Eagles Take Graham With First Pick

graham1 Eagles Take Graham With First PickAndy Reid couldn’t resist the urge. Brandon Graham looked too familiar, played too much like a current favorite player of his, Trent Cole, and a former player, Hugh Douglas. So when Graham was still available at 13, Reid had to grab him.

The move just left some scratching their heads if moving up to take the somewhat undersized 6-1 3/8, 270-pound Michigan defensive end was worth it, costing the Eagles two third-round picks and the 24th overall pick to trade up with Denver.

The Eagles took Graham with Texas strong safety Earl Thomas and Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan, two strong considerations the Eagles were supposedly looking at, still on the board at 13.

“I thought it was important that we better ourselves with the pass rush and I thought it was good to be aggressive and move up for who we thought was the best defensive end,” Reid said. “The thing we liked about Brandon is that he’s a relentless defensive player. We went into this off-season looking to get better on the defensive line. The thing about defensive line is you get good play on the defensive line, it makes everyone else look better. We felt Brandon was the best player there [at 13]. He’ll remind you a little of Hugh Douglas, not that I want t0 pump up Hugh, but he’s a relentless player.

“I put a lot of value on guys who love to play the game, character guys who play relentless football. I also like players who make plays on the defensive line of scrimmage.”

Eagles’ General Manager Howie Roseman was also a big fan of Graham’s. “He thought the world of this kid,” Reid said, explaining Roseman’s opinion.

It just came as a little shock to Graham that he was picked by the Eagles. Graham, who had 10.5 sacks and led the nation in tackles for losses with 26 (second-best in Michigan history) for minus-127 yards, said he spoke to the Eagles at the NFL Combine for about 15 minutes, but “I never thought in a million years the Eagles would pick me. I didn’t take a visit there.”

“I’m going to come in and get as much done  as I can and go out and show it,” said Graham, who was clocked at 4.7-second in the 40 but some have been critical about his height. “After the Senior Bowl, I didn’t hear that too much [about the height]. I’m a strong guy who will get to the ball. I consider myself a great pass rusher, who’s a disruptive run stopper–and I’m humble. I consider myself a coachable kid.”

Apparently, so does Reid.

“I haven’t been around a whole lot of players who play as hard as Trent Cole and Hugh, that same way,” Reid said. “Both Hugh and Trent have phenomenal motors, and that’s who this kid reminds me of.”

The first few picks went as expected. Sam Bradford was selected with the first pick by the woeful St. Louis Rams. Ndamukong Suh was taken next by the Detroit Lions followed by offensive tackle Gerald McCoy by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No surprises. All the talk, all the speculation, all the tweets and texts that went back and forth were all for nothing. But it certainly piqued the interest for the fans of those teams.

What appeared to be good news for the Eagles was that Thomas, who was eventually snatched up by Seattle with the next pick at 14,  kept falling down the draft board. Morgan, selected two picks later (16th) by Tennessee, was sliding down too, especially after Jacksonville took California d-end Tyson Alualu with the 10th pick overall. It was the first surprise of the first round. The second, arguably, came next when San Francisco traded up with Denver for the 11th pick and took Rutgers’ offensive tackle Anthony Davis, projected to be a first-round pick, but not as high as 11.

Graham was projected to be a mid-first round pick. But Graham, who just turned 22 on April 3, is different than Douglas in one respect–“I don’t like to talk too much. For Philadelphia to see that in me, I’m glad it made them make the move to get me, I appreciate that. I haven’t sat on the bench in so many years and I’m not trying to start now. I’m trying to learn as much as I can, and I’m trying to show it. I know coach wants me out there as much as possible and I’m going to try to do that. I want to be a starter. I’ not used to coming off the bench, so I’m going to do whatever this team wants me to do, play special teams, anything, if I got to get out there, I got to get out there. I’m just not used to getting cold on the bench or sitting the bench. I like to be out there helping my team win.”


One Comment

  1. Tom says:

    This kid might be good but what ever happened to the every down 275 to 290 pound defense end?
    The Eagles haven’t had a great defensive end since Reggie.

  2. Migao says:

    They need a fatter guy to stop the run, maybe today in the second round.

  3. Eric says:

    The Colts have a DE who’s “undersized” Do you think they have a problem with him? No one knows how Graham will fare on the field. Let the rest of the draft play out and see what holes the Eagles are able to fill…then see what you think

  4. joseph santoliquito says:

    Hugh Douglas was considered undersized, too, and he fared pretty well for the Eagles. The fact is no one really knows what Graham is capable of doing, and if Ray Didinger says the kid is a good player, which he said repeatedly today with Angelo–that’s definitely good enough for me. The curiosity comes in how fast Graham will contribute. He was unblockable during the Senior Bowl. Now the Eagles have two lightning-fast D-ends that could cause problems for people. Even Dallas, which won’t see the Eagles until December.

  5. Wayne says:

    He is small like Trent Cole. And will not get to Romo like Trent Cole couldn’t do. Flozell Adams only had to stand up and Trent Cole (oh boy he’s fast) could not get around him. Too small, no power. QBs will pass all over us while Trent and Brandon “run” around “O” lineman, because they are too small to go thru them.

    1. Henry says:

      Wayne is so right. Another smallish guy, another guy with short arms. How long do we have to have the shortest team in the NFL? Our best lineman is 5’11”, my gosh. So now we have Graham cracker with milk. More disappointment coming!

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