Even with a brittle right knee that has modified his early offseason practice regimen, the early reviews of recently acquired Seahawks TE Kellen Winslow have been overwhelmingly favorable.
“He could provide the offense with a huge lift,” one daily team observer said of the former first-round pick of the Browns (sixth overall in 2004) who has caught at least 66 passes in five of his last six seasons in Cleveland and Tampa Bay. “When the team signed (former Raiders TE Zach) Miller last year, the big talk was that (John) Carlson was on the way out, but that was never the case. They really looked forward to using both Miller and Carlson, but then Carlson went down (with a torn labrum). Winslow is both a better athlete and receiver than Carlson, and they’re planning on playing him all over the field.”
Despite the continued aftereffects of a serious knee injury suffered in 2005 while playing for the Browns, Winslow has been passing the eyeball test in his new surroundings, showing a consistent ability to get open. He also is showing genuine confidence, having no qualms suggesting that the combination of himself and Miller, who caught at least 60 passes in each of his last two seasons in Oakland before being forced into more of a blocking role in his first season in Seattle, has the potential to be as effective as the highly regarded Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez TE duo in New England.
“I think (Winslow) feels like he’s been given a breath of fresh air (in Seattle),” the observer said. “He lives in San Diego, and he seems to like it here. Another factor with him is that he just happened to have three monster games against the Seahawks (including a 7-98 receiving day with two TDs in his most recent game vs. Seattle in Week 16 of the 2010 season). When you consider all he cost was a seventh-round pick (that could be upgraded to a sixth-rounder), all you can say is, ‘wow!’ "