Over the course of the offseason, we will explore different players from the 2020 Seahawks roster and evaluate them. We will review their performance from the previous season, what worked, what did not, and then glance at what their future may hold with the Seahawks or perhaps elsewhere.
This week's focus player is tight end Will Dissly, who just finished a quiet third year with the team and still has one year left on his rookie deal.
There were tempered expectations for Dissly in 2020 coming off of a brutal Achilles injury midway through the 2019 season. In each of his first two seasons, he looked like he was going to put up Pro Bowl numbers. In 2018, before tearing his patella tendon, he played four games with 156 yards and two scores, a pace of 624 yards and eight touchdowns for a 16-game season. The next year, in six games before getting hurt again, he totaled 262 yards and four touchdowns, a 16-game pace of nearly 700 yards and seven scores.
In 2020, with three-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen in the fold, his opportunities were limited to put up big numbers again. In his first two seasons in the league, he averaged 4.1 targets per game. In 2020, that plummeted to 1.8 targets per contest. That alone limited his chances at making a big impact. The former Washington Husky racked up 251 receiving yards with two touchdowns while playing in all 16 games this past fall.
For the first time in his three-year NFL career, Dissly stayed healthy enough to play every game Seattle had in 2020. However, he did not see the same amount of opportunities and production he saw in his first two seasons before they were cut short by injuries. The 24-year-old never had a game with more than 38 receiving yards or four catches this season.
Much of Dissly's production was hindered by the presence of the veteran Olsen and the breakout of DK Metcalf at receiver. There can only be so many targets per game and Dissly found himself falling down the food chain as other guys stepped up. He had more receiving yards than Olsen, who had a disappointing final season in the NFL (251 yards to 239) but the disparity came in the targets (37 for Olsen, 29 for Dissly). Dissly ranked seventh on the team in total targets and his numbers were nowhere near the trajectory they were on in his first two seasons.
There could be a lot of turnover at the tight end position in 2021, which favors Dissly, who will enter the final year of his rookie deal. Olsen is now retired and Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson will become unrestricted free agents in March. These leaves second-year player Colby Parkinson, who played just 51 total snaps and caught two passes in 2020, as the only other tight end on the active roster aside from Dissly. Tyler Mabry recently signed a reserve/futures contract and remains an intriguing fringe roster player.
Either way, Dissly is the most experienced tight end of the group to this point. One would think that if Seattle does not address the tight end spot in free agency or in a trade, he will enter 2021 as the featured player of the unit. However, with the lack of experienced depth behind Dissly and his injury history, it seems almost a guarantee the Seahawks will strive to address the position.
Pete Carroll is optimistic about Dissly's outlook heading in 2021. The best news? He will have a full, healthy offseason where he is preparing to learn Shane Waldron's new offense rather than rehabbing a serious injury.