Seahawks training camp primer: Jimmy Graham arrives with something to prove
On a media tour back in January, with the Seahawks eliminated from playoff contention, general manager John Schneider while on a media tour was repeatedly asked one question: Would the team move on from Jimmy Graham? It was unfathomable to think the Seahawks could arrive at such a tumultuous place less a season after trading for Graham, one of the NFL’s most productive, game-changing receivers for four years with the Saints. But Graham’s early lack of chemistry with Russell Wilson, the scarcity of plays drawn up to feature him and a torn patellar tendon in Week 12 added up to an experiment that is still a work in progress.
Graham had begun to gradually get more involved in the offense before the injury, and given his athleticism, size and tenacity, the path back to top-three tight end shouldn’t be long. But Seattle needs him healthy and ready to work. If he’s not both, I’m not sure we get a third year of the Jimmy Graham Experiment in Seattle.
The Rookie: It’s no secret the Seahawks need to retool their offensive line, so drafting tackle Germain Ifedi with the 31st pick made a lot of sense. Well, not to everyone. Pro Football Focus named Ifedi the worst first-round pick of 2016, saying his technique was not NFL-worthy. The Seahawks are confident enough in Ifedi’s ability and versatility to make him the starting right guard.
Position Battle Spoilers: Marshawn Lynch’s retirement signals a new era for the Seahawks' running back corps. Thomas Rawls, who has shown flashes, is the presumed starter. Christine Michael, a former second-round pick whom the Seahawks re-signed this off-season, is in the mix. Where it really gets interested are with the next three RBs down the line, rookies C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks. Any could emerge, and given his performance at OTAs, my money’s on Prosise.
The Stat: Eight, the number of interceptions Russell Wilson threw in 2015, one of many benchmarks of his spectacular season. Wilson also had the fewest pass attempts of any top 15-quarterback aside from Ben Roethlisberger. With a revamped offensive line and a possibly revamped Jimmy Graham, will the offensive emphasis shift, and how will Wilson’s efficiency look a year from now?
Preseason Watchability Guide: Seattle travels to Kansas City to open the preseason, which seems ridiculously far to travel for a game that doesn’t count. They’ll have a nice test against the new-look Raiders in Week 4.