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Saints Jimmy Graham: Human or Android?

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has played like a machine in his first four NFL seasons. He has put up amazing numbers, often while playing hurt (only two games missed in four years). Some however think that Graham played a bit too much like a human at times this season.

Jimmy spitting fire like a dragon? Yup.
Jimmy spitting fire like a dragon? Yup.
Chris Graythen

Did you know that Saints tight end Jimmy Graham played basketball at the University of Miami? Did you know that he only played one year of football before being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft? Oh and by the way, did you know that he loves dunking over the goal post each time he scores a touchdown?

I jest, of course. You know all of these facts already, especially given the fact that they are incessantly rehashed by every television announcer calling a Saints game.

One thing you might not necessarily know however is the fact that, arguably one of the greatest tight end of his generation, Jimmy Graham is only human.

I can see the look of bewilderment on your face. You are thinking: wait...what are you saying? Jimmy wasn't really the result of a 20 million dollars ultra-secret government experiment? Did television lie to us again? So you mean to say that he bleeds red blood like the rest of us? How about his strange reddish hair? What of his freakish combination of size, strength and speed?

I fully understand why you are in shock and awe. I mean, let's just look at what Graham has accomplished in four years in the NFL, despite the fact that he played only one year of...ok I'm going to leave that one alone.

Since 2010 (a year in which he backed up former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey), Graham has recorded 301 receptions on 470 targets (64% reception rate). He also has 3863 receiving yards during that span, including two seasons over the 1000-yard mark (1310 yards in 2011 and 1215 yards in 2013) and one that came pretty close to it (982 yards in 2012).

Graham also has 41 touchdown receptions in his four years in New Orleans, an outstanding average of 10 touchdowns a year when considering that opposing defenses build a large part of their gameplan around stopping him when they play against the Saints.

The 27-year old Saints tight end is not perfect however and it showed at times in 2013. His worst career game came in week six at New England, when Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib shut Graham down. The Saints best receiving weapon was limited to zero catches despite being targeted six times by quarterback Drew Brees.

He struggled in a few other games as well, notably against the Saint Louis Rams, when he only recorded two catches for 25 yards. In two games against the Seattle Seahawks, Graham combined for only 4 catches, 50 yards and a lone touchdown.

These subpar performances have led several pundits and even some Saints fans across the country to question Graham's drive and toughness, especially when facing rugged, physical defenses. Although I believe that Graham could use a bit more "nastiness" in his game, I've heard outrageous statements such as: "he only plays well against poor teams."

If you have read some of my works before, you know what I think about lazy narratives: they're like cockroaches; they are useless, they are hard to kill and all I want to do is crush them under the sole of my shoe.

So you think Graham only played well against weak competition? How about we look at his actual numbers against some of the best defenses in the NFL in 2013?


Opponent/NFL Defensive Rank (DVOA)


Rec. (Rec. %)



Arizona / 2nd


9 (60%)



Carolina (Home) / 3rd


6 (55%)



Carolina (Road) / 3rd


5 (45%)



Buffalo / 5th


3 (100%)



San Francisco / 11th


6 (55%)



Tampa (Home) / 12th


10 (63%)



Tampa (Road) / 12th


5 (63%)



Tar. = Targets. Rec. = Receptions. Yds. = Yards. TD = Touchdowns.


The tape doesn't lie and the numbers speak for themselves. Against some of the elite defenses in the NFL, Graham produced at an unbelievably high level this season. Some however, have chosen to focus on his poor outings.

I myself have been very critical of Graham's at times for his uninspired play against some tough defenses; but to claim that he has feasted only on bad teams couldn't be further from the truth.

Without much help from the Saints other receiving targets in 2013, opposing teams found it rather easy to double or even triple-team Graham, rendering him ineffective as it would have any player, even one who is 6'7", 265 lbs. and as gifted as he is.

Now to accommodate the extra-demanding faction of Saints fans who would like Jimmy Graham to play more like an android than a normally flawed human being, I have devised an genious enhancement plan for the Saints tight end. This scientific experiment will be tested during the upcoming training camp and if successful, might be implemented for the whole Saints roster.

Faced with all of Graham's detractors, and with a mission to make them stop complaining and rather appreciate his stellar play, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to achieve such a feat would be to turn him into an unstoppable 90% android football playing machine.


Four Bionic Arms (Android body percentage: 20%)

Graham has been criticized for not being able to beat bump-and-run coverage and for being "soft" when re-routed at the line of scrimmage by the likes of Richard Sherman or Aqib Talib. With these four arms, Graham is now going to be able to not only catch the ball, but simultaneously push the defenders off of him.


Robocop Electronic Leg Enhancement (Android body percentage: 20%)

Being 265 lbs. makes it hard for Graham to get away from speedy cornerbacks and safeties. These new legs with allow Graham to run a 3.0 40-yard dash and have a vertical jump of 75 inches. Unfair? Maybe. Deal with it.


Zwitterionic Non-Fouling Bionic Heart (Android body percentage: 15%)

I cannot give you the details on how this works since the patent is pending. Just know that Graham will be able to play three full football games in a row without ever needing to take a break.


Blocking Awareness Chip (Android percentage: 10%)

This chip will be installed inside Graham's left ear and will greatly help him not only block more effectively on run plays, but also enjoy doing it.


Grahaminator X (Android body percentage: 25%)

This chip, made of an extremely rare new alloy, will recreate the mean streak of the original Terminator. It will also add the improvisation and creative abilities of Terminator X (If you are under 25, Google him). The chip will be grafted into Graham's brain and will allow him to craftily evade and sometimes simply punk overaggressive linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. Yes, all of them at the same time.


Of course, if none of this works, we can still be thankful as Saints and NFL fans that we are witnessing a Hall of Fame tight end in the making in Jimmy "The Reaper" Graham. At only 27-years old and still developing into a complete football player, it is quite unbelievable to think that Graham's best is yet to come.