Numbers Game: Jimmy Graham Flirting with History

David Neupauer, New Orleans Saints, Numbers game

Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham has taken the NFL by storm in his second season.  The former University of Miami basketball player has used his size and athleticism to create mismatches with just about anyone who guards him.  Eight weeks into the season, everyone gets it: he’s good.  But how good?  Well, he’s flirting with the single season record for most yards per game by a Tight End.

Perhaps the best historical analogy to Graham’s success this year is Kellen Winslow’s ascension to stardom.  Like Graham, Winslow (Sr) took the NFL by storm in his second season (1980).  After 25 receptions as a rookie, Winslow caught 89 passes for 1290 yards.  His 1980 yardage total still stands as the single season record for most receiving yards by a Tight End.  Winslow actually topped that number on a per-game basis in ’84, but played just 7 games.  Like Winslow, Graham was relatively quiet as a rookie, catching just 31 passes.  Saints fans everywhere hope Graham can replicate the success Winslow achieved after his breakout 1980 season.  Graham would set a new single season record for receiving yards by a TE should he maintain his current pace for the full season.  But the former Hurricane is focused on a bigger goal.

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