Brandon Graham is a good football player. Damn good, in fact.
– First team Pro Bowl alternate
– Second team AP All-Pro
– First team PFF All-Pro#Eagles
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 6, 2017
In some ways it feels like he got good in a hurry. It is easy to forget that when Graham started his first game for the Eagles, Kevin Kolb was the team’s starting QB. That seems like ages ago.
Graham was disruptive in that game, starting at DE and sliding inside as a DT in Nickel/Dime sets. He played pretty well as a rookie, but got hurt late in the year and that seemed to completely throw his career off track. Graham only played in 3 games during the Dream Team season of 2011. He came back in 2012 and proved to be an effective situational pass rusher.
Then Chip Kelly took over and Graham moved to OLB. He was borderline awful at first. Graham says that Kelly wanted to cut him and keep Travis Long. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it didn’t happen because Long got hurt. Graham didn’t play a lot in 2013 because he just wasn’t a good LB.
I was shocked at how much better he was in 2014. You weren’t going to mistake Graham for Seth Joyner, but he was functional as a LB and remained a disruptive pass rusher. He became a starting OLB in 2015 and had a good year. Graham got to move back to 4-3 DE when Jim Schwartz took over and he had a terrific season.
— John Gonoude (@john_gonoude) January 6, 2017
Top-graded edge defenders:
1. Khalil Mack, 93.8
2. Cameron Jordan, 92.8
3. Brandon Graham, 92.7
4. Von Miller, 90.2
5. Joey Bosa, 88.8 pic.twitter.com/g3HFvRt9YX
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 28, 2016
Graham didn’t post gaudy sack numbers, but all you have to do is watch the tape and you see him in the backfield over and over.
It is good we didn’t rush to judgment on BG. After 5 years, he had 13 starts and 17 sacks. Graham had to deal with different coaches and schemes and lots of overall changes. He kept his nose to the grindstone and worked himself into being an outstanding player.
I would love to tell you Marcus Smith could do the same kind of thing, but Graham showed serious flashes from the first game he ever played. Smith is way behind that schedule and has never looked more than average. Maybe the light comes on for him, but Graham is the exception and not the rule. Most guys who don’t pan out early on don’t pan out at all.
I have a lot of respect for Graham because of how hard he’s had to work to get to this point. He had challenge after challenge and none of them were self-inflicted. He wasn’t out of shape. He wasn’t partying too much. He wasn’t distracted by fame. Life put a lot of obstacles in Graham’s way and he overcame them all. I hope Eagles fans appreciated what a good player he has become.
NFL announced #Eagles QB Carson Wentz finalist for Rookie of the Year. Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Joey Bosa and Deion Jones are others.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 6, 2017
Congratulations Mr. Wentz. You won’t be winning the award, but it is still good to be considered.
Throwback Thursday: Princess Diana drops Prince Harry off at school in an Eagles jacket, this month in 1991 pic.twitter.com/7RcBxZIk3u
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 5, 2017
I can’t believe I didn’t see this picture until the other day. I assume she watched the Body Bag Game in 1990 and decided she had to get some Eagles gear. Clearly a classy princess.