Seahawks Insider

Hawks sign ex-pro hoops player as TE prospect

Post by Eric Williams on March 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm with 51 Comments »
March 5, 2013 8:02 pm
South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross, left, draws the foul from UC Irvine center Darren Fells, right, during the second half of their basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, in Columbia, S.C.  (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)
South Carolina guard Brandis Raley-Ross, left, draws the foul from UC Irvine center Darren Fells, right, during the second half of their basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

First reported on the league’s web site, I can confirm that the Seattle Seahawks plan to sign Darren Fells, the younger brother of New England tight end Daniel Fells, to a contract.

The deal is expected to become official on Wednesday.

According to the report, Fells, 26, worked out for Seattle at the team’s facility today, and Seahawks’ brass were impressed enough by the workout to ink Fells to a three-year deal.

At 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds, Fells spent last season playing professional basketball for Libertad Sunchales in Argentina. According to the report, he also played professional hoops in Mexico, France, Finland and Belgium.

Fells played college basketball at the University of California, Irvine. Fells did not play football in college, but he was an all-state tight end at Fullerton High School in Fullerton, Calif.

The Seahawks have had some success with out-of-box thinking during Pete Carroll’s tenure, including signing receiver Mike Williams and cornerback Brandon Browner.

And Seattle also has had its share of failures, including the trade for running back LenDale White, signing Terrell Owens and drafting freakish athlete Jameson Konz in the seventh round.

Add Fells to that list. And watch Fells play basketball in the video below.

Street free agents
Leave a comment Comments → 51
  1. Low-risk. High-reward. I like it.

  2. Seahawks2620 says:

    I am extremely intrigued by this signing.

    On a side note, a few drafts have us picking WR Justin Hunter out of Tennessee in the second round. That would easily be my favorite pick in the draft. That kid is gonna be a steal.

  3. Singularitarian says:

    Looks fairly athletic and a bit explosive in the video. Give him a try why not. A very PC/JS move. I love it. These 6’6-6’9 athletic but not nba starter caliber guys who create mismatches is always the way i thought teams should go

  4. Singularitarian says:

    Leave no rock unturned

  5. montanamike2 says:

    We called first dibs on him. I can’t believe how creative our FO is, his brother being a TE probably gives a good indicator of his potential. He must have impressed to get a 3yr.

  6. what, you expect another Jimmy Graham here or something. If it turns out that way I’ll eat crow, but this looks like a reach to me.

  7. It’s definitely a reach, but it’s a high-upside reach with hardly any risk. It’s not like he is going to sign a huge contract. You can’t teach height/weight/talent and he seems to have it all. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good football player, but it’s a good/great start to have that.

  8. JazBadAzz says:

    Don’t read to much into the length of the contract, thats the standard that all our guys are being signed for since the new collective bargaining agreement.

  9. Ewalters7354 says:

    Is that Andrew Bynum???

  10. Ewalters7354 says:

    Talking about the pic of course.

  11. Seems like a great signing to me – if they guy comes in and works hard and earns a spot on the roster, GREAT. If he doesn’t then no harm no foul ;)

    Good camp fodder if nothing else!!

  12. It’s not like all of our guys are active every week anyways. I think this is exciting (even if he turns out to be terrible). It’s not like it cost the team a high pick or a lot of money.

  13. Tony Gonzalez. Antonio Gates. Jimmy Graham. All guys with the physical tools to be dominant tight ends who started out as ballers.
    Time will tell what will happen with Fells, but he has the pedigree.
    Can you imagine our offense with an explosive weapon at TE?
    Especially red zone offense? That sh* cray.

  14. Dukeshire says:

    I don’t see this as a reach. No draft picks were spent, and I’ve got to believe his guaranteed money is next to nothing. The fact they signed him to a three year deal tells me he an athletic freak. If he makes the 53 it will be a miracle considering no college football experience. This is simply a project with zero downside, as I see it.

  15. raymaines says:

    And how did signing Terrell Owens or drafting a “freakish athlete” [Jameson Konz] in the seventh round get to be a failure? Signing these guys didn’t work out, but didn’t cost anything. Sometimes not giving it a try would be the bigger failure.

  16. Ewalters7354 says:

    I agree fellas.This signing has no significant impact of the team if he doesn’t work out.Just another guy signed to a future contract. Hopefully he can be the next Jimmy Graham though ;-)

  17. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Watch this guy turn into “the next” Jimmy Graham…JS and PC have a way with talent evaluation.

  18. tealskin says:

    He has a nice outside shot. Not sure how that will translate to football. He must have really shown something at the tryout to warrant a contract. To my eyes he looked a little “heavy” in the video. Maybe he’s too tall for a TE.

  19. jawpeace says:

    Yeah TO did not make the team. But I would not call signing him a failure. He did provide vet leadership to the young WR on the team. And a seventh rounder not making the team is not a failure. Most of the time those guys do not make it as a norm.
    I like the signing it has more potential than risk. It is not likely he will turn into the next Gates or Grahm. But one can always dream.

  20. CDHawkFan says:

    Only took 16 posts before someone claimed how great this guy is going to be. Can’t wait for the ‘dump Zach Millers contract because Fells is a stud, book it!’ posts.

  21. Singularitarian says:

    I would say we should dump Zack Miller and pay a stud like this close to nothing. He is gonna be a freak.

  22. Singularitarian says:

    Ohh i didnt see your post CDHawk. Now i feel stupid. I was never in the we need another tight end boat but why not give a low risk shot. They are definitely trying to knock one out of the park and get a mismatch sized possession/end zone receiving threat. Hope this one works out better than Evan Moore

  23. No risk, high reward acquisition. If he plays well he might end up on the practice squad, in order to allow him some development time. Not likely to be NFL ready this year, but absolutely worth the minimal cost of giving him a chance. Signing a prospect like this does not have a negative until he begins threatening a roster spot, and that is part of growing a team, anyway.

  24. IdahoHawk says:

    I would say you could add Charlie whitehurst to the list of failures.

  25. montanamike2 says:

    Seeing that we didn’t compete with other teams or give up a draft pick, i like this signing even if he doesn’t make it, we’ll have lost nothing but a camp invite. If he shows potential, then we just scored another TE to pair with Miller. Basketball skills for big men translate well into the NFL sometimes, especially if he can go up and snag a ball that’s out of everyone elses reach.

  26. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    camp fodder, if he makes it great if not he is a body.

  27. Good Signing taking a shot at an out of the box guy with no risk. If he doesn’t work out gets cut or could be on the practice squad to develop.
    Problem with most B Ballers they don’t have that killer hitting instinct for blocking.
    A TE this big in wildest dreams could block well and catch well too.
    Good luck Mr Fells

  28. PixelDummy says:

    aaahh…Now we can finally get a proper TD celebration goal post dunk

  29. montanamike2 says:
  30. If he ends up being half as good as Gonzales, Gates or Graham, he’ll be a steal.

  31. montanamike2 says:

    I was thinking of the blocking as well, that’s a big body.

  32. montanamike2 says:

    and if he has good hands for catching even better.

  33. raymaines says:

    If Darren Fells is playing BB at any professional level it’s fair to think he has soft hands, good footwork and hand/eye coordination. Sounds promising to me. Go ‘Hawks.

  34. ryanryan says:

    i wonder if konz just couldn’t catch the ball. he seemed perfect (when he came out) to be an athletic tight end that could split out. i know he was injured a lot but that move (to DE) always made me scratch my head.

  35. It will be interesting to see how he does.

  36. gonefishin69690 says:

    I pledge allegiance to the flag that bears the #12, and to the city for which it stands, one team, under Pete, with trophies and Superbowl rings for all.

  37. LeePHilI says:

    If this guy has any speed, I’d hate to be the strong safety or linebacker assigned to him. Basketball should provide him with the soft hands for receiving.

  38. LeePHilI says:

    At 6’7″, he might be trainable for Dline as well…..

  39. bbnate420 says:

    I think the CBJ experiment has to be considered the biggest failure of the PC/JS era. They actually gave up something significant to get him. While TO and Konz were technically failures due to not contributing anything really, they didn’t invest anything significant in either. They actually lost a mid-round pick for White, so he is probably an actual failure as well, although I think it was worth the risk. If these are the biggest failures that one can point to in 3+ years of running a team, then you know you have a great team running the show.

    I don’t get why anyone would be against this? There’s only potential reward here. The 3 year deal means nothing. I guarantee none of it is guaranteed. It’s really a day to day contract, like a large number of NFL contracts. This is a good move if he can even show enough to make the PS.

  40. HeinieHunter says:

    Throwing to this guy in the end zone could be interesting. Height, wing span, big hands, jumping ability. PC&JS look for unique abilities. Not much to lose here.

  41. PixelDummy says:

    …and he looks fairly physical on the court, he may be good at using his body to shield/box out defenders in the RZ

  42. Yawn……

  43. LeePHilI says:

    Red zone throws to the deep corner of the end zone….

  44. freedom_X says:

    Part of Konz failing was that he couldn’t stay healthy. He actually lasted for a couple years on the roster, whereas White, Owens, etc. were gone in weeks.

    The biggest question is how Fells deals with constant contact – blocking, and running routes/catching with defenders jostling and wrestling with him. I wonder if he has a 40 yard dash clocking?

  45. raymaines says:

    Freedom: Good points. Except for the 40 yard dash part. Who cares exactly how fast a nine foot tall 400 pound TE gets down field? Just catch the ball, OK?

  46. Jordon Kent had some drops, but he also had problems getting separation from DBs – something about his not getting down and having the smooth transition right at the moment of the cut. Apparently WRs ought to be able to run route trees like maybe they’ve done it before thouands of times before. What gets me is how Gates, Graham, et al, were able to run routes as a TE without having played the position before? Why are they so different than WRs?

  47. freedom_X says:

    I’m thinking that Seattle’s looking for a athletic type in the Hernandez/Graham style – at TE with speed to help stretch the defense and gain a mismatch.

    Of course they could be looking at him as a blocking type for all I know – I’m just guessing that he’s a pass-catching type since all the ex-basketball guys seem to fit that mold.

    But @280lbs, maybe the envisioned role is that more of a conventional blocking type TE. I think that type of physicality would be harder to pick up unless Fells has a natural taste for it.

    Easier (simpler) mentally perhaps, but harder to teach or learn the toughness needed (if it’s even something you can teach or learn.)

  48. sluggo42 says:

    Big is cool, but he hasn’t had nfl linebackers and de’s trying to take his head off out on the hardwood. Or taking his legs out either. Not easy to transition to the big boy league of paid assassins…

    But, ont he other hand, one never knows… Long shot at best…

  49. Maybe Pete signed him to be the next Seahawk corner.

  50. bbnate420 says:

    I doubt he was signed to be a blocking TE. Miller and McCoy, for all his inconsistency catching the ball, are both excellent blocking TEs. It would seem that he at least has the tools to be a target in the red zone.

  51. bbnate420 says:

    Obviously, he must’ve shown more than just a 6’8″ 270-280 lb. body in his tryout to be signed. He must’ve at least shown some football acumen.

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