The Saints had enough confidence in young tight end Jimmy Graham to cut veteran Jeremy Shockey. All sign point up as it appears he is poised for a breakout season with New Orleans in 2011.
For Saints fans, the 2010 NFL Draft was full of surprises. The Saints had a strong need along the front seven, and essentially every mock draft had the Saints choosing a linebacker or defensive line player with their first round pick, as getting pressure on the quarterback looked to be a pretty apparent need.
However, Sean Payton and company had some tricks up their sleeves, electing to draft cornerback Patrick Robinson with the 32nd overall pick, followed by offensive tackle Charles Brown in the 2nd round, and tight end Jimmy Graham in the 3rd.
All three picks were based of the Saints “best player availible strategy, especially when you take into account Robinson was drafted to be a nickel corner and Brown barely saw the field the entire 2010 season.
Jimmy Graham was the exception to the relatively quiet 2010 Saints’ draft class.
Graham had all of the measurables you look for in an NFL tight end, including great height (6’6″), long arms, and great speed not typically seen in a tight end.
So, why wasn’t Graham taken higher in the draft?
The catch was that Graham had played only one season of football at the University of Miami, as he was originally a basketball player for the Hurricanes, and that lack of football experience caused a lower draft grade.