Miller this year. He looked very good last year and hopefully he will be on the top of your list.

  • 12thMan_Rising

    Probably the best TE in Seahawks history is Mike Tice (if not Zach Miller). Tice (yes, this is the same Mike Tice that was the HC of the Vikings) only had more than 15 receptions once in his career, but that wasn’t what he was on the team for. Tice was a masterful blocker for the “Ground Chuck” offense that Chuck Knox ran.

  • hawkman54

    I remember Tice well, Although there was another tight end on the team together with him one , maybe two years that went to another team and did really well. Believe it was Pete Metzelaars (sp). But yes I wish we had a Dave Casper ( Russ Francis) or someone with that kind of ability today ( in today’s game) !