RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks thought that they would be set at tight end after selecting Luke Willson in the fifth round of April’s draft.
With veterans Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy returning to fill the top two spots on the depth chart, Willson would come in as a third option to solidly the back end of the Seahawks’ roster.
But those plans have since been thrown out the window. McCoy was lost for the season to a torn Achilles during OTAs in May and Zach Miller has yet to practice in training camp after injuring his foot during mini-camp in June. It’s forced Willson and second-year tight end Sean McGrath to step into more prominent roles during camp.
With Miller sidelined for another couple of weeks before he is expected to return to practice, McGrath is the only tight end currently practicing who has any regular-season experience.
He appeared in the last two games of the season for Seattle and the Seahawks’ two postseason games against Washington and Atlanta. Now he is the most experienced player taking practice snaps for the team.
The Seahawks frequently used two tight end sets a season ago and will need McGrath and Willson to play even after Miller returns to action. Willson caught two passes for 16 yards in the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers last Thursday. McGrath has yet to record a catch outside of the 2012 preseason.
“Luke got started a little slow and then he got going and got his feet under him with his blocking — caught the ball when he had his chances,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “McGrath did a really nice job.”
The one benefit of Miller’s absence has been the additional work the young guys have been able to get on the practice field.
Carroll said the Seahawks are not in a rush to get Miller back on the field. They know what he can bring to the table and want to make sure he is healthy before clearing him to return to practice.