Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Seahawks add speed with Tate

by Gregg Bell
| April 24, 2010 9:00 PM

RENTON, Wash. - Good thing for the Seahawks Golden Tate wasn't riding around Nashville, Tenn., on his bike, like his dad did on his draft day.

Tate was home to answer the phone on Friday. And Seattle answered another need by selecting the speedy and record-setting Notre Dame wide receiver in the second round of the NFL draft.

New Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and new general manager John Schneider bypassed voids at pass rusher, running back and along the offensive and defensive lines at 60th overall to take the All-American playmaker for an offense that needs more than a few.

Tate's father, also Golden, was a standout receiver at Tennessee State and a fifth-round pick in 1984 by the Indianapolis Colts. What advice did he give his son about the draft process?

"My dad says that on his draft day, he rode his bike around the city," the younger Tate said wryly.

He was speaking from a draft gathering that included his family and his coach at Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, Tenn.

"I'm just happy. I'm at a loss for words at this point," said Tate, the Biletnikoff Award winner last season as the nation's top wide receiver.

Seattle didn't have a third-round pick on Friday; it lost that choice to Philadelphia last year for the right to draft wide receiver Deon Butler. Carroll considers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, acquired from San Diego before the draft to be the heir to Matt Hasselbeck, to be Seattle's fourth pick of this draft's opening two days.

Tate is now playing for, instead of against, Carroll. The coach's USC teams beat Notre Dame all three times Tate played the Trojans through last season.

"I didn't know exactly what to expect," he said of where he would be picked. "I didn't know that the coach of a rival team we played every year - and they beat us every year - was going to stand on a table for me and draft me.

"Coach Carroll did a great job evaluating me, I hope. I think he sees that I can come in and make some plays, and turn that six yards into a 20-yard gain, maybe even a touchdown."

Carroll said the 5-foot-10, 199-pound Tate "was a guy that gave us all kinds of problems" at USC. The third All-American in three picks for the Seahawks had eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Trojans last fall.

"He's really a guy that can dominate the field, so we know that. We saw it. We watched it for years," Carroll said.

Carroll loved his 25 touchdowns the last two seasons, plus another one on an 87-yard punt return last season. The coach said that's what Hasselbeck needs.

"This is truly a touchdown maker," Carroll said. "This is a guy who is going to get the ball in his hands, he's going to break tackles, he's going to run around the field and make things happen in a very special way. I love to get guys who have unique qualities and style that we can play to."

Former Seahawks coach and GM Mike Holmgren, now the czar of the Cleveland Browns, called to acquire Seattle's second-round pick Friday. So did other teams. Schneider thought he had a deal that would have netted Seattle more draft picks than the six he has left in rounds four through seven on Saturday.

But when Tate, whom the Seahawks had pegged as a first-round pick, was still available late in round two, trading the pick became no option.

Seattle filled their most pressing needs in the first round Thursday. The Seahawks took Russell Okung of Oklahoma State to replace the soon-to-be-retiring Walter Jones at left tackle with their sixth overall pick. At 14th overall, they selected Texas All-American safety Earl Thomas.

Schneider and Jason Barnes, the Seahawks scout who tracked Tate, likened Tate to tough, feisty Steelers receiver Hines Ward. Tate had a Notre Dame-record 93 catches and 1,496 yards with quarterback Jimmy Clausen last season, his junior year with the Fighting Irish. His 2,707 career yards receiving are also a Notre Dame mark.

Tate ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at Notre Dame's pro day this spring, and Seattle will give him shots at kickoff and punt returner. He excelled in both roles with the Irish. Those are fresh Seahawks needs with wide receiver and special teamer Nate Burleson gone in free agency to Detroit.

Seattle has T.J. Houshmandzadeh as their No. 1 option outside. Beyond that, the Seahawks have so many questions they signed wide receivers Reggie Williams and Mike Williams last week to free-agent contacts after a three-day tryout - despite the fact both have been out of the league for at least a year.

"Wow," Schneider gushed about Tate. "You hear about testers and football players. This guy, he is a player, man."

Recent Headlines