2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Willson becoming valued contributor for Seahawks

By CURTIS CRABTREE - Associated Press
    2013-12-19 18:58

RENTON, Wash. (AP) - When Anthony McCoy was lost for the season in May after tearing an Achilles, the Seattle Seahawks were left with several questions at the tight end position.

While veteran Zach Miller was set as the starter, Seattle needed to find a complement to fill out their offensive attack. Fifth-round pick Luke Willson stepped up.

Willson has played in every game for Seattle this season and scored his first touchdown two weeks ago against the San Francisco 49ers. He has become a more trusted option for quarterback Russell Wilson as the season has progressed and has become a more competent blocker.

''Luke can play the whole position,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''I mean he's been a fantastic draft pick for us, an incredible draft pick for us. I mean he could play so early and contribute in such a variety of ways, and he's really just getting started.''

McCoy caught 18 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had improved as a run blocker and Seattle felt comfortable lining up in the backfield, split out wide or as an inline blocker. With McCoy injured, Willson had some big shoes to fill and not much time to get up to speed.

''I was still so new and so involved with trying to learn the offense that I really didn't have too many thoughts where I would be down the road. It was pretty overwhelming the amount of information you needed to take in,'' Willson said.

He tried to keep his head down and focused on what was in front of him instead of looking at the big picture of the role he needed to fill.

''It was like `I'm going to try and worry about the next play. Make sure I know what I'm doing,''' Willson said.

With Miller sidelined for much of the preseason due to injury, Willson and second-year player Sean McGrath had ample opportunity to impress the coaching staff. The mark left by Willson's play led Seattle to keep just two tight ends during final cutdowns in August.

''You didn't really know what you had,'' offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. ''We drafted him. We liked what we saw but you had to see how he was going to fit in protection wise, how he was going to fit in run blocking wise, how he was going to fit in catching the ball.

''He's been a huge part of what we do. That second tight end is really a big position for us, and he's really done a nice job.''

Willson said he felt things began to slow down after the first month of the season and have continued to improve throughout the year. With 18 NFL games under his belt, including preseason, Willson feels he's better at recognizing what opposing defenses are doing and what to expect to come his way.

Willson is just another contributor found in the latter stages of the draft paying big dividends for the Seahawks. Willson caught just nine passes during his senior season at Rice University. He was overshadowed by more highly touted teammate Vance McDonald, who was selected in the second round by the 49ers. But the Seahawks felt Willson's speed was a valuable asset and would be available later in the draft.

''We saw the talent,'' Carroll said. ''We saw the range of ability but it was really John Schneider's knack of understanding where he would get drafted that made him so valuable to us. At that spot that's as good a pick that you could make.''

Willson posted multiple catches in consecutive games for the first time this season the last two weeks For the year, Willson has caught 18 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown.

''I'm thrilled to be here and it's kind of exciting to be able to contribute,'' Willson said.

Notes: Seattle signed WR Bryan Walters from their practice squad to fill the roster spot vacated by the suspension of CB Brandon Browner. The team signed DT Michael Brooks to fill Walters' spot on the practice squad. ... RB Robert Turbin (groin), G J.R. Sweezy (concussion) and CB Jeremy Lane (ankle) were new additions to Seattle's injury report. Sweezy and Lane did not practice. Turbin was limited.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Aldon SmithApr 17 09:32p

The San Francisco 49ers do not plan on releasing LB Aldon Smith this offseason. Smith is expected to be suspended at the beginning of the season, but the length [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 17 08:52p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson (knee) said he expects to receive medical clearance to resume football activities in the near future. He underwent knee surgery in January but [ More ]

Sebastian VollmerApr 17 08:42p

New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins said OT Sebastian Vollmer (leg) has looked good this offseason while he recovers from the broken leg he suffered during the 2013 season.

Chris SneeApr 17 07:32p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (hip, elbow) is expected to participate when offseason workouts begin next week even though he is not 100 percent.

Rolando McClainApr 17 06:02p

The Baltimore Ravens reinstated LB Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list Thursday, April 17.

Russell AllenApr 17 05:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen, WR Jabin Sambrano and DEs Will Pericak and D'Aundre Reed Thursday, April 17.

Chad JohnsonApr 17 02:22p

Free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League Thursday, April 17.

Brian CushingApr 17 01:32p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee) was medically cleared Thursday, April 17.

LaMichael JamesApr 17 10:04a

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers have been shopping RB LaMichael James. He finds himself behind RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on [ More ]

Mike BrownApr 16 11:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Brown signed his exclusive-rights free agent deal Wednesday, April 16.

Eli ManningApr 16 11:33p

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said in a radio interview this week that it is 'ludicrous' to say QB Eli Manning is declining. 'There's been no [ More ]

Sidney RiceApr 16 08:03p

The Seattle Seahawks are re-signing WR Sidney Rice to an undisclosed one-year deal Wednesday, April 16, according to sources.

Dwayne BoweApr 16 07:03p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective [ More ]

Arian FosterApr 16 04:53p

The Houston Texans may consider selecting a running back during the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft that could become RB Arian Foster's backup in the future.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 04:43p

The New York Jets signed RB Chris Johnson to a two-year deal worth $8 million, with another $1 million in incentives available.

Terrelle PryorApr 16 04:33p

The Oakland Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program Monday, April 21.

Clay MatthewsApr 16 04:13p

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (thumb) said he likely will be limited during offseason workouts because of his surgically repaired thumb.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 03:53p

The New York Jets will use RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as a tandem this upcoming season and have them split carries. RB Bilal Powell will be the team's No. 3 running back.

Dan SkutaApr 16 03:33p

San Francisco 49ers LB Dan Skuta (foot) is not expected to need surgery on the foot injury that bothered him during the 2013 season. Skuta met with a foot [ More ]

Gus BradleyApr 16 02:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley watched Georgia QB Aaron Murray participate in his pro day Wednesday, April 16.

Reggie BushApr 16 02:13p

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Bush [ More ]

Cheta OzougwuApr 16 01:53p

The Chicago Bears have waived DE Cheta Ozougwu.

Mike JamesApr 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James (ankle) said he is happy with the progress he has made in his recovery from an ankle injury and that he has been [ More ]

Carson PalmerApr 16 12:43p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he would understand if the team selects a quarterback during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he knows the team has to think about [ More ]

Josh FreemanApr 16 12:23p

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Vikings). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:13p

Updating previous reports, retired LB Rolando McClain failed his conditioning tests during his workout with the Baltimore Ravens. The test consisted of six timed 150-yard runs.

Golden TateApr 16 10:53a

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate said he thinks he can be a 'more explosive Lance Moore,' referring to the former New Orleans Saints receiver. Moore caught 65 passes for [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group