Seahawks tight end Luke Willson has gone from nine catches his senior season at Rice to being a factor for the Seahawks while they compile the NFL’s best record.
Following Anthony McCoy’s summertime Achilles injury, Willson ended up with a chance to play as a rookie fifth-rounder. He also ended up with a chance to look at Zach Miller and realize that’s what a professional looks like.
“From Day One, he’s a sharp kid, so he kind of said, ‘Hey, Zach knows what he’s doing and is a really tough dude,’ ” Seattle tight ends coach Pat McPherson said.
McPherson noted some things for Willson to work on: pad level when blocking, getting off of press coverage, short-area quickness, and really having a plan at the line of scrimmage.
Based on Willson’s start — he has 18 catches in 25 targets (72 percent, which is second on the team among non-running backs to Doug Baldwin’s 74 percent in 41 more targets) for 265 yards — he’s on his way to being another late-round steal for the Seahawks.
“I mean he’s been a fantastic draft pick for us, an incredible draft pick for us,” Pete Carroll said. “I mean he could play so early and contribute in such a variety of ways, and he’s really just getting started. He’s a tremendous prospect for us for the years to come.”
Here’s my story from today’s paper on Willson and Miller.
> 710 ESPN writes about Richard Sherman touting Earl Thomas as the defensive player of the year.
> Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll sat down with ESPN’s John Clayton:
> The Everett Herald says the Seahawks plug-in cornerbacks and don’t miss a beat.
> Seahawks.com focuses on Clinton McDonald.
> NFL films previews this Sunday’s game.
> Larry Fitzgerald is just waiting on a doctor’s OK and says he will play if he gets it.
> ESPN’s Countdown Daily crew makes their picks for the game.
> Earl Thomas launched his website last night. It received so many visits after he and Sherman tweeted the link, it crashed.
> Baltimore’s Ray Rice has been dealing with a hip injury (flexor strain) and says it’s not “something that you just bounce back from and say, ‘Oh you know I had a hip.’ It is definitely very hard to play through week in and week out.” Rice is averaging a career-low 3.1 yards per carry.