It not very often that a fifth-round pick out of Rice makes a significant impact, but that appears to be the route that Seattle Seahawks rookie Luke Willson is taking.
Initially considered a project due to his rawness and inexperience, the rookie tight end caught scouts’ attention after blazing a 4.51 40-yard dash at the Rice Pro Day. Seattle has always loved uber-athletic talent, and gambled in the fifth round to get the 6’5’’, 251-pound tight end. Since then, Willson has quickly caught on with the Seahawks and is quietly earning a role in their passing attack.
Willson’s NFL career got off to a slow start, though.
The rookie started the season opener while Zach Miller worked his way back from a foot injury, but was generally ineffective in his debut. The next week was more of the same, as he rarely saw the field following Miller’s return. Through his first two NFL outings, Willson had managed an unimpressive -2.8 rating based on Pro Football Focus’ system.
Week 3, however, proved to be a different story with the Jacksonville Jaguars coming to town.
Despite filling in during garbage time, Willson shined for the Seahawks. He caught all five of the passes thrown his way for 76 yards, including a 35-yard catch-and-run that saw him use his 4.51 speed to elude two defenders before a shoestring tackle took him down. Willson also excelled as a blocker, opening running lanes for fellow rookie Christine Michael.
When all was said and done, Willson had earned himself a week-high 4.4 rating and a hearty helping of respect from around the league.
It’s still early and there’s plenty of time for regression, but by all appearances, Willson is trending in an upward direction. With a breakout performance against the Jaguars under his belt, the rookie has put himself in position to become a bigger part of the Seahawks’ passing game.
And the rich get richer.