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The Future 40, Prospect 15: Brandon Graham Scouting Report

March 1, 2010

A new series was formed about a month ago here at Bleed Green called The Future 40, and the next edition is here! The segment has and will continue to run every other day until late April as we provide you with in-depth scouting reports of some 2010 NFL Draft prospects, giving you information key to understanding some of the players’ strengths, weaknesses, projected round of selection, possibility of being picked by the Eagles, and much more! And because the Draft is an important event for the entire league, some of the top-ranked players not expected to go to Philadelphia will also be reported on. In the first look at a prospect, we evaluated Nebraska’s DT Ndamukong Suh, who many consider to be the best player in the entire rookie class. In the second, we examined powerful RB Jonathan Dwyer and in the other editions that have released, FS Darrell StuckeyLB Sean WeatherspoonCB Joe HadenQB Mike KafkaOT Ciron BlackDE Greg HardyWR Eric DeckerRB Joe McKnightLB Micah JohnsonSS Earl ThomasRB/WR Dexter McCluster, and TE Aaron Hernandez. This time around, we will switch to a defensive perspective and look at Brandon Graham:

  • Prospect Name: Brandon Graham
  • Position: Defensive End
  • College: University of Michigan
  • Height/Weight: 6’1″, 263 pounds
  • Age: 21 years
  • Class Status: Senior

Summary: Brandon Graham’s football career has come a long way. It’s not so much that his athletic ability has changed, but rather the level and aspect in which he’s playing in. Despite an astounding high school career at Crockett Technical in Detroit in which he played 4 positions and led his team to a state championship, the tough player was forced to often times play on inadequately prepared fields and practice surfaces. In one instance, Graham and his squad had to warm up for a game with parking lot cars providing lights instead of actual field lights. Following his early teen years, the sports star was recruited to the University of Michigan as a hopefully dominant force in the Linebacker corps. Just before his freshman season as a Wolverine began, Graham (who then–even at such a young age–measured as being over 280 pounds) switched to the Defensive End spot. Despite all the hype he had received coming into college as one of the best players at the high school level, Graham managed to play only a few games as a backup defensive lineman. However, his role on the team increased significantly for the ’07 campaign; after losing some weight and being inserted into the starting lineup, he churned out 8.5 sacks and received recognition for many awards and, more importantly, respect around the NCAA. In his junior season, Graham led the Big-10 conference in tackles for loss, and placed 11th in the nation with 10 sacks, a personal best. His statistics improved more in his 4th and final season at Michigan, in which he boosted his tackle total by nearly 20 and matched his previous seasonal mark of 10 sacks. A physical defender with a bunch of collegiate awards, Brandon Graham also upped his Draft stock with an impressive performance at the end-of-the-year Senior Bowl contest, and overall should be among many teams’ rankings at the DE position.

Career Statistics:

YEAR TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
2006 3 2 1 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2007 25 13 12 8.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2008 46 29 17 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2009 64 42 22 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0

Notable Achievements/Awards:

  • All-Big-1o Honors (2008, 2009)
  • All-American Honors (2008, 2009)
  • 2010 Senior Bowl MVP
  • Hendricks Award finalist (2009)
  • Big-10 co-MVP Silver Football Award winner (2009)

Strengths:

  • Is a relentless pass rusher who seemingly never “takes a play off”
  • Has an outstanding physicality
  • Very strong and powerful on the line
  • Performs well in maneuvers that lock Tackles on running plays
  • Contains a great collection of blitz moves (spinning, twisting, and ripping motions)
  • Extends/utilizes arms to maximum extent and engages opponents with force
  • Has ability to pursue and catch ball-carrier down the field
  • Is smart and tricky in his pre-snap adjustments
  • Has strong level of toughness and often plays through injuries
  • Knows how to adapt to certain plays he recognizes from the offense

Weaknesses:

  • Doesn’t have a big explosion on the first step in pass rush techniques
  • Is a bit short in both overall height and arm length
  • Lacks speed
  • Over time, can get repetitive in choice of blitzing styles/his pass rush can become predictable
  • Questions have been raised regarding his ability to play in the NFL as both an OLB and DE

Projected Round of Selection: 1st-2nd round

NFL Player Comparison: LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers

We hope that everyone enjoyed the fifteenth report for The Future 40 prospect segment, and urge you to keep checking back for more scouting analysis as the series continues all the way up until the Draft! Also, remember that we will happily take and consider requests from our fans for this series! If you or another Eagle fanatic is interested in seeing a certain player be evaluated in The Future 40, be sure to contact us as soon as possible, and we will attempt to include your selected prospect!

(picture source)

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