Luke Willson's stats are the first thing you notice when digging into his past. More specifically, his stats from his senior season at Rice.

Willson, a tight end, caught only nine passes for 126 yards in his final collegiate season while playing in only six games because of ankle and lower back injuries. But his coaches at Rice — as well as members of the Seahawks coaching staff and front office — insist the numbers don't do Willson justice.

"Luke was the kind of guy," said Ryan Cantrell, an offensive graduate assistant at Rice, "that when we didn't know what play to call, we'd go: 'OK, we have Luke in the game. Let's call a run zone-option to him because we know he's going to make the block. Or we'll call a quick three-step drop and know that he's going to get us those 4 yards for a first down.' He's the guy that you can rely on for whatever it is you need him to do."

Willson fell to the Seahawks in the fifth round, but general manager John Schneider said Willson tested the second best of all the tight ends in the draft. Willson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds at Rice's pro day, which would have been the second-fastest time among tight ends at the NFL combine.

"And he ran a 4.51 on our spongy, soft turf," Cantrell said. "You put him on a good, fast turf, and he's going to run even better."

The Seahawks view Willson, who is 6 feet 5 and 252 pounds, as a multifaceted tight end whose speed can provide a downfield threat in the middle of the field. Willson displayed an ability to get behind the defense in the first two days of the Seahawks rookie minicamp, particularly on the first day.