Friday, April 23, 2010

Brandon Graham?

When the Eagles traded up to #13, I breathed a sigh of relief. Mike Mayock and I were positive that the Eagles were about to land their man, and we were right.

The only problem is that we believed their man was safety Earl Thomas, not defensive end Brandon Graham.

The good news about Graham is this: he led the FBS (Div 1A to us old-timers) with 26 tackles for loss last season, including 10 1/2 sacks. He was a second-team All-American selection. He threw the 225lb bar up 31 times at the combine, and ran a 4.71 40. Tremendous numbers, all.

He is a relentless pass-rusher with outside speed and an inside spin move that is reminiscent of Dwight Freeney. He was disruptive and sometimes unblockable in college. He was the MVP of the Senior Bowl, proving that he was at his best when facing the best competition.

The bad news is that he's a 3-4 OLB, not a 4-3 DE. What the Eagles needed was a 290-lb anchor on the left side of their line, not another undersized pass-rusher that will be knocked five yards downfield by NFL tackles on every running play. And the Eagles gave up two third-round picks in a deep draft to acquire him.

Rookie DEs average under 4 sacks in their first season in the NFL. Because Graham is undersized, he won't be a first- and second- down player. So they gave up two thirds to move up 11 spots and grab a situational pass-rusher. Instead of drafting Earl Thomas (who was selected with the very next pick) who would have been on the field for every defensive play, they get a guy who's looking at 20 snaps a game and will be extremely lucky to pile up a half dozen sacks. Call me underwhelmed.

The Eagles could have stayed right at 24 and picked Kyle Wilson, who I thought was a perfect fit at a position of dire need. Given the choice between Brandon Graham or Kyle Wison and two third-round picks, I'd take the latter every time. I sure hope I'm wrong, and Graham turns into a dominant pass-rusher that makes me forget all about Earl Thomas and Kyle Wilson, but I doubt it. Then again, my only hope for a Big Red firing is that he continues to bungle personnel moves, so maybe there is a silver lining to this trade.

Meanwhile, Baby Belichik out in Denver took the plunge with everyone's favorite man-crush, Tim Tebow. I'd love to make fun of him more, but my heart's not really in it today. Hard to throw stones when my team is standing in a glass house.


Post a Comment

<< Home