New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has won the NFC Offensive Player of the Month award for the month of September. According to ESPN, this is the first time a tight end has won from either conference since the award began in 1986.
While it’s somewhat surprising that no tight end have ever won the award, Graham certainly deserves it. During the Saints’ 4-0 run this September, Graham has caught 27 passes for 458 yards and six touchdowns. This places Graham number two in receiving yards behind Atalanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones and tied with Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker for number one in touchdown catches.
He also needs just two touchdowns to break the record for touchdowns by a tight end through the first five games of the season. The record is currently shared by Mike Ditka and Antonio Gates at seven.
According to Saints teammate Drew Brees, per ESPN:
He’s a big target. He’s extremely athletic. He’s got this fire and passion and will to succeed and to work at it. He wants to be great. That’s all you want in a teammate and in a target. A lot of times you take a player and it’s like, ‘OK, these are his strengths, but then he’s got these weaknesses that we’re going to stay away from and we’re just going to try to utilize the strengths.’ You then encounter certain players like Jimmy Graham and you just say, ‘OK, this guy has the ability to have all strengths and no weaknesses.
Indeed, since his his rookie year in 2010, the six-foot-seven Graham has caught 31 touchdowns and has been a major mismatch for opposing defenses.