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John Clayton: Jimmy Graham Could Provide Offensive Boost Ravens Need

February 26, 2018
It's no secret the Baltimore Ravens need to upgrade their offense.

After finishing the season 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the third straight year, the Ravens need to find help on offense. At his season-ending news conference Feb. 2, owner Steve Bisciotti said the team "will be exploring all options" when it comes to acquiring playmakers for quarterback Joe Flacco to throw to. 

John Clayton, a former ESPN analyst and current radio host at 710 ESPN Seattle, said free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham could be one of those options.

"I think if he gets the confidence, which he can get, he can be devastating," Clayton told Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 20. "You're talking about one of the top seven or eight tight ends in the league. He's so big; he's hard to matchup against."

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Graham spent that last three years with the Seattle Seahawks, where he underperformed. Last year, he averaged a career-low 9.1 yards per reception but did record 10 touchdowns.

Clayton said part of his dip in production -- Graham averaged 12.2 yards per reception and scored 69 touchdowns while with the New Orleans Saints from 2010-2014 -- has to do with the way he was used in the Seahawks' offense, where he was more of a No. 2 receiver than a No. 1.

"I think it took [the Seahawks] until this past year to really get him as a better red-zone threat, something he was really good at back in New Orleans," Clayton said.

Graham, 31, ruptured his patellar tendon in 2015, which Clayton said also contributed to the two-time Pro Bowler's struggles, but Clayton believes he can still be a reliable No. 2 target and could provide the red-zone threat the Ravens need.  

The Ravens ranked 29th in the league in terms of total yards last year, a mark they will definitely look to improve upon.  

"The one thing you wonder about is he is getting older … but I think he could still do well and play at that Pro Bowl level," Clayton said.

With tight end Benjamin Watson and receiver Mike Wallace set to become unrestricted free agents, the only Ravens pass catchers still under contract are receivers Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, DeVier Posey, Chris Moore, Tim White and tight ends Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle and Darren Waller. 

Watson led the Ravens' with 61 receptions and was second on the team with 522 reception yards in 2017. 

While Clayton said Graham is still someone defenses need to be aware of, he isn't a much of a blocker, which is something the Ravens need to be aware of.

"He certainly would help the Baltimore Ravens … as long as they don't try to put him in the blocking positions," Clayton said. "It's a good option because … if you want to get the ball in the middle of the field, he's very good at that."

For more from Clayton, including his thoughts on John Harbaugh's status after the 2018 season, listen to the full interview here: