BYU tight end Terenn Houk had a pre-draft workout with the Seahawks Wednesday. A league source told me the former football and basketball standout at Enumclaw High School “crushed” it.
The “crushed it” part, that’s unsubstantiated, of course. And Houk’s was one of many workouts prospects are doing for the Seahawks and 31 other teams before next week’s NFL draft. His was one of multiple workouts Seattle had just on Wednesday, in fact. Per league rules each team gets 30 official visits to its headquarters facility, plus team scouts have been fanning out across the country for Pro Days on players’ college campuses since February’s combine.
But Houk’s quest to make the NFL -- perhaps even onto his hometown team -- is unique.
He is 6 feet 4. His weight is posted as 229 pounds but he’s trying to get around 240 for the NFL. He was listed as an inside receiver in Brigham Young’s spread offense but is considered a “flex” tight end who can play outside -- as Seattle’s top tight ends Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet all do. Houk played wide receiver at Enumclaw High, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll loves athletic, hybrid guys who can run as his tight ends.
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Many consider Houk a late-round prospect in the April 28-30 draft, though he is getting more attention lately. The Cleveland Browns are among as many as 17 teams interested in the curiosity from the town of 10,600 in the close shadow of Mount Rainier.
Houk is not Mormon. He found his way to BYU and in fact major-college football through his heritage. As the Enumclaw Patch described, Houk had zero scholarship offers from college football programs immediately following his senior season at Enumclaw High. But because of his heritage he got an invite to the Polynesian All American Bowl all-star game in California in January 2011. There Houk met a BYU-bound high-school quarterback from Utah named Alex Kuresa. Kuresa came back from that all-star game raving to his new BYU coaches about Houk. Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall called then hosted Houk on a tour of BYU’s campus in Provo, Utah. Houk found the school’s environment and especially its code of conduct for its students in line with his Christian beliefs. So he signed.
Houk redshirted his first season at BYU in 2011 then had just two receptions in his first three seasons while bulling through reported academic challenges (he apparently wasn’t taking Wasatch Mountain-watching there; his listed major at Brigham Young was civil engineering). His junior season he had 21 receptions, then 37 last season. Houk’s breakout was six catches for 129 yards last October 2 in BYU’s 30-13 win over Connecticut. He had six catches for 68 yards in his final college game, against Utah in December’s Las Vegas Bowl.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider told Seattle’s KJR radio last week his team’s draft board has about 200 names on it this year, up from the usual 130 or so, because this is such a deep draft pool. Again, Houk is just one of those hundreds Seattle is looking at.
But his story, his potential fit and the excitement he is generating around his local hometown are worth remembering.
AS EXPECTED, MINIMUM SALARY FOR BROWNER
Multiple reports Thursday morning confirmed what we discussed and anticipated here earlier this week about veteran cornerback Brandon Browner returning to the Seahawks: His one-year deal is for the veteran-minimum salary for a player with six accrued seasons per the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
That $760,000 is, of course, not guaranteed. Seattle can easily cut that money from its 2016 salary cap if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster to begin the regular season.
Browner already got $2.75 million guaranteed to him for 2016 from New Orleans. That was part of the three-year, $15 million deal he signed last year with the Saints. He then had one, poor and injured season and New Orleans released him.
His minor Seattle deal underscores, again, how low of a risk the Seahawks are taking to bring back a popular teammate familiar with their defensive system.