PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Brandon Graham is finally reaching his peak.
Graham, the Eagles’ 13th overall pick in 2010 out of the University of Michigan, is the second-highest graded pass-rusher among all NFL edge defenders this season according to Pro Football Focus’.
On Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, Graham had eight pressures, six QB hits, a forced fumble, a tackle for a loss, and a sack. For the season, he has 4.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in six games.
But it hasn’t always been this way for the 6’2″, 265-pound defensive end.
Listen: Brandon Graham on the 94WIP Morning Show
“I just kind of look at how my career played out,” Graham said Wednesday on the 94WIP Morning Show. “My first year I got hurt. Second year we had a new coach that brought in Jason Babin that paid him some money, so you know that he was gonna get the start regardless and I was coming off injury. And then, I end up at the end of year three playing better, getting a lot of sacks in the last couple of games when Coach [Jim] Washburn and everybody got fired. And then, here comes Chip Kelly. I had to start over and get familiar with a new scheme and then T-Cole [Trent Cole] and Connor [Barwin] were in front and I had to just make sure I kept the number two spot. And I just kept grinding, kept grinding and not worrying about what I couldn’t control. Now, we at this point.”
Graham reiterated something he admitted back in August — he was nervous Kelly would get rid of him.
“I thought Chip was gonna let go of some of the guys that he didn’t recruit here, or pick here,” Graham said. “And then it was a lot of stuff going on that shouldn’t have went on here and it was just for us — I was nervous, I ain’t going to lie. I definitely was nervous.”
Before the 2015 season, Graham signed a four-year, $26 million contract with $14 million guaranteed. Those early experiences provided Graham with the proper perspective he needed to blossom into the star he is today and he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I learned a lot during this time when I was having my lows and I appreciated much more now because of the stuff I went through,” Graham said on Wednesday. “It made me stronger and it made tougher and it made me just change my mindset on how to be a professional and what not to do and make sure this doesn’t happen again if you can help it. So, I don’t make excuses for that. I really learned during that process. Now, I’m at the point now where I want to win and I want to make sure I do it for Philadelphia.”