Add a player who can catch 100 passes to a formidable Seahawks running game and now you have something lethal. That is the common line of thinking for many Seahawks fans when they imagine a player like Jimmy Graham joining the ranks of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. The truth is that no player on a team coached by Pete Carroll is going to catch anything approaching a hundred passes. No Seahawks receiver in the past three seasons has even been targeted 100 times, let alone caught that many. Graham's addition to the Seahawks offense may prove to be lethal, but it will not be because he gets anywhere near the number of chances he has so far in his career.
SCHEME TRUMPS INDIVIDUAL
The top five players in the NFL last season by number of receptions were:
- Antonio Brown - 129
- Demaryius Thomas - 111
- Julio Jones - 104
- Matt Forte - 102
- Emmanuel Sanders - 101
They were the only players to eclipse the 100-reception mark. Of course, each player enjoys residency in a pass-centric system. This group was lavished with an average of 160.2 targets to get their 100+ receptions.
If you extend to the top fifteen pass catchers last year (technically sixteen due to a tie), there is still an average of 144.6 targets per player. Graham came in tied for 15th with 85 receptions, but more important was that he recorded those receptions with the fewest targets (124) of the group. Efficiency is paramount for anyone hoping to make hay in the Seahawks scheme.
Catching on in Seattle
The Seahawks have had three different players lead them in targets the past three years. Sidney Rice led the way in 2012, then Golden Tate, and finally Doug Baldwin last season. To get a better idea of how many chances a player like Graham could get, it is worth seeing what opportunities were given the top pass catchers in the Seahawks offense in recent history.
Seahawks Top 10 Pass Targets
Strip the names off the jerseys and just look at the shape of the pass distribution among the ten players who were targeted the most each of the last three seasons.