Dickson was generally considered the best punter in college football last season. The Seahawks traded up to draft him, setting off a run of punters taken in the fifth round.
The Seahawks made a trade with Denver Saturday to move up in the fifth round of the draft and then selected punter Michael Dickson of Texas at number 149 overall, a move that has ominous overtones for the future of veteran Jon Ryan, the team’s longest-tenured player.
Dickson was generally considered the best punter in college football last season, averaging 47.4 yards per attempt, and left Texas with a year of eligibility remaining.
The 36-year-old Ryan — the last player on the roster who predates the arrival of coach Pete Carroll — has two years remaining on a contract that includes cap hits of $3.2 million and $3.6 million the next two years, with dead money of $1.2 million and $600,000, which had led to speculation that he could be in danger of being a cap casualty.
Round 1 | Pick 27 | No. 27 overall (via GB)RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Round 3 | Pick 12 | No. 79 overall (via PIT)DL Rasheem Green, USC
Round 4 | Pick 20 | No. 120 overallTE Will Dissly, Washington
Round 5 | Pick 4 | No. 141 overallOLB Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida
Round 5 | Pick 9 | No. 146 overallDB Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State
Round 5 | Pick 12 | No. 149 ovr (via DEN)P Michael Dickson, Texas
Round 5 | Pick 31 | No. 168 overallOT Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
Round 6 | Pick 12 | No. 186 overall (via GB)LB/DL Jacob Martin, Temple
Round 7 | Pick 2 | No. 220 overall (via PIT)QB Alex McGough, Florida International
Seattle could bring in Dickson to compete with Ryan or simply release Ryan and take the cap savings.
Dickson, a native of Sydney, Australia, memorably said at the NFL Combine that the Seahawks had asked him to engage in a staring contest during a meeting with the team. It apparently went well.
“I guess I was good at the staring contest,” Dickson said in a conference call with Seattle reporters Saturday.
Dickson said the team asked him how long he could keep his eyes open without blinking.
“It was obviously a light-hearted part of the interview,” he said. “I guess it’s just to see your personalty, how you are going to handle a funny situation like that. It was nothing super serious or anything it was just fun, really.”
Dickson said he didn’t last long the first two attempts but “by the third time I was kind of looking around the room a little bit, keeping my eyes watery by the end of it.”
Dickson played Australian Rules Football in his native country growing up but said he felt he was hitting a wall with how far he could go and at age 18 began punting with an eye on playing football.
The Seahawks traded pick number 226 of the seventh round to Denver to move up seven spots.
It is the seventh time Seattle has drafted a punter and first since taking Ryan Plackemeier in 2006 in the seventh round.
It is the highest selection they have used on a punter since 1987 when the Seahawks selected Ruben Rodriguez at 131 overall.
Dickson declared for the draft shortly after being named as the MVP of the Texas Bowl when 10 of his 11 punts were pinned inside the 20.