It would appear that the Seattle Seahawks front office likes what it sees out of the Wisconsin Badger football program.
With an already impressive list of Badger alums, including Russell Wilson, Chris Maragos, O’Brien Schofield, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the Seahawks have added to it by signing tight end Travis Beckum and linebacker Mike Taylor.
Taylor is an undrafted rookie who was a tackling machine in Madison, amassing 377 of them, with 38.5 for loss. He could conceivably play special teams next season, like fellow Badgers Maragos and Schofield.
The Giants drafted Beckum in the third round in 2009, but he never became an integral part of the offense. After missing 2013 following a knee injury, Beckum will look to impress the Seattle coaching staff as he joins a plethora of tight ends. As it stands currently, Zach Miller holds the starting tight end job, followed by Luke Willson and Kellen Davis. Other tight ends waiting in the wings are Anthony McCoy and Cooper Helfet.
Miller’s contract exceeds his level of production, and Seattle might consider dropping him to free up cap. If that’s the case, then Beckum may have a shot to snatch the number two or three tight end, because it’s highly unlikely McCoy and Helfet will make great strides in the offseason. Beckum has solid hands, as is common from Wisconsin tight ends (see Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham, Lance Kendricks, and Jacob Pedersen). Since college, he’s also bulked up and improved his blocking abilities, which is especially crucial for Seattle’s type of offense.
This signing takes on more significance, as it now lessens Seattle’s need to draft a tight end earlier in the draft. Of course, if a guy like Austin-Seferian Jenkins is still available at pick 32, Seattle may pull the trigger. If Miller remains on the team, this Beckum signing erases any need to draft a tight end for the Seattle Seahawks.
So far, the Seahawks picking up former Wisconsin Badgers have paid off immensely. Maragos and Schofield are great assets on special teams (and Schofield has impressed when coming in as a sub on defense), Darrell Bevell is a genius as offensive coordinator, and Russell Wilson may be one of the best third round draft picks ever. Beckum, assuming his knee is back to 100%, and Taylor could definitely find their way onto the final 53-man roster before the 2014 season begins.