Corbin Smith

Who Replaces Anthony McCoy?

Created on Jul. 30, 2014 5:29 PM EST

En route to a winning the team's first Super Bowl title last year, the Seattle Seahawks managed without the services of tight end Anthony McCoy. Unfortunately, it appears that the Seahawks will have to do it all over again.

McCoy ruptured his left Achilles tendon during practice on Tuesday, bringing his season to an abrupt end. Like last year, it's a major blow for Seattle at arguably its weakest position. The front office re-signed him this offseason and opted not to sign free agent Jermichael Finley due to concerns about his spinal fusion surgery. Instead of looking for cheap reinforcements, the team hoped having McCoy back along with Zach Miller and Luke Willson would be enough.

Now, Seattle must figure out what direction it wants to go with McCoy set to be placed on Injured Reserve for a second straight season. As last season confirmed, the team doesn't have to have McCoy to be successful, but he showed great promise when he started 14 games in 2012 and he's always had the physical tools to be a valuable asset in the passing game. Drops have plagued him at times, but it still is a bummer that he won't be returning to the field this season.

Last year's third-string tight end, Kellen Davis, is no longer with the team, leaving only Miller and Willson at an important position. The Seahawks could roll with those two players and survive, but what happens if Miller or Willson gets hurt? In today's game, you can't survive with one tight end, especially considering how Seattle utilizes them as blockers in the run game. It would be nothing short of a disaster.

Seattle could always kick the tires on Finley once more, but he is set to receive $10 million through an insurance policy if he doesn't play again. It might take a lucrative offer to get him to suit up, and considering the severity of the injury he suffered last season, who knows if he could come back and contribute. He once was a dynamic receiving target for the Green Bay Packers, but he's several years removed from his best season. If he wasn't worth signing a month ago, it's hard to envision Seattle suddenly being interested again.

I anticipate that the Seahawks will look at internal candidates before scanning the free agent market for a replacement. Aside from a healthy Finley, there's not much value available on the open market and the team would be better served to give inexperienced options like Cooper Helfet and RaShaun Allenextended opportunities to prove themselves. I also think Seattle would be wise to re-sign undrafted rookieChase Dixon, who was waived last week.

If Seattle is looking for a better weapon in the passing attack, Helfet would be worth a look. He's spent the past two seasons on practice squad and lacks prototypical size for the position (6'4, 240), but he has above-average athletic skills and has shown ability as a receiver in preseason games in the past. Based on his prior production at Duke (77 receptions, 775 yards, six touchdowns in two seasons) and performance at his pro day (4.71 40 yard dash), he'd be an intriguing prospect.

Helfet would be a major downgrade in the blocking department, however, which could make Allen the favorite to replace McCoy. At 6'4, 250 pounds, he has a bigger frame to withstand the grind of playing in the trenches as a blocker. And while his college statistics at Southern University indicate that he's not much of weapon as a receiver, it may have simply been the system he played in. He was clocked at 4.68 seconds in the 40 yard dash during his pro day, showing similar athletic ability to Helfet while offering better blocking skills. If he proves himself as a capable receiver, he could be an undrafted steal.

If neither Helfet nor Allen impresses, the cupboard may be pretty bare. Former USC recruit Morrell Presley has always had great physical tools, but he's undersized at 225 pounds and would be better suited as a wide receiver right now. He could be a player worth practice squad consideration to get stronger and develop as a tight end, but he wouldn't be ready to contribute yet. Dixon could re-enter the conversation if Seattle chose to bring him back, though his departure may have been an early indicator that the team didn't see him in future plans.

In the end, losing McCoy doesn't hinder Seattle's chances to repeat as champions. But he's a quality player who brings versatility to the table, and with very few viable alternatives available, one of these unproven young players will need to seize the moment. Chalk this competition up as one worth watching as training camp continues to unfold the next few weeks.
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