Teammate Michael Bennett remains unsure if that will happen. He once called Graham "one of the softest players" in the sport. He has not backed off that statement. He even added since Graham arrived that he would need to block more in Seattle.
No sweat, says Graham.
"Listen, man, I'm 270 pounds," he told 710 ESPN Seattle. "I can block anybody I want to. It's all about want-to. We'll see come this first Sunday."
Graham didn't block extensively with New Orleans. He was also not healthy. He dealt with injuries to his shoulder and foot in 2013 that hindered his ability in that area. But Pro Football Focus graded him middle-of-the-pack in blocking among tight ends in 2014.
Wilson is already building a relationship with the 6-foot-7 Graham in order to find the perfect spots to throw him the ball. So far in organized team activities, the perfect spot has been anywhere.
“Throwing to him is easy,” Wilson said.
Graham, one of the premier targets at tight end, knows it will take a lot of repetition for him and Wilson to eventually get on the same page, but doesn't doubt that the duo will put up big numbers this season.
“That stuff takes time,” Graham said, “but honestly me and Russ have been on kind of this accelerated learning curve. He just gets it up and gives you an opportunity to be great. We’ll be keep working on that, and we’ll be just fine come the season, because that’s a big thing. That’s all about the connection, that’s all about knowing what each other is going to do and what each other likes.”
The Seahawks ranked 20th in the league last year in redzone efficiency, one thing that Graham's size and Wilson's decision-making will dramatically improve.
“That may be one of the biggest things, just the size we have down there when things start to get tight,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.
Graham was traded by the Saints to the
“Everything’s been amazing so far — it really has," Graham said. "From the guys to the coaches to the training staff, everyone’s been truly amazing, and it’s been a great transition so far.”
Though the transition to the environment and personnel has been smooth, Graham will have to adjust to a slightly different role on this Seahawks team. Graham, who was targeted at least 120 times in the passing game over the last four years, will need to accommodate himself in a slightly reduced role within the Seahawks balanced offense.
"I know I’m probably not going to get targeted 130 times. But that’s not my concern; I just want to win games," Graham said. "And I know there will be times — big moments in a game where I’m going to have to go out there and make a play. That’s what I’m focusing on — making sure that when the ball comes my way, I’m ready to take hold of every opportunity, and to not let any of these opportunities pass me by.”
Graham caught 85 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the Saints.
"When (Saints coach Sean Payton) told me Seattle, it definitely put a grin on my face," Graham said when he learned of what team acquired him. "I’ve had some battles clearly against their defense the last couple of years. We’ve struggled against them as a team as a whole. It’s probably the one game as a player you always look forward to because they’re always so good and it’s usually a prime-time game.
"So for me it was a moment of shock, but once that shock cleared, I realized that I was going to the best team in football."
Graham has developed into one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, having finished with at least 85 receptions in four straight seasons. Although, it seems Graham is ready for whatever the coaching staff asks since his numbers might look different in Seattle's run-oriented offense.
"I’m going to do whatever it takes to win," Graham said. "I’m not complaining at all about any of that. I just want to be part of this team and I want to be there in big moment for this team and this franchise to help us win games."
The Saints called rival executives to shop many of their players recently, including their star tight end, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Media on Tuesday. Graham had his $2.9 million base salary and $5 million roster bonus for the 2015 season become guaranteed last week.
Graham, 28, had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, all while fighting off a shoulder injury for most of the season. Over his first five seasons with the Saints, Graham has registered 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns. Since 2010, only Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (41) has more red zone touchdowns than Graham (40).
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||5||31||356||11.5||52||5||3||1||21|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||11||99||1310||13.2||59||11||18||2||74|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||9||85||982||11.6||46||9||12||1||59|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||12||86||1215||14.1||56||16||19||5||61|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||13||85||889||10.5||29||10||8||0||54|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||5||1||3||3.0||3||0||0||1|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||11||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||9||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||12||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||13||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||3||3.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||1||0||0||1||0||20||1||0|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||1||0||0||2||0||0||2||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0||0||1||0||-2||1||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||16||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||0|
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