Tight end Jimmy Graham makes is highly anticipated return to New Orleans as his new team, the Seattle Seahawks, takes on the team he helped to make great.
What about if I told you the Seattle Seahawks went out and traded for one of the biggest names in football an offseason ago and it’s actually starting to pay off? The Seahawks made one of the biggest splashes no one could have expected when they traded their first round selection and Max Unger for the Saints fourth round selection and one of the best tight ends in the game today, Jimmy Graham.
“Wait, who is Jimmy?”
Jimmy Graham is your typical 6ft 7in, 265 pound athlete who played basketball for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. With one season of football experience, he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2010 season. Graham started his NFL career playing behind Jeremy Shockey, finishing that season with 31 catches for 356 yards and 5 touchdowns.
His second year in the NFL was a year that he started to flourish, the year people were saying, this guy could be the next Tony Gonzalez, who also played basketball. Graham had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns and made his first Pro Bowl, breaking records while doing so.
The Seahawks acquired a player who had 4,752 receiving yards in his first five seasons. The most in NFL history by a tight end. You would be lying to yourself if you don’t think Jimmy Graham doesn’t possess tremendous potential still. Graham has an outstanding combination of size and speed for the tight end position and shows strength when going for the ball in a crowd, which the Seahawks have lacked in under Pete Carroll. Jermaine Kearse can go up and get it at times, but the inconsistency was always there.
I stated in an article of mine last year, “adding a vertical presence to the perimeter passing game would make an already Super Bowl-caliber team that much scarier.” That was me talking about an explosive and deadly, Tyler Lockett. Now we’re talking about Jimmy Graham, who is a lot taller, playing alongside weapons like, Lockett, Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson who can beat you with not just his arms, but his legs as well.
It was a rough first season in Seattle for Graham. He suffered a torn patellar tendon in Seattle’s thrilling win over the Pittsburg Steelers last season. The tight end exited the 2015 season with just 605 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 11 games played. That production wasn’t at all what Seattle was expecting when they traded for the super star. The Seahawks bet the house and the future on Graham translating his success under aerial wizard Drew Brees to a run-heavy offense under Russell Wilson.
However, Jimmy Grahams has shown resilience since. He has been recovering from one of the toughest injuries to bounce back from. Showing tremendous fight in his second season with the team and it shows. Working well with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Graham is second on the Seahawks with 27 catches for 408 yards and a touchdown in six games.
It has been a slow but yet, productive outcome so far. Graham has been listed on the injury report every week this season, but has yet to miss a game. He has had 100 plus receiving yards, along with a touchdown in 2 of the past 4 games and he’s looking to aim for his 5th game in a row with 5 plus receptions. It’s proven as he continues to play through injury and produce at the same time.
Pete Carroll has been satisfied with the outcome thus far. “Russell and Jimmy have really connected, and it took some time to develop that chemistry. “Jimmy’s been great since he got back and has his legs underneath him. The trade has worked out great.”
It’s not every day that a player of Graham’s skill set is shipped away, especially in the prime of his career to a conference foe who happens to be the two-time defending NFC champion. Since entering the league in 2010, Jimmy Graham has 5,765 receiving yards and 54 touchdowns. Only one man has shown similar numbers in that same time span — Rob Gronkowski out of New England.
The relationship between Graham and the Saints wasn’t super swell after the wide receiver-tight end franchise tag debate, but it wasn’t the primary motivation to move Graham. However, that being said, along with the unexpected trade. Expect a lot of motivation and emotion to pour from Graham when he gets ready to play against his former team.