Jimmy Graham ready to bounce back

METAIRIE, La. -- It’s never too early to talk fantasy football, so let me throw you a little tip.

If you’re inclined to draft a tight end early, go grab New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham. Call it a hunch, but I’m expecting a monstrous season from Graham. It’s more than a hunch, really. My theory is based on how spectacular Graham looked in Tuesday morning’s minicamp practice.

It’s also based on the fact that Graham is back to full health after playing with a wrist injury, which I think was more serious than he ever let on, much of last season.

“Certainly getting him back from his offseason surgery and I know he’s anxious to get started on this year,’’ coach Sean Payton said. “But I thought his practice today stood out.’’

Graham didn’t have a bad season last year as he caught 85 passes for 982 yards and nine touchdowns. But he didn’t take the next step that many expected after he caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011.

I think a lot of that had to do with the wrist injury. Graham led the NFL with 14 drops last season.

“We had a handful of guys that played through some injuries,’’ Payton said. “We had a handful of drops. Certainly, his expectation level is high, just as ours is as well and I look forward to watching him this upcoming season and seeing him progress.’’

I think a healthy wrist will help eliminate most of the drops and I expect Graham’s numbers to be as good, or better, than they were in 2011.