I was pumped up about the draft, as I am every year. I full expected the eagles to draft a secondary player or wide receiver. Ok so at 22, the eagles couldn't of picked a wide receiver, but they had Darqueeze Dennard, Jason Verrett, Bradley Roby sitting right there. But instead the eagles wanted another draft pick so they passed essentially on Verrett and Dennard and picked Marcus Smith. A lot of people like this pick because it fits a need, but I ask you, what essentially is the difference between Brandon Graham and Marcus Smith besides age? And tbh, Brandon Graham is still very young, and hasn't been given a chance to start.
Scout profile of Brandin Graham per cbs sports 2010
Brandon Graham, 6-1, 263 lbs Defensive End
4.72 40 yd dash, 32 1/4 arm length, 9 7/8 hands 31 bench reps
Brandon is a short thickly-built player with good athleticism. He has very good initial quickness as an edge rusher but doesn't have elite speed or range in pursuit. Brandon uses his hands well to control and leverage blockers versus the run as well as to counter as a pass rusher. Graham is the Wolverines' most disruptive defender and plays with a high motor. He doesn't have enough burst and lateral agility to excel as a stand up player in the NFL but may be effective in zone blitz schemes in limited coverage responsibilities. Brandon is a good football player who should be productive at the next level in the right defensive scheme.
Graham was an extremely productive defender in college who spent a lot of time in the backfield. He's a tough, competitive guy who doesn't stop until the whistle. He's athletic enough to get to the quarterback and make plays away from him in the running game. Has good instincts. Displays excellent hand use when disengaging and rushing the passer.
Graham lacks the height you like to see from defensive end prospects. At times, appears to be somewhat stiff hipped when diagnosing and playing in space. Scouts question his versatility and ability to stand up and play outside linebacker in a 3-4.
6 foot 3, 251 lbs Defensive End
4.68 40 yd dash, 32" arm length, 10 inch hands, 23 bench reps,
Played quarterback as a Georgia prep. Converted to linebacker as a true freshman in 2010 -- saw action in nine games (one start) and recorded three tackles, one tackle for loss and zero sacks. Started at outside linebacker in the season opener against Kentucky before spending the rest of the year as a reserve/special teams player. Moved to defensive end in '11, seeing action in 10 games (five starts) and totaling 12-6.5-5.5 with one pass batted and two forced fumbles. Missed three games with an ankle injury. Took over as the starting left defensive end in '12 and posted 29-7-4 with two passes batted, one interception and two forced fumbles in 13 starts. Caught two-point conversion passes against Kentucky and Missouri State. Was the American Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in '13, starting 13 games and recording 42-18.5-14.5 with three passes batted, four forced fumbles and a blocked kick.
Nice bend, balance and body control. Good pass-rush ability and potential. Quick first step. Coordinated hands and feet. Athletic and agile -- can stunt and loop. Flashes a spin move. Shows burst to close and get home. Moves well laterally. Gives effort in pursuit and ranges all over the field. Operated from 2- and 3-point stance. Solid character. Is coachable and has improved steadily.
WEAKNESSES Lacks ideal length -- plays short-armed and can be locked up by larger blockers. Short initial steps. Still crafting a wider array of counters and pass-rush moves. Still learning to convert speed to power. Work in progress as a run defender. Does not set a hard edge and can do a better job using his hands to disengage quicker. Needs to become a more violent hands fighter. Limited experience playing in reverse.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 3-4
A high school quarterback turned pass rusher who broke out with 14.5 sacks as a senior (1.12 sacks-per-game average led nation), Smith projects as a pass-rushing, 3-4 right outside linebacker in the pros. Should contribute initially on passing downs and has eventual starter potential as his game becomes more well-rounded.
OVERALL ANALYSIS = SMH
We still got Trent Cole for one more year, not like he is anything special as a coverage linebacker, however hes a great pass rusher still. We still have Brandon Graham even though is is considered on the trading block, but he is young and all of us claim he has alot of potential. Well whats the difference between Graham and Marcus Smith, because as far as I am concerned, you could of tryed to have groomed Graham to replace Trent Cole if this was the direction the eagles were heading with Marcus Smith and saved a draft pick. You could of tryed to offer the Dolphins your first round pick and actually of gotten someone who can cover, that being Dion Jordan. You have Connor Barwin, which is a good player but by no means a great coverage backer, but Howie Roseman already stated earlier in the offseason that they plan to use Barwin more as the primary pass rusher, which leads me to believe that they eagles were interested in drafting Ryan Shazier, a coverage line backer. Brandon Graham and Marcus Smith essentially have the same measureables and combine numbers and were both considered projects with great talent going into the next level. In the first round, you draft impact players that are going to help your team day 1 of the oncoming season. With the options we had at 22, Im sorry Darqueeze Dennard should of been the pick. He was the BPA imo, and filled a huge need. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher both did ok at times last year, but I think everyone would agree our secondary was the teams biggest problem last year. Roseman and Chip got greedy. They had six picks and figured hell none of the players we initially wanted were there, lets move back a few spots and pick up a great 3rd round pick from Cleveland. Now I love the value of that trade, but then Dennard and Verrett goes right off the board before get another chance to pick. I think the eagles shot themselves in the foot, and its apparent when you hear Roseman on 94.1 with Angelo Cataldi. Marcus Smith is a round 2 or 3 talent, but because of need, and not BPA, and because the eagles draft plans did'n't go as planned, they reached out of desperation. When you reach out of desperation and not just sit still and go off your board, you make bad decisions.
And if anyone thinks Marcus Smith was the BPA on their board, guess again. Howie Roseman admitted this morning Marcus Smith was NOT the best player available on their board, but was quick to defend the decision by saying he was the best player left in his tier and said the draft did not go how they thought or had hoped it would go. I hope for the best but I've been down this road before with picking a project in the first round and a lot of times, 1st round projects seemingly don't work out so great.
After a mild and frustrating free agency, and after the bold move of cutting our best receiver, we needed to nail the first pick of the draft, and we did not. The draft didn't go according to how the Eagles had hoped to, so I beg the question, How is Marcus Smith any different than us deciding to keep Brandon Graham? Why didn't we pick Dennard or Verrett if we couldn't get the linebacker we truly wanted? And how is this not a reach?