Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham has been labeled a bust ever since the end of his rookie year. However, he’s been determined to prove everyone wrong.
Graham has talent, there’s no doubt about it. Towards the end of last season, Graham was on a roll. During the last six games of the season, Graham recorded 23 tackles and 5.5 sacks. This showed that Graham really could excel in the “wide-nine” alignment. While Jim Washburn was the defensive line coach, Graham seemed to be buried underneath the depth chart and couldn’t find a way to see the field. Well, after Jason Babin was released and Washburn got fired, Graham turned on the switch. He showed furiousness and brute strength when getting to the quarterback. He had a nose for the football, and his motor never blew out. His performance began to open some eyes throughout the Eagles’ organization.
Now, Billy Davis is the new defensive coordinator in Philadelphia and will mainly run a 3-4 defense. There were a few people saying that Graham might struggle since he has no experience in a 3-4 scheme. Well, that’s not really case since Graham dominated in a 3-4 defense while in college for the Michigan Wolverines. There have also been reports saying that Graham looks really good dropping into coverage; he looks comfortable and seems to have a feel for it. This is a good sign since there aren’t a lot of experienced DEs on the roster that can drop into coverage.
The one obstacle that Graham may face is playing time because OLB Connor Barwin was signed as a free agent. Barwin is a solid linebacker with experience in the 3-4 and will definitely play a good number of snaps per game. Trent Cole is pretty much a lock at the other OLB; however, he will mainly be used for rushing the passer. Splitting paying time may be bittersweet for Graham; it will allow him to have fresh legs for when he goes in, but he will have fewer chances to make an impact.
Even though there is solid depth at the DE/OLB position, be prepared for Graham to have a monster season.