After the 2015 season we were all hearing the whispers that Jimmy Graham may not be a great fit for Seattle’s offense and that he probably wouldn’t be staying there for more than a season or two. How wrong those whispers were. Graham has had a resurgent season and is proving all the doubters wrong now that he is healthy once again. It will be difficult for Graham to match the stat lines that he had with the Saints in 2011 and 2013, but Graham isn’t quite done yet.
Graham came into the NFL with only a single year of college football experience after playing 4 years of basketball for Miami. Fortunately his combination of size and athleticism at 6’7 265 lbs was good enough to get him drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Saints. After spending the 2010 season getting up to the speed and learning the way things work at the NFL level he broke out in his first season as a starter with 99 catches on 149 targets for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns. He finished his career in New Orleans with 386 receptions on 595 targets for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns.
True, Graham will likely never replicate the kind of numbers that he put up in New Orleans and he will likely never see 115 targets in a single season again. The Seahawks offense simply isn’t built to sustain that kind of production. After all, the Saints are second in the league in passing attempts per game with 41.69 (542 on the season) compared to the Seahawks who average 35.23 passing attempts per game (458 on the season). The Seahawks passing attack also relies heavily on Russell Wilson’s ability to move inside and outside of the pocket and finding openings downfield when the defense breaks down. Which is in part why we saw a dip in Seahawks WR production for several weeks this year while Wilson dealt with ankle issues. Graham provides the Seattle offense with a big body and athleticism combination that they direly need and that Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett lack. Graham will remain the second most targeted player in the team next to Doug Baldwin and will remain a top option at the TE position for several more years to come.
Graham owners need to realize that he is still one of the few elite options at the TE position, but his upside will be limited due to no longer being in an offense led by gunslinger Drew Brees. He will remain the second most targeted receiver on the team and he still has plenty left in the tank. The days of him going in the first several rounds of startup drafts are most likely over, but he will still be available for the right price in rounds 5-7 so long as no one gets nostalgic and burns and early pick on him. Graham is now 30 years of age and expecting that he’ll play past 34 is a bit unrealistic, but he will remain a solid option at a position where there are so few for the foreseeable future. Lethal inside the numbers and out, Graham should remain a fixture in your lineup in the seasons to come. Play with confidence or sell high! Good luck and thanks for reading!