Seahawks 2021 Draft Profile: Nick Eubanks

With Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, and Tyler Mabry in tow, tight end doesn't appear to be much of an immediate need for the Seahawks. But with Everett and Dissly set to become free agents next offseason and no idea how Parkinson or Mabry will play, adding a late-round tight end in the 2021 NFL Draft to throw into the long-term mix may be appealing.
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Let's talk about the Seahawks' tight end position. For now, it appears solidified following the offseason addition of Gerald Everett. They also have the productive - yet oft-injured - Will Dissly, as well as second-year man Colby Parkinson and 2020 practice squad constant Tyler Mabry.  

Last season was a rough one for this unit, with the veteran Greg Olsen disappointing after signing a one-year, $7 million contract and Dissly struggling in his return from a second-straight leg injury. Jacob Hollister, who's gone on to sign with the Bills this offseason, was their lone consistent producer out of the position, often serving as quarterback Russell Wilson's most dependable tertiary receiving option.

Even with Hollister and Olsen gone, the Seahawks are expected to emphasize their tight ends more in their offensive scheme. Under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, they'll likely roll with two tight end looks on a regular basis and aim to take advantage of the middle of the field more. In a Rams-like scheme such as this one, which heavily relies upon the success of play-action, capable 'move' tight ends are integral to the operation.

Looking towards the latter half of the draft, Michigan's Nick Eubanks fits the mold and could be a nice long-term investment for the Seahawks. Both Everett and Dissly are set to be free agents a year from now and there's no guarantee Parkinson or Mabry turn out to be anything to hang their hat on. It's quite possible they could undergo yet another tight end overhaul of sorts in a year's time, so adding a fifth option to the group this year - even if it leads to a redshirt season for someone like Eubanks - may be the way to go.

Strengths

If you glance at Eubanks's stat sheet and nothing else, you won't be impressed. Thankfully, that's not how NFL scouts operate, because there are a lot of tools in the Michigan product's game to be impressed by. 

At his best, Eubanks is a reliable pass-catcher with good hands and sound route running capabilities, and has the size and strength to succeed in the blocking game. He gets decent burst off the line of scrimmage and displays nice footwork when stacked up against slot corners and linebackers, fluidly hitting his cuts and breaking out in a crisp manner in the middle of the field. 

He exhibits an adequate catch radius and soft hands to haul in tougher-to-handle throws, greatly assisted by his 6-foot-4 stature and 322/8-inch arms. Despite his size, he did a good job disguising himself on play-action and shrinking through the defense to sneak out on the back-end for a few of his scores in college. 

Weaknesses

Effort - or lack thereof - has become a big knock on Eubanks following a less-than-stellar 2020 campaign. Aside from his weak numbers that saw him catch just 10 passes for 117 yards in five games, multiple draft reports have negatively marked the tight end for looking sluggish at times in 2020. But to be fair, Eubanks was dealing with an undisclosed injury and Michigan - especially its offense - was a mess for most of the year, which may have impacted his energy. Still, it's not a great look for a senior with some draft buzz. 

These effort concerns have leaked into his blocking ability. While he's proved, at times, he's more than capable of taking on blocks successfully, he's occasionally appeared unwilling to do it. Given the uphill climb he's set to face in the NFL to earn playing time, he cannot afford to take plays off. 

He also has an issue playing up to his size. With his build, it shouldn't be as easy as it's been for defenders to take him down. He doesn't eat much yardage after the catch and a big part of that has been his inability to shed initial tackles. If he doesn't play more physical, it will limit him in the passing game and doom him as a blocker.

Fit in Seattle

Thankfully for Eubanks and the eventual team who takes him on, the issues dropping him down draft boards are rather fixable. But for the Seahawks specifically, with a league-low three picks in the draft as of now, they'll have to be certain they're getting a motivated and willing player.

If he is, Eubanks fits their anticipated scheme changes very well and gives them another long-term option to get eyes on along with Parkinson and Mabry. He can be a proper flex tight end in this system, giving the Seahawks a potential fallback plan if Everett and/or Dissly depart next offseason.