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Saints Roster Countdown 2014: #30 Trevin Wade and #80 Jimmy Graham

The New Orleans Saints play their first game of the preseason tonight, where many players will get to try and prove they belong on the final 53-man roster. Meanwhile, here at CSC, we're still counting down the days until the Saints regular season by taking a brief look at the guys who currently stand on the roster. Today we check out #30 (CB) Trevin Wade and #80 (TE) Jimmy Graham!

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.

Today, we take a brief look at cornerback Trevin Wade and tight end Jimmy Graham!

So, with no more ado:


#30 CB Trevin Wade (3rd Year, 2nd with Saints)

Drafted out of Arizona by the Browns in 2012, Trevin Wade made appearances in 13 games during his rookie campaign,  largely as part of a kickoff coverage unit that ranked second in the NFL, allowing a 19.8-yard average on 43 kickoff returns. His numbers weren't impressive overall, as he only tallied 17 tackles (12 solo) and one pass defensed during the 2012 season.  In August of 2013, reportedly dealing with a shoulder injury, he was released with an injury settlement towards the end of the Browns' training camp, after serving only one year of his four-year contract.

Three months later, Wade was picked up by the New Orleans Saints, following a season-ending knee injury to Jabari Greer in November.  The Saints signed him to add depth on both defense and special teams for the remainder of the 2013 season.  He appeared in two regular season games and both postseason contests for New Orleans, adding support in the defensive backfield and on special teams. He recorded a pass defense in season finale against Tampa Bay, and posted three tackles (one solo) and one special teams stop in the postseason.

Apparently, the Saints coaching staff thought well enough of the young cornerback to let him compete for a roster slot on this year's defense, though their initial depth chart has him riding at #3 opposite rookie Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

1 yr(s) / $570,000.

#80 TE Jimmy Graham (5th Year)

Despite having played only one season of college football, Jimmy Graham was drafted out of Miami by New Orleans in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.  He had graduated with a double major in marketing and management from the University of Miami in 2009, where he had been awarded a basketball scholarship.  After graduating, he then decided to stay for an extra year and play football while taking some graduate classes.  In his one year of college football, he totaled 17 receptions for 213 yards and five touchdowns, as a tight end.

In just four seasons in the NFL, he has become one of QB Drew Brees’ favorite targets and one of the NFL’s elite tight ends. In only 62 games (36 starts), he has posted 301 catches for 3,863 yards with 41 touchdowns, and has already shattered the club’s receiving records for a tight end.

During his rookie season, Graham played behind veteran tight end Jeremy Shockey, and only started 5 games in 2010, recording 31 catches for 356 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 2011 -- his first full year as a starter -- he became the first tight end in Saints history to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season, set the franchise record for receptions in a season while also tying the Saints franchise record for 11 touchdowns in a season (tied with Marques Colston and Joe Horn), and made his first Pro Bowl.  In the last game of the season, his 1,310 yards broke Kellen Winslow's NFL record of 1,290 receiving yards in a season by a tight end.  However, the record was broken  by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who chased the record enough to finish with 1,327 yards in the closing minutes of the final Patriots game that same day.

Over the past three seasons, Graham has recorded 270 receptions for 3,507 yards with 36 touchdowns, ranking him fourth in the NFL in receiving, and first at his position.  In 2013, despite playing through a torn plantar fascia, he led the Saints in receiving for the third consecutive season with 86 grabs for 1,215 yards, and a club-record and NFL-best 16 touchdown grabs.

Graham is an explosive weapon for the Saints, and has racked up 34 career catches of 25-plus yards, including 13 in 2013.  After reaching a contract agreement making him the highest paid tight end in history, following an offseason of disagreements over his Franchise Tag, the star tight end should continue to be a significant factor in the New Orleans offense.

4 yr(s) / $40,000,000. Average: $10,000,000 per year through 2017.