Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham hasn’t seen much time on the playing field since being drafted in the first round by the Birds in 2010, but he’s been talked about often. And he has heard all of the criticism.
The talk of him being a bust with just 3 sacks thus far in his NFL career. The comparisons made to New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul, drafted 2 places behind Graham as the 15th overall pick but whose work for the Giants has now earned him a Super Bowl ring.
Graham knows that all he can do to quiet the talk is to show up and play hard. And that’s what he intends to do in 2012, using the chatter to fuel him.
“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?”
Graham, who suffered a torn ACL during the 13th game of his rookie season, is finally fully recovered from his knee injury and is in shape, no longer gaining 20 pounds in two months due to a fondness for cheesesteaks. The 6’2 DE weighs in at 265, a weight he hasn’t held since his junior year in college.
Like others on this Eagles squad, 2012 is a do-or-die season for Graham. Philadelphia drafted him because of the incredible pass rush ability he demonstrated while at the University of Michigan. Whether that ability can translate to the NFL is still an unknown.
Philadelphia has remained patient thus far, but the team needs to see that Graham was not a wasted high-round selection While his injury could not have been predicted, he is finally healthy enough to show if he has what it takes. Graham is going to use all of the naysaying he has heard over the past year to make him stronger, both on and off the field.
“Just going through that whole thing last year, not playing, I just grew as a person, that was number one. I’ve moved on from it. Now it’s time for me to defend myself.”
Do you think Philadelphia will finally see a return on its investment in Brandon Graham?