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NFL Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles’ top 2010 pick Brandon Graham must step up

The Philadelphia Eagles moved up 11 spots to grab defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th overall pick, making the Michigan product the first defensive end taken in the draft. Team passed on Jason Pierre-Paul, who the New York Giants took two spots later, and he has developed into a sack machin, registering 16 1/2 sacks last season, was named first-team All-Pro and helped the Giants win their second Super Bowl title in 4 years.

Pierre-Paul will forever be thrown in the face of Graham and the Eagles unless there is some miraculous reversal of fortunes.

Now in his third-year, Graham must step up and prove that he belongs on the team. He wrecked his knee near the end of his rookie season and needed micro fracture surgery to repair it. He spent the first seven games of last season on the team’s physically-unable-to-perform list and played just 56 snaps in the final nine games. Finished with a total of four tackles, five hurries and no sacks.

Graham has come into the 2012 camp healthier than ever before. And with injuries to defensive end Trent Cole and Jason Babin, Graham will get his opportunity to shine, as he will likely start the team’s first preseason game next Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“That’s going to be the first time for me to show them what I’m going to do in the games,” he said, “and that’s how I’m taking it — like it’s my first step to where I want to be and hopefully it goes exactly how I planned it to go, how I envisioned it to go. All I can do is work hard, and that’s what I’m going to do and we’ll see when that day comes.”