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2015 Seahawks Preview: Tight End

Seattle's tight end group is bolstered by the team's biggest offseason addition, All-Pro Jimmy Graham, but with Zach Miller gone, who picks up the slack when it comes to blocking?

Teams that have played in consecutive Super Bowls don't tend to require significant upgrades to the roster, but in the ongoing quest to "do things better than they've ever been done before," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are willing to make bold moves in order to not just stay on top, but to continue improving. And that brings us to Day 3 of our 2015 training camp preview, which focuses on tight ends, and in particular on the addition of Jimmy Graham, a dominant pass catcher who figures to add a spark to an already productive offense.

Returning starter:Luke Willson
Addition:Jimmy Graham (trade)

Key loss:

Zach Miller (terminated veteran contract/failed physical), Tony Moeaki (free agency)

Last year:

Initial 53-man roster included three tight ends: Willson, Miller and Cooper Helfet.

What's at stake in training camp:

When camp opens on July 31st, arguably no player will have more eyes on him than Jimmy Graham, the All-Pro tight end the Seahawks acquired this offseason after sending Max Unger and a first-round pick to New Orleans. There is no doubt that Graham, one of the NFL's most productive pass catchers in recent years, will be a big part of Seattle's offense in 2015, but what remains to be seen is how exactly the Seahawks will use him compared to what Graham was asked to do with the Saints. Given Seattle's focus on a balanced offense, Graham will be asked to block a bit more than he did in New Orleans and he says he is up for the challenge, but just how often he'll stay at the line of scrimmage to block and where he'll line up are still mysteries at this point.

Regardless what Graham and company do this season, it's doubtful that he or any other Seahawks tight end will be confused for Zach Miller when it comes to blocking, which isn't a knock on their blocking skills as much as it is a statement about Miller's stature as one of the league's best blocking tight ends. Losing Miller means other players are going to have to pick up the slack in the running game and in pass protection. Luke Willson has improved as a blocker in his two seasons in Seattle and showed a more balanced game after Miller went down with an injury last year, and with Miller gone he, like Graham, will have to be a more complete tight end in 2015.

And if the Seahawks again keep three tight ends, the competition for roster spots should be fierce. Cooper Helfet came on strong last season when his work load increased following Miller's injury, and RaShaun Allen, who spent time on the practice squad and 53-man roster last year, has shown flashes in practice again this offseason. Anthony McCoy looks healthy again after missing the previous two seasons with Achilles injuries, and if he can recapture his pre-injury form that saw him catch 18 passes for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2012, he'll make the group that much more competitive.

A player-by-player look at Seattle's tight ends ahead of the Seahawks' 2015 training camp.

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