Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
I didn't see it coming... but I like it. Not just because Brandon Graham is the best pass rusher out of the Big Ten this year, but also because this was Andy Reid's gamesmanship at its best.
When the Eagles traded away picks #70 and #87 to move up to #13 in the first round last night, I was sure they were making the move to get defensive back Earl Thomas. Not so fast...Andy Reid fooled me (and a lot of NFL folks, too) again...
What a poker player! Reid wanted this guy all along, but never tipped his hand. Not even to Graham himself! Reid interviewed Graham only once prior to the Draft. And somehow Andy knew the Giants were going after Graham, too.
At 6-1 and 270, Graham is not the prototypical tall swatter we had imagined Reid wanted to rotate on the left side of the defensive line. He is often compared to Indy's Dwight Freeney as a speed-rush guy who relies on quickness and a relentless motor to make plays. There is no question in most experts' minds that Graham can make an immediate impact for the Eagles this season.
But most experts thought Graham would fall lower on the board. Andy Reid knew better. He had feigned disinterest in Graham all along until the moment of truth...a classic misdirection play.
Word out of New York is the Giants are disappointed in not getting Graham, and a little bit flustered at losing him to the Eagles. I remember Graham had a fantastic Senior Bowl performance, and so do the Giants. I simply think the Giants were caught off guard by Reid's pretense of disinterest in Graham.
Not all Philly fans love this move. Mixed reaction as usual abounds in Philadelphia. Some think we gave up too much to get a "rotational" guy. Some think giving up two picks in the 3rd round to get Graham will now destroy the Eagle's strong hand on Day 2 of the Draft. They have a point only because this year's talent pool is so deep.
But everyone agrees Graham is a good player, a very good player...Even Graham knows he'll have to become a great player almost immediately in Philadelphia in order to justify the cost of trading up for him.
Alex will have more to say on that...right now, I'm happy with the results of Day 1...now back to Radio City Music Hall, and on with the show...I mean, poker game.
2 years later a quote from Brandon Graham:
"I haven’t (done) nothing really," Graham said today after the Eagles first full-team practice of the year. "Right now, I’m a bust, so I’m going to deal with that. I’m a bust and I’m going to keep being a bust, even when I make plays, I’m going to still act like I’m a bust, you know what I’m saying?"
His junior year is going to be redemption time! This man has a gigantic chip on his shoulder and he won't be denieeeeed!!!!!!