WFT Burning Questions: Who will be the No. 2 tight end? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
* With training camp just around the corner, NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux takes a look at one burning question for each position group on Washington’s roster. Next up: tight end.
Who will be Washington’s No. 2 tight end behind Logan Thomas?
Logan Thomas’ breakout in 2020 was one of the most pleasant surprises for the Washington Football Team in 2021.
Thomas, a quarterback-turned-tight-end, had a career-high of 16 receptions in a season entering last fall. He more than quadrupled that in 2020, hauling in a career-best 72 grabs for 670 yards and six touchdowns. Outside of Terry McLaurin, he was Washington’s best pass-catching option.
While Thomas thrived, Washington received little to no production from the rest of the tight end position. Washington’s three other tight ends — Marcus Baugh, Jeremy Sprinkle and Tammarick Hemmingway — combined for three (!!) catches for 18 yards. That’s simply not going to cut it.
Hemmingway remains on Washington’s roster, but the team completely revamped the position this offseason. Washington invested in Sammis Reyes, who’s a former basketball player but has never played football before. The club also drafted Boise State’s John Bates in the fourth round, who could potentially contribute in multiple ways as a rookie.
Despite the overhaul, who Washington’s No. 2 tight end will be remains unknown. Washington received practically no production from tight ends that weren’t Thomas a season ago, something the franchise is clearly not trying to replicate in 2021.
So, who will be the No. 2 option behind Thomas? Let’s take a look…
The easiest choice as to which tight end will contribute the most outside of Thomas is Bates.
As Bates told the Washington Football Talk podcast earlier this month, he’s also a willing blocker. That alone will get him plenty of snaps, especially in situations where Scott Turner wants to run the football.
“I take tremendous pride in run blocking,” Bates said. “The biggest thing for me is that, especially at this level, you run the ball to win the game. If you can’t run the ball, it doesn’t open anything else. You’re kind of stuck.”
Outside of Bates, the most likely tight end to fill the No. 2 void is veteran Ricky Seals-Jones. Washington signed Seals-Jones in late May, and going into the 2021 season he is one of the more experienced tight ends on the roster.
Seals-Jones is just 26 years old, too, and has never been on a team for more than two seasons. In Washington, he could be looking for the stability he hasn’t had before. Earning the No. 2 tight end role would help.
As for Reyes, while he has already become somewhat of a fan favorite, it’s difficult to imagine him contributing immediately. After all — and it’s worth bringing up once again — he’s NEVER played football before. Making an impact at the sport’s highest level is already incredibly difficult; doing so without ever playing the sport is even harder.
Reyes has impressed new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, though.
“He is certainly putting it together. The first time I saw [TE] O.J. Howard, I said that this guy was put on earth to play tight end in the NFL. Sammis might even be bigger than him,” Fitzpatrick said. “Just in terms of his frame and how muscular he is. We have not had a ton of time to talk or to do a lot of work on the field with him, but he is definitely a guy that you see and take note of. There are not a whole lot of human beings on earth that look like that.”
As for Washington’s other tight end options, it’s difficult to see any of them having big contributions this fall. Of course, one of them might be a surprise success, but that’s nothing more than a guessing game at this point.
Here’s the reality: when the season starts on September 12, expect either Bates or Seals-Jones to be Washington’s No. 2 tight end.