Seahawks Excited to Take First Look at Rookie TE Colby Parkinson
With their bye week now in the rear-view mirror, the Seahawks began preparation for a Week 7 battle with the Cardinals looking far healthier on both sides of the football.
Along with the possibility of safety Jamal Adams being ready to return from a groin injury and veteran defensive end Rasheem Green as well as receiver Phillip Dorsett closing in on being activated off injured reserve, Seattle welcomed two players back to practice off the Non-Football Injury list on Monday, including fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson. The rookie tight end missed all of training camp and the first six weeks of the season recovering from offseason foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture.
Eager to evaluate the young tight end, coach Pete Carroll was encouraged by what he saw from Parkinson in his first practice with his new team.
"I took a good look at him watching him on the field today for the first time," Carroll said on Monday. "Early in practice, he caught a flat route for gain of two and turned up and ran in the end zone just because he wanted to do so. Fired up to run, and all the tight ends went down to go meet him in the end zone and just jump all around him and have some fun with them. So we're all looking forward to him being back out there."
When Parkinson originally enrolled at Stanford, he weighed under 230 pounds and the program hoped to redshirt him to add muscle to his frame. But impressing as a true freshman, the Cardinal couldn't keep him off the field and he finished with 10 catches for 97 yards and four touchdowns.
By the time Parkinson departed to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-7 tight end had caught 87 passes for 1,171 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in three seasons at Stanford. He didn't drop a single target during his junior season despite dealing with questionable quarterback play at times. He also had bulked up to 251 pounds and ran a 4.77 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
According to Carroll, if there's been a silver lining to Parkinson's extended recovery window, he has taken advantage of the time to continue hitting the weight room and further improve his conditioning.
"He's benefited enormously from the offseason program that he's been in," Carroll remarked. "He looks stronger, he's more fit, he's just pumped up. He's over 6-foot-7, so he looks huge out there. He had a good first day, he had a really good first day."
Currently, the Seahawks have a crowded tight end group headlined by three-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen and third-year player Will Dissly. Behind them, Jacob Hollister has only played 48 offensive snaps this year and been limited to two catches for eight yards, while veteran Luke Willson has only played seven offensive snaps and has yet to be targeted.
Considering the struggles Hollister and Willson have had earning playing time, Parkinson faces an uphill battle trying to carve out a role with so much depth in front of him. With that said, he offers an intriguing blend of size, athleticism, and soft hands at the position, and if he proves himself ready to play in coming weeks, his potential and upside may lead to a roster spot at the expense of a player such as Willson.
Thankfully, Carroll and the Seahawks don't have to rush into such a decision and can take their time assessing the young tight end to see if he's ready to contribute. Per NFL rules, Parkinson can practice for three weeks during a 21-day window before the team has to either activate him to the 53-man roster, waive him, or keep him on the Non-Football Injury list, which would end his season.
For now, Carroll remained non-committal about when or if Parkinson would be activated. But after being sidelined for several months, he's thrilled the rookie finally has an opportunity to show what he can do on the practice field and is looking forward to seeing where he may fit into Seattle's plans for the second half of the season.
"We'll just see what happens, see where it fits into the mix as we go. He's a really smart kid, he's been studying like crazy, and I don't think it'll take him long to know his assignments and all that. But technique-wise and technically, he's going to have to show that he's come a long ways before we can figure that he can help us or not. But a real positive sign for today, and he was really excited. I came off the field with him and he was just cloud nine to be back out playing football with his buddies, so a pretty good day."