By Rob Staton
When free agency began, the Seahawks quickly set out to acquire a tight end. Ben Watson was a possibility before he signed for Cleveland. The Seahawks eventually added another former New England Patriot - Chris Baker. With the Seahawks expected to use a lot of two-tight end sets in Jeremy Bates' offense, we speculated that targeting another tight end in the draft was something of a possibility.
One name we touted was Anthony McCoy from USC. A very talented tight end with starting potential in the NFL, he'd flashed big time ability during the 2009 season. At one stage he was being discussed as a potential first or second round pick. However, this was a prospect that came with some baggage. Here's what I wrote at the beginning of March:
"One prospect well known to Pete Carroll is USC's Anthony McCoy. He had a breakout year in 2009, putting in some eye catching performances as an all round blocking/receiving threat. He looks the part at 6'5" and 250lbs and recorded 457 receiving yards at an average of 20 yards per-catch. At times in 2009, McCoy was playing like a late first round pick.
"An ankle injury forced him to miss three games and he was suspended for the Emerald Bowl against Boston College due to academic issues. It wasn't the first time this has happened and it remains a pressing concern as McCoy prepares to enter the pro's. However, the talent is there and he would offer a superb complimentary option to Carlson." - 3/12/10
It was revealed just before the draft that McCoy had failed a drugs test for Marijuana at the combine. This added to the previous concerns marked against his name and led to a big drop on draft day. It's not so much the drug taking itself that concerns teams, rather the decision to take drugs knowing you'll be tested at the combine - potentially the biggest interview of your life. You have to question a guys decision making skills, dedication and common sense when stuff like that happens.
On March 11th, Aaron Wilson from the NFP wrote about potential interest from Seattle in the USC tight end:
"Among the NFL teams who have displayed strong interest in McCoy on the scouting trail: the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Projected as a second-round draft pick, McCoy is regarded as an all-around tight end in terms of blocking skills and pass-catching ability and route running. He's known for having a strong work ethic." - Aaron Wilson, NFP
If reports on his work ethic are correct, he may not be a total lost cause. McCoy himself has admitted he made mistakes and needs to move on. "Really, I just made a mistake, and I regret doing it. Right now, I've moved past that. I'm just focused on helping the Seattle Seahawks organization, help them win football games."
When you put on the tape, you see an all round playmaking tight end. He's as good at blocking as he is getting downfield. You'll see in the highlights video I've posted below that he's capable of making the spectacular catch. Against Ohio State during the 2009 season, he even took an end-around and rushed for a handful. That's shows the kind of athleticism we're talking about here at the tight end position.
Michael Lombardi, speaking on the NFL Network, said this about McCoy: "If he wants to be a great player, he will be." Essentially, that is going to be the key. He has the coach in place that's given him the opportunity on two different levels. He's going into a situation with very little pressure or attention. He has a point to prove. If this guy wants it badly enough, he can be a starting NFL tight end and a good one too. He could be a first or second round pick that Seattle stole in round six. However, the very fact he was available that late emphasises how much needs to happen for that to ring true.
Nonetheless, this was the kind of calculated gamble the previous regime in Seattle were not prepared to make. McCoy, due to off the field concerns, would've been struck from the draft board and not considered. The Seahawks are not being that selective going forward. The relative cost for McCoy not working out is peanuts. The reward is much greater. This tight end was worth rolling the dice on and he's one to watch during training camp.