The Forgotten Question About Brandon Graham

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon GrahamWe’ve been so consumed with other questions about Brandon Graham  (Can he get past the knee injury? Was he a mistake? Can he make a comeback?) that we have forgotten to ask something very important.

Is he a fit for this system?

He was drafted before Jim Washburn got here, after all. Some men are Wide-9 guys, and some aren’t. What category does Graham fall into? Depends who you ask.

“I feel like everybody is made for this system because you can get off the ball and go play,” said Graham. “I’ve been in that defense before at Michigan, it’s just not as technical as [Washburn] does it. I feel like it’s a great fit for me.”

Jason Babin didn’t seem to be in total agreement that this is an organic fit.

“Very few guys I think are born for this system,” said Babin, who qualifies as one of those people. “But the good thing about this system is you can get coached into about anything.”

One thing we can say is that Graham was brought in to penetrate the backfield, and that is Washburn’s  sole obsession. This is a player that racked up 9.5 sacks his senior season with the Wolverines and led the nation with 25 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

And don’t be so quick to dismiss his rookie season entirely, either. As Sheil points out, his 13 quarterback hurries were second to only Trent Cole that year, and he managed three sacks before going down with a torn ACL.

If Graham does fight through the early setbacks and produces this year, it’ll be in the mold of a pass-rusher. The other element of his game seems to need some work.

“Just the technique and the concept, the defensive ends are not just running up the field, they have an aiming point – a landmark – and there’s a certain way they rush so they can play the run game,” explained Juan Castillo. “That’s the thing that Brandon is learning.

“He’s probably a little bit behind the other guys, but he’ll catch up quickly. Wash has been working him hard and he’s a smart kid, he’ll be good.”

Graham has dropped some 20 pounds and says he now weighs in at 270. His offseason transformation and weight-room feats have been documented. Now we get to see what it all means once the pads are slid over his molded shoulders. We’ll start to find out if he is a good player, and if he’s a good player for this concept.

“When  you look at him in the eye, you know there’s a fire there,” said Castillo. “He wants to prove all of you wrong.  He’s here for business.”

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  • pcoyle07

    Excellent question. I hope we learn the answer sooner then later.

  • Whiskey Bill

    Didn’t Washburn say that Brandon Graham was his number 1 guy in that draft class or something to that effect?

    • Dave_King

      Yeah he did say that. Washburn is direct and doesn’t lie either, so he was telling us the truth. No question Graham can play in the wide-9.

  • Good Lookin ouT

    Based on today’s practice it doesn’t look like Graham is going anywhere except to the front of the class. He was disruptive today as he was when he was at Michigan. He looked healed and ready to except the task today stepping in for Cole when he was down.

  • ICDogg

    I don’t know but based on what I’ve seen out of practice the last 2 days, Graham has some burst.

  • Good Lookin ouT

    Also, Curry the rookie, if he continues to play like he did today, he’s a lock. And, the Offensive Line in my opinion dominated and the play of Curry and Graham still stood out.

    • tmgates

      Curry is a 2nd round draft pick and would be a lock even if he had a poor training camp. But Curry has shown a good burst off the line and has his highs and lows as he is learning the defense. Curry 2nd year next year will be a big year for him. This year is for Graham to shine and he understand that which is a good sign. You can tell and is well documented the kid has put the work in that is needed to be a very good DE in the league, now it is time for him to stay healthy and flourish in this system. As long as you are in 1 of the 8 spots under Washburn you will get snaps, & Graham if he plays to his potential will force Washburn to give him more snaps alongside Cole & Jenkins & Patterson(once healthy). Babin should only be used for passing downs. Cox will get his reps as well at DT but I am unsure of putting him at NT where he will be double teamed, he is a natural UT in my opinion with his speed and given ability. I want Patterson then Jenkins pushing those OL man into the QB face. Patterson is a beast at doing just this, Hope he skull heals quickly.

      • Good Lookin ouT

        The Eagles don’t play a nose tackle, We have not had a tackle that commands double teaming since Jerome Brown

        Graham is not to well suited to play the run, At best you hope Graham can through is penetration make rushers hesitate behind the line of scrimmage.

  • Good Lookin ouT

    the Eagles web site shows live Training Camp practice sessions, it’s worth watching to come to your own conclusions. DRC is in mid season form, McNutt is going to be hard to cut as it Chad Hall.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… as great as it is to watch those sessions, it’s hard to follow on the web. Nothing against the way they’re covering it, but it’s not what I would be paying special attention to if I were there. I’m going to try to get up there this week.

  • I remember when Washburn got here, that Graham was his no. 1 rated DE coming out that year

    • ICDogg

      My attitude going into TC was that anything we got from Graham was a bonus, and while I hadn’t completely wrote him off, I wasn’t too enthused by him either. But you know, yesterday he just kept winning the one-on-one battles. And today he stood out as well. So I still don’t know what we have with Graham, but I can’t help but be encouraged.

      • D3Keith

        I’m still of the opinion anything we get from Graham is a bonus, but it’s sounding increasingly likely that it will be a big bonus.

        At the very least I hope the guy can have a productive career and live down the JPP thing while he helps the Eagles win a Super Bowl. That’s not asking too much, is it?

        BTW I love that we use Disqus over here too. I came from Tommy’s blog but haven’t had to create a new sign-in, just dive right into the discussion.