The next few weeks here on State of the Texans we will be doing some draft profiles of some particular players who could possibly fit into the Texans’ plans. We are not going to try to piece together scouting reports, but we enlist help of bloggers who actually cover the respective player and their school.
In this profile we look at N.C. State wide receiver T.J. Graham, and at 5’11″ and 188 lbs. he has the making to be a good slot wide receiver at the next level. He has been labeled as a track guy in shoulder pads, but it will be interesting to see if he can develop at the NFL level with some good coaching. He showed his speed at the NFL combine, and possibly could find a way on a NFL roster because of that reason.
We talk to Steven from Backing the Pack, a blog dedicated to the Wolkpack on SB Nation, and try to find out more about Graham.
Can you give us some background on Graham?
Graham was a three-star recruit out of high school according to Scout.com, and a local product who had his choice of in-state schools in addition to Florida State, Colorado, and Virginia. He’d always been heralded for his speed, and in that respect he never disappointed, but he was never much of a factor as a wide receiver until his senior season. Some of that was because of the talent ahead of him, but he also had trouble integrating into the wide receiver position at the college level, and his hands were never very good. He was a fourth or fifth option most of the time and was not a full-time starter at WR until 2011. He assumed the starting kick returner role early in his career.
What did he mean to the Wolpack offense in 2011?
NC State lost a lot of experience at wide receiver after the 2010 season, which meant it was finally Graham’s time to step in and get a chance to be a primary target. With more playing time, he got better as a receiver, though he never really shook the “track guy playing football” label. He was State’s best deep threat and improved his pass catching, in addition to his usual role as return threat.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
He’s not very big, and I would call his hands average or maybe a bit above average. I think he worked at it and became more reliable as a senior, but prior to 2011 drops were a serious problem. But he sure as hell is fast, and if he gets a shot as a returner at the next level, I think he could be pretty good in that role.
He showed his speed at the combine, would the “speed receiver” be a good label for him?
Works as well as any other. That’s certainly his biggest asset.
Where do you see Graham at the next level?
With enough work, I think he could be a solid role player as a slot receiver. He’s got to keep developing those hands and the route running. At minimum, I imagine he’ll stick at least initially because of his speed and because of what he can bring to a special teams unit, whether that’s as a return man or a gunner.
Special thanks goes out to Steven for helping us with this profile.
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Mario Williams in 2011. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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