The Seattle Seahawks used their only pick on the second day of the 2010 NFL Draft, the 60th overall selection, on Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate.
Projected in many mock drafts to be a late-first/early-second round selection, the availability of the 5-10, 199-pound receiver was too tempting for the Seahawks to pass up.
Tate is coming off a junior season where he established Fighting Irish records with 93 receptions for 1,496 yards, while scoring 15 touchdowns in former head coach Charlie Weis' pro-style offense.
A two-year starter, Tate caught 157 passes for a school-record 2,707 yards, and had 26 receiving touchdowns. Tate topped 1,000 yards receiving both years he started, thanks in large part to 15 100-yard receiving games. His 4,130 all-purpose yards rank second in Notre Dame history.
Tate spoke of his decision to leave school early at the Combine in Indianapolis in February.
"I spoke with Coach Weis before the season, before we played a down before camp," said Tate. "He said 'Unless you have around 1,500 yards and around 16 or 17 touchdowns I would not leave early.'
"I had 1,500 yards (1,496) and 15 touchdowns."
At the Combine, Tate said that he models his game after Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith ("Similar size, similar build, very physical, not afraid to go over the middle") and that he hoped the team that drafted him, would use him the way the Minnesota Vikings used 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Percy Harvin.
"I like what Minnesota has done with him...moving him all around--in the backfield, in motion, the Wildcat", Tate said.
It's that play-making element from any point in the field that has attracted the Seahawks to Tate.
Tate averaged 17.7 yards per catch at Notre Dame, with his ability to run after the catch contributing greatly to that production. Tate's background in baseball (was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 and played centerfield for the Irish) and his 35" vertical leap gives him the ability to adjust to poorly-thrown balls and out-leap defenders to snatch them out of the air.
With the free agent departure of Nate Burleson, and the front office's unwillingness to overspend in order to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks were lacking play-maker at wide receiver.
Burleson led Seahawks' receivers with more than two receptions in yard-per-catch last season, with a 12.9-yard average. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, whose $7 million dollar base salary makes him the highest paid receiver in the NFL in 2010, is a possession receiver who averaged 11.5 yards per reception a season ago.
Enter Tate, who will wear Burleson's #81.
What role Tate will play in the offense has yet to be determined. During his press conference at the conclusion of the draft's second day, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that because Tate can hurt opposing defenses from just about anywhere, they'll have to get him on the practice field first before determining how best to use him on Sundays.
Seahawks 2010 NFL Draft
Round 1, Pick 6 - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Round 1, Pick 14 - Earl Thomas, DB, Texas
Round 2, Pick 60 - Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Round 4, Pick 104 -
Round 4, Pick 127 - (fr. NY Jets through Philadelphia)
Round 5, Pick 133 - (fr. Detroit)
Round 5, Pick 139 -
Round 6, Pick 176 -
Round 7, Pick 245 - (compensatory)
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.