With Drew Brees getting his just due for throwing for all those thousands of yards, it should be remembered that someone has to be on the other end of all those forward passes.
Enter Jimmy Graham. Graham is in the process of putting up a season for the ages at the tight end position, a season every bit as impressive as more publicized tight end Rob Gronkowski in New England.
Brees is just 307 yards away from eclipsing Dan Marino's all-time single-season passing record. Lesser known is that Graham could end the season with more receiving yards than any tight end has ever had. With 1,171 receiving yards, Graham is on pace for 1,338, which would top the record of 1,290 set by Kellen Winslow in 1980. Graham's 88 catches also puts him within striking distance of Tony Gonzalez's all-time single-season mark of 102, set in 2004.
"Being so young and it happening so quickly, I mean obviously it's been a pretty special year," Graham said Thursday, according to The Times-Picayune. "But the records, I don't even think about 'em. It's honestly, I know we've got a big Monday night game coming up, and I honestly don't even know what my stats are."
Brees likens Graham's natural ability to seven-time Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates, who, like Graham, was a college basketball player. It's a lofty comparison, but Graham is having a season that even Gates couldn't match in his prime.
Not bad for the 95th overall pick in last year's draft.