Seahawks Ed Dickson proves he’s a better value than Jimmy Graham

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 15: Ed Dickson #84 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field on November 15, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 15: Ed Dickson #84 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field on November 15, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

When the Seahawks let Jimmy Graham walk before this season, there were concerns about his replacement. Ed Dickson is proving we shouldn’t have worried.

It’s fair to say Jimmy Graham had an uneven tenure with the Seahawks.  Expectations were high for him to repeat his stellar numbers with the New Orleans Saints. Frankly, that was ridiculous for reasons we pointed out before the 2017 season. If you’re a stat-head, go check it out. Seattle simply didn’t need a Jimmy Graham type. Well, it didn’t need to spend $10 million for him, that’s for sure. And that’s where Ed Dickson steps into the picture.

For all you normal people who don’t drool at the thought of a googleplex of numbers, I’ll summarize the problem with the high expectations for Graham. He was never a fit for the Seahawks offensive scheme. Graham caught a lot of balls in New Orleans, as I’m sure you know.

After a not-to-exciting rookie campaign of 31 catches, Graham lit it up. Over the next four seasons he averaged 89 receptions per year. That of course had everyone in Seattle drooling. Wow, that’s a lot of drool, both in the Emerald City and in this article.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks /

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks needed Ed Dickson, not Jimmy Graham

Alright, back on topic. There was no way Graham was going to catch 90 balls for the Seahawks. The reason is simple. He was never going to get 138 targets in Seattle. The Saints averaged 661 pass attempts during Graham’s four big seasons. The Seahawks averaged 447 pass attempts during the same four years. Graham never saw more than 96 targets. He was never going to produce anything like his numbers with the Saints.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider realized they overpaid for Graham. I’m not saying he was bad, although he certainly had his struggles. He just wasn’t worth $10 million. The Seahawks offense didn’t need a $10 million tight end. What they needed was a $5 million player. Enter former Panther and blocking beast Ed Dickson.

Dickson wasn’t brought in to catch the ball; he was brought in to block. And catch a little. Seattle made a lot of moves to retool the team to run the ball, and signing Dickson was just part of it. The Seahawks doubled down on this strategy when they drafted Will Dissly. The surprising part of all this was that Dickson (and Dissly in his injury-shortened season) are clearly crushing Graham as receivers.

Dickson (and Dissly) are much more effective than Graham

In four games, Will Dissly caught eight passes and scored twice. In his four games, Dickson has hauled in four passes and two scores. That’s not a lot of production in catches, but four touchdowns in eight games is a thing of beauty. That’s an incredibly impressive 33 percent touchdown to catch ratio. Graham has two scores on 34 catches, less than six percent.

Those 34 catches sound pretty good at first glance. The problem is, he’s caught less than 60 percent of his targets, just as he did in his last season in Seattle. Again, he just has two touchdowns. So he’s combining his poor catch rate of 2017 with his lousy touchdown rate of 2016. He can’t exactly blame his quarterback, either. The Seahawks just beat Aaron Rodgers, but the guy is still an all-time stud.

The trade for Graham never should have been made in the first place, as he was never going to get as many targets in Seattle. A player like Dickson who is primarily a blocker who can catch fits the Seahawks scheme perfectly. And he’s outproducing Graham in the end zone for less than half the money. By the way, in the one season Dickson was expected to contribute heavily as a receiver, he caught 54 balls and five touchdowns. That may have been seven years and two teams ago (Baltimore in 2011), but Dickson has proven he’s still got it.