April 24, 2010 in Sports

Seahawks get a playmaker in Tate

Hasselbeck has top receiver as a target
Gregg Bell Associated Press
 
File Associated Press photo

Seahawks draft pick Golden Tate of Notre Dame tries to elude Washington State Cougars defenders last fall.
(Full-size photo)

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

Tate was home to answer the phone, and Seattle answered another need by selecting the speedy, 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 Indianapolis. 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; it gave it 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 they played.

“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.” 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. He 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.”

The Seahawks had inquiries about its second-round spot, but with Tate available, trading the pick became no option.

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