A one year wonder or the next Antonio Gates? That’s what scouts are wondering as they break down the tape of Miami tight end Jimmy Graham. A former basketball player, Graham only played his senior season for the Hurricanes but produced at a relatively high level. At just under 6’7″, Graham is a huge target and he feels that his best aspect is his ability to catch the ball in the red zone. Jimmy talked to me about working out with Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens and how that helped his play as well as what he’s trying to show scouts while at the Senior Bowl.
Spencer: With all the extra fan attention around Tebow this week, has it been a distraction at all?
Graham: No, not at all. Whenever you go to college at Miami, you kind of learn to ignore all the distractions real quick. I’m actually training with Tebow at D1, too.
Spencer: Was the Senior Bowl something you knew right away you’d attend if invited, or was it something you had to think about?
Graham: Of course. 100% I was coming. First, it’s an honor to only play one year and be invited to this. It kind of showed me that hard work does pay off. So being invited to the best all-star game in the nation really meant a lot to me. So I was definitely gonna come up here. It also gives me an opportunity for scouts to see me play another game and also see me practice and how hard I work. So that’s the big reason I came here.
Spencer: Have you noticed noticed any differences running with the Dolphins coaching staff as opposed to “The U’s” coaching staff?
Graham: Oh yeah. They’re fairly similar in how they coach. We run a pro offense. Mark Whipple, you know, he’s very professional and Randy Shannon’s a tough coach just like they are. The Dolphins are one of those old school staffs. They tell you like it is and you better do it. I really respond well to that so far, it’s been great.
Spencer: What would you say you’re the most confident in about your game?
Graham: My ability to stretch the field. I’m 6’6, well, I thought I was 6’7″ (Graham measured in at 6’6 3/8″). But I run a 4.5 40, so I’m able to get on safeties really fast and I’m able to open it up. But the biggest part of my game that I’m the most confident in is my red zone play. I think I’m unstoppable in the red zone and I don’t think anyone can do anything to stop me in the red zone.
Spencer: What area of your game do you really want to show the scouts improvement in this week?
Graham: The little techniques. I’ve really been working on techniques as far as pass blocking and stuff, which showed up today. I’ve been working my tail off the last two weeks on that stuff. I was kind of thrown in and it was like, “Jimmy, just get open!” or “make sure he doesn’t hit anyone else but you.” So a big part has just been learning the techniques of everything and it’s definitely coming together.
Spencer: What other player on your side of the ball has really stood out to you this week?
Graham: Tim Tebow. The kid’s a competitor. That’s the biggest thing about him, he’s competitive. He’s confident and he’s a leader. He always makes sure he’s the first one in there and he always lets everyone know what they’re supposed to be doing. He is a leader and I’ve had the opportunity to work out with him for the last two weeks and it’s been fun.
Spencer: What about defenders you’ve matched up against? Who’s standing out to you?
Graham: During a stretch play, I had to get out on Taylor Mays and we took each other to the ground. So I’d have to say him because that was pretty physical.
Spencer: I’m also writing some articles for the Ravens, so what would it be like if you were to be drafted by Baltimore?
Graham: It’d be amazing. First off, because I feel that half of their team is from “The U.” I had the opportunity to learn from Ed Reed this summer. He was kind of teaching me coverages, teaching me how not to give away what I’m about to do. He’s a very smart safety so that was really cool. I think I could really help out the Ravens, stretch the field and help them in the red zone. I’m a pretty big target so just throw it up and I’ll get it.
Spencer: Thanks a lot Jimmy and I look forward to following you through the draft process.
Graham: Thanks a lot.