Seattle Seahawks coach says rookie tight end Nick Vannett has exceeded expectations so far but that he'd like to be seeing more of running back C.J. Prosise.
The first day of the Seahawks’ mini-camp Tuesday also yielded a couple of revelations about two of Seattle’s third-round picks — increasingly higher expectations for tight end Nick Vannett and maybe some increased anxiety about running back C.J. Prosise.
Vannett was billed as more of a blocking tight end when the Seahawks grabbed him with one of their three third-round picks, labeling him as a good complement to Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson, each players the team likes to use regularly in receiving roles.
Vannett, though, has so far shown to be more of an accomplished receiver than the team thought he might be, coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday.
“He’s surprised us,’’ Carroll said. “He has surprised us, We knew that he could catch the ball and all that, but he’s a very natural catcher. He shows the savvy and instincts that you hope a guy has. I know (quarterback) Russell (Wilson) has really clicked into him. He picked up on it and has already shown trust and working the ball his way. He’s exceeded our expectations a little bit in only a positive, great way for us.’’
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In what might be something of a twist from what was expected, the team’s bigger curiosity about Vannett now is how proficient he will prove to be at blocking. It’s not so much that it’s any more of a question but just that with the Seahawks not yet in full pads and unable to have contact, they have yet to see it.
“We are anxious to see how he does blocking and bring him along,” Carroll said. “He’s a really equipped athlete. He looks very well-schooled at combination blocking and things like that. We need to see how he is when he’s got to blow guys off the line. We won’t know that until camp. But he’s made a great impression and we’re really fired up about him.’’
In fact, at the moment Vannett appears to be the number two tight end behind Willson with Graham still rehabbing a knee injury, on track to play a regular role in 2016.
As for Prosise, the Seahawks got a little bit of a look at him on Tuesday as he was able to do some individual drills after having missed most of the OTAs with a hip flexor.
But Carroll made it clear they’d like to have been able to see more of Prosise, who was drafted with the thought of being able to step in immediately to a role as a third-down, two-minute running back.
“Yeah it is frustrating because we had a big plan for him,’’ Carroll said. “But he did get out today and did a lot of stuff. He will practice again tomorrow and hopefully go over it again on Thursday. We have a lot of thoughts on how we are going to do this so he is going to be up against a short timeframe. He is a very natural football player, he is a tremendous athlete, he catches the ball well, he runs good routes, he does a lot of really cool things and we know he is an explosive runner. He is a little bit heavier, he is about 228 right now, but he has terrific speed. We are really excited about it, but we are going to need to have to have a really good camp for him.’’
The bulk of the tailback duties in the off-season have been handled by Christine Michael and Alex Collins with Thomas Rawls also continuing to rehab a broken ankle. Seventh-round pick Zac Brooks has also been limited at times but appeared back to full status on Tuesday.