New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is separating himself from the pack in this young season, writes Ashley Fox of ESPN.com.
The tight end position, all the vogue these past few seasons in the NFL with the emergence of Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Graham as big parts of their team's passing game, is being looked at in an entirely new light, and the 6-foot-7 265 lb Graham may be the best out there.
"The thing about Jimmy is he comes to work every single day," Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton said. "Every day is a game for Jimmy. As a defensive guy, it makes you that much better, because you don't want Jimmy flexing on you. You don't want him dunking. You don't want him doing all the extra stuff. It challenges you to do all the extra stuff."
So far after four games, Graham has receiver numbers - 458 receiving yards, an average of 114.5 per game, with eight catches of 20 or more yards. Lofty numbers that only one wide receiver, Julio Jones has (120.2 per game).
Some may argue that Rob Gronkowski deserves the title as best TE in the game. Gronk currently hold the single-season records for receiving yards (1,327) and receiving touchdowns (17) by a tight end.
But the difference lies in health, where Graham stays on the field, and Gronk has had, and continues to have, his share of injuries.
Fox writes: ' Graham has surpassed Gronkowski as the best tight end in football because, unlike Gronkowski, he isn't injury prone and is reliable. Graham isn't the blocker that Gronkowski is, but in the modern-era NFL, that doesn't matter like it once did. Because of his size, Gronkowski is also a matchup nightmare for defenses, but only if he is on the field. '