It’s funny. Jimmy Graham is perhaps the best tight end in football – and if he’s not the best tight end in football, he’s second to Rob Gronkowski. Either way, he’s pretty darn good.
And yet, many NFL analysts believe that Graham – whether it’s from a reality or fantasy perspective – will regress after being traded from New Orleans to Seattle this offseason.
Michael Robinson is not one of those analysts.
“Are you serious? Have you been watching training camp?” the NFL Network analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, laughing. “I’ve been down there. Oh man, look, I went down there. I think they said Russell Wilson has thrown like 55 touchdowns in the red zone. Jimmy Graham has caught like 25 of them. That’s ridiculous. This guy’s going to be a mismatch nightmare. Obviously he has some issues in blocking, but they’re not going to ask him to go one-on-one blocking with Von Miller. That’s not realistic. But if they get a guy like Von Miller or a linebacker in coverage, it’s more advantageous toward Jimmy Graham. He’s going to open it up for Marshawn Lynch. He’s going to make Russell more of an efficient passer inside the red zone because Russell being so short, when you get in red zone, the windows are up high, so he can’t see all the windows. But when you have a guy like Jimmy Graham, you just throw it to a spot and let the guy’s ability go to work.”
Graham has been remarkably consistent in his career, catching 85 or 86 balls in three straight seasons. He also has 10+ touchdowns in three of the last four years. The one year in which he failed to reach double digits? That would be 2012 – and he still caught nine.
So yes, Robinson believes acquiring Graham was a slam dunk for the Seahawks and that the 28-year-old North Carolina native will change the face of their offense going forward.
That, by the way, is a good thing.
“Yeah, I think they almost have to a little bit,” Robinson said. “(They don’t know) what’s going to go on with Marshawn after this year. He could retire. You don’t know.”
Lynch, 29, has rushed for 1,200+ yards and 11+ touchdowns each of the last four years. Last year, he had 1,600+ total yards and 17 touchdowns (13 rush, four receiving).
That’s remarkable production, yes, but how long can Lynch maintain it?
“I don’t know if they have a replacement for Marshawn Lynch, who is in my opinion one of the top two or three running backs in our league,” Robinson said. “You have to start to change who the face of the franchise is. You have to start to say Russell can win and can beat people and win games with his arm – (and) not just (depend) on Marshawn Lynch to sometimes bail him out.”