Posted: March 1st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Lifer

Brandon Graham is sticking around.

Graham was the Eagles first round pick in 2010. He played for Andy Reid and Sean McDermott as a rookie. That seems like at least a million years ago. Maybe more.

Here’s what I wrote about Graham before the Eagles picked him.

Relentless and disruptive defender.  Led the nation in TFLs in 2009 with 26.  Finished his career with an amazing total of 56.  Athletic edge rusher who is more fast than quick.  Michigan moved him around to keep teams from gameplanning too much.  Graham played both DE spots.  Slides inside to DT at times. Fights off cut blocks. Uses his hands well. Beat Bulaga for a sack in the Iowa game. Used good dip move. Beat Bulaga to the inside for another sack. Got the RT off balance, threw him to the ground, and hit the QB. Uses his hands well. Fights to hold the point on run plays. Quick, but not explosive. Mixes in some bull rushes.  There were questions about his height.  Measured in at 6013.  That means he’s almost 6’1 1/2.  That’s acceptable for a 4-3 DE.  There will be plenty of 3-4 teams who value him as a LB.  His size and build will be perfect for some schemes.  He can play in space if needed.  Made a real impressive play against Terrell Pryor in the OSU game.  Pryor was on the run.  Graham showed great agility and COD skills to handle the fakes and still make a solid tackle in space.  Graham is an athletic defender and a top flight pass rusher.  His ability showed up in workouts as well.  Ran a 4.71 at the Combine.  Had a solid showing at the Combine.  Only came up short in the VJ (31.5).  Great career production.  29.5 sacks and 8 FFs.

Had a monster performance at the Senior Bowl, both practices and in the game.  Looked like a dominant player.

1st round prospect.  Could go real high if teams are okay with his size and build.

It is pretty amazing that Graham overcame a turbulent first few years with the Eagles to become an outstanding pass rusher, team leader and fan favorite. He secured his place in Eagles history with his strip sack of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing that play.

As fun as it is to look back, what about the future?

The Eagles didn’t have to break the bank, but BG will get fairly compensated.

Graham has never been a huge sack guy, but he is regularly disruptive. He lacks ideal size or athleticism and that keeps him from finishing more plays. Graham does affect the QB on a regular basis and Jim Schwartz will tell you that is critical. Move the QB off his spot. Make him throw early. Make him throw under duress.

Graham is also an outstanding run defender. He can set the edge on runs that come his way. He has a great motor and will chase plays that go away from him.

Will he slow down? Graham had half a sack in the playoff win over the Bears. He had a sack and FF in the playoff game vs the Saints. Even after a long, hard season, Graham was able to get the job done in the postseason. I think he’s got plenty left in the tank.

I get nervous about the Eagles bringing back older players for big money, but Graham has played in 47 of 48 games in the Pederson era. The only game he missed was when the team rested key players in the 2017 finale. Graham isn’t showing a lot of age to this point.

What does this mean for other players? That’s an interesting question. This could mean the Eagles won’t have as much money to spend on Tim Jernigan. This could also mean the Eagles might not bring back Michael Bennett or Chris Long. Bennett is the better player, but Long is a key leader and locker room presence.

Or maybe the Eagles love all their pass rushers and just wanted to keep as many around as possible.

This certainly makes DE less likely as an early pick, but I do think DT will remain a key target.

I would have hated to see Graham playing for some other team. That said, this move isn’t without risk. I think Graham will remain productive, but there aren’t any guarantees.

The one thing I do know, there will never be a lack of effort, on or off the field. Graham is relentless. He will do everything in his power to make the Eagles happy they brought him back.


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