The Seahawks acquired Pro Bowl/All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham in a trade with the New Orleans Saints.
On Thursday afternoon, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll joined the team's flagship radio station 710 ESPN Seattle for a conversation with "Bob, Groz and Tom" on the team's recent trade for tight end Jimmy Graham.
Here are four things we learned about Graham from Carroll's 12-minute segment with 710:
1. What Graham Will Bring
Carroll called out Graham's red-zone and third-down production as key areas he expects the 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end to contribute. He said Graham's work in the red zone has been "consistent" and "ridiculous," sharing an impressive statistic Graham has tallied over the last three years, when 35 of his 50 red-zone catches have gone for touchdowns.
"That's legit," said Carroll. "You go to him because he has such a great presence. That factor alone will add to it."
Carroll also said roughly 50 percent of Graham's catches on third down have gone for first downs, calling out similar numbers the team has received on the all-important down from wideout Doug Baldwin.
"That's a big addition to complement," he said. "We're excited about all that."
2. Where Graham Will Fit
Graham comes to the Seahawks from the New Orleans Saints, a team that's relied heavily on the arm of quarterback Drew Brees and the passing game since Graham entered the NFL in 2010.
Since 2011, Graham has never caught less than 85 balls in a season. To put that number in perspective from a Seahawks standpoint, Seattle's four tight ends combined for 48 catches last year as the club emphasized the run game behind Marshawn Lynch.
"We mix more than that," said Carroll. "We're a big, physical running football team that throws the football. Our guys don't get the same numbers, the same targets that other guys get, but their productivity can still be a huge factor."
Carroll said the Seahawks plan to involve Graham in the normal course of the throwing game. The one thing that will change is they now have "a real positive target" in the red zone.
"The routes won't change much other than he is a really good jump-ball guy," Carroll said. "You put the ball up to him with a guy one-on-one and he usually wins. That's a factor."
3. How Tough Graham Is
Graham has a reputation by players around the League as being a poor blocker, a trait that has led some to believe he lacks toughness. But Carroll isn't backing that notion after what he's seen from Graham on film with the Saints the past five seasons.
"That's not accurate," said Carroll. "We've watched his stuff. When you get 140-some targets there's a lot of shots they get to take at you, so he gets pounded in their offense. I don't think he's going to get hit like that in our offense because it'll be harder to zero-in on him. They threw to him so much that guys were lining him up and linebackers and safeties were taking shots at him. I don't think that's going to happen as much. When a guy gets hit like that it's hard to hold onto the football and they're full-on shots right in your mug."
Carroll said fans can expect Graham to run with the football "very aggressively" and showcase an ability to make catches "in all situations." Carroll brought up Graham's background as a basketball player at the University of Miami, where Graham ended his career as one of the conference's top rebounders.
"That's a huge stat about toughness," said Carroll. "You can't get rebounds year after year after year unless you compete and battle to get the ball. He shows that kind of desire and he shows that toughness in his play and you can see it when he's carrying the football and he's trying to run over guys and leap over guys trying to make things happen. We have no problem with that. I think he's going to fit in very well here and I think our mentality and the grit and the toughness that we have here will only bring out the best in him."
4. What Graham's Like As A Person
Graham traveled to Renton's Virgina Mason Athletic Center on Wednesday for a medical evaluation, part of the process needed to complete the trade with the Saints. While at Seahawks headquarters, Graham also met with team personnel and the coaching staff. "He blew our socks off" was how Carroll described Graham's initial visit.
"He's very bright," said Carroll. "He's very competitive. A very well-rounded person, just a remarkable person, really. I was thrilled about how comfortable he was in new settings with the coaches around him and the guys he was hanging out with."
Carroll said several of Graham's new teammates have already reached out to welcome him to Seattle. The first to make contact was quarterback Russell Wilson. Carroll said Graham told him he plans to work out with Wilson as soon as possible this offseason, "He said, 'Wherever Russell goes, I'm going.' That was the first thing he said."
"He's tuned in, man," said Carroll. "He was a blast. I think our fans are going to absolutely love this guy. He's got a lot of juice to him, energetic, and he's really a sharp guy."