Rookie tight end Nick Vannett is practicing again after suffering a high ankle sprain in the preseason. His return to action could have a much bigger impact than many people expect.
When his name was called on draft day, here’s what I heard from a lot of Seahawk fans….
Who is Nick Vannett?! He’s a tight end?! We don’t need another TIGHT END!!!
We are getting closer to seeing just how much of an impact he can have on this team, and it may be well beyond most of your expectations.
All throughout OTA’s and training came we heard plenty from coaches and observers about what a good, well-rounded tight end prospect Vannett appeared to be. But let’s remember what General Manager John Schneider said about his after he was drafted. Best blocking tight end in the draft….
If you saw Vannett play for Ohio State, you’ll understand just how valuable he can be to this team. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer used him in a variety of ways. As an in-line blocking tight end he was outstanding in the traditional sense, but they also used him as an H-back, and sometimes simply lined him up as a fullback in a two-back set.
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The Seahawks haven’t committed to a full time fullback this year, and have had well-documented struggles in pass protection up front. Some speculate that Vannett was going to be a huge part of the offensive game plan, and would have helped in both those roles. In much the same way as Zach Miller used to be a “sixth offensive lineman,” Vannett could certainly help out LT Bradley Sowell against some of the league’s upper echelon outside speed rushers.
Likewise, he could serve as a fullback-type on short yardage plays, clearing the way for Christine Michael and company just like he did for Zeke Elliott at OSU.
Whether Vannett plays this week vs. the Jets or not remains to be seen. He himself was optimistic as the week began…
But he was listed as only a limited participant Thursday in practice.
Whether it’s this week or after next week’s bye, look for Vannett to make an immediate impact for the Seahawks when he hits the field.