In five seasons, given Graham stays healthy, he could be considered the best tight end in the NFL. With Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez aging, Graham may be considered the best pass catching tight end around.
Like Antonio Gates, Graham is a former basketball player that, as a fifth-year senior, played football.
Last preseason I watched all four preseason games. My eyes were on Chris Ivory and Jimmy Graham. They were the two rookies I was most excited about and impressed with their preseason performances.
Ivory became an early contributor after Pierre Thomas missed a lot of action due to an ankle injury. I had to wait until later in the season to see what Graham could do with the starters.
I remember getting really upset when his first touchdown was negated due to a penalty. I also remember watching the Saints vs. Baltimore game in which Graham made a diving one-handed catch for a touchdown that Brees threw over his back shoulder.
He displayed excellent body control and athleticism. I knew after that catch that New Orleans had a tight end that would be an effective weapon for the next ten years.
After that play, I pestered my step-dad telling him that Shockey just lost his job. He’s a huge Shockey fan, so he wasn’t too happy with me, but I was right in the end.