It took two sculptors, 14 years, hundreds of men and thousands of tons of dynamite deep in the heart of the Black Hills region of South Dakota to build Mount Rushmore, which celebrates the great contributions presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The Advocate is taking the same skill, precision, passion and thought to forever immortalize past and present members of the New Orleans Saints. In this 10-week "The New Orleans Saints Mount Rushmore Plus One Series" (it's "plus one" because we have some extra explosives left over from last year's Mardi Gras) The Advocate lists the top Saints at the positions of quarterback, running back, tight end, receiver, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, defensive back, coach and general manager.
Here is a look at the tight ends....
1. Jimmy Graham (2010-present)
While there’s an impending battle over whether he’s a tight end or wide receiver, he gets the nod here because that’s the position he’s been listed at since being drafted in 2010. A first-team All-Pro this season, he has 301 career catches for 3,863 yards and 41 TDs -- all franchise marks for a tight end. While Graham isn’t always lined up like a tight end and doesn’t block much, he is valued more for his pass-catching skills -- which is why they line him up all over the field.
2. Hoby Brenner (1981-93)
Part of the celebrated 1981 draft class who was chosen in the third round, Brenner held franchise records for receptions (267) and yards (3,849) by a tight end until Graham broke them this season. A solid blocker, Brenner averaged 14.4 yards per catch despite a lack of speed and had 21 TDs. He was one of the more popular players in the locker room and is the franchise leader in games played by a tight end with 175. He was a 2001 inductee into the Saints Hall of Fame.
3. Henry Childs (1974-80)
A fifth-round draft pick of the Falcons in 1974, Childs was released and picked up later that year by the Saints with whom he blossomed. In six full seasons, he had 207 receptions for 3,224 yards with 27 TDs and averaged 15.6 yards a catch. He was the first Saints tight end to make the Pro Bowl with 51 receptions for 846 yards and five TDs in 1979 after a solid ’78 season (53-869-4). He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1994.
4. Jeremy Shockey (2008-10)
Obtained in a trade with the Giants in 2008, Shockey, a lightning rod for controversy during three injury-plagued seasons with the Saints, caught 139 passes for 1,460 yards and six TDs in just 38 regular-season games. He averaged just 10.5 yards per catch, but was heavily involved as a blocker in the running game. He’ll be best-remembered for a 2-yard TD catch with 5:42 to play in Super Bowl XLIV that, combined with Lance Moore’s two-point conversion, gave the Saints a 24-17 lead over the Colts.
5. John Tice (1983-92)
A third-round draft pick in 1983, Tice joined Brenner in giving the Saints a solid 1-2 punch at the position during their 10 seasons together. While Brenner was more of a receiving threat, Tice did a lot of the dirty work in blocking for Saints’ running backs for much of his career. He still managed to catch 158 passes for 1,603 yards with 15 TDs and his best season came in 1986 when he caught 37 passes while Brenner was hobbled by injuries.