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Jimmy Graham Poised for Breakout

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One of the many bright spots from the Saints victory over the Panthers yesterday most certainly has to have been the play of rookie tight end Jimmy Graham. The 6'6" former basketball player has quietly and ever increasingly become a significant contributor on this team, culminating with his career performance yesterday which saw him score his first ever NFL touchdown.

vs CAR / 11.7.10 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Jimmy Graham 3 49 16.3 1

Receiving Kickoff Returns Punt Returns
G Rec Yds Y/G AVG Lng TD KR YDS AVG Lng TD PR Yds Avg Lng TD
5 8 98 19.6 12.3 19 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

At first glance, Graham's season totals certainly aren't mind-blowing but he's a solid special teams contributor and is increasingly earning the trust of his quarterback, Drew Brees. Also remember that Graham is a third-round draft pick whose value right now comes more from the potential he shows.

All of this is welcome news, of course, after starting tight end Jeremy Shockey left yesterday's game with bruised ribs. Based on Shockey's injury-riddled past, he'll probably be missing a few games, meaning Graham now has an opportunity to really make a name for himself and show the team and fans why he's the future tight end of the New Orleans Saints.

Your thoughts? What does the future hold for Jimmy Graham and the Saints? Does the Shockey injury mean more of Graham?