Brandon Graham is not a guy many Eagles fans had their eye on since most of us(myself included) were so fixated on secondary guys... So let's meet him.
First, can we agree that DE was a need? I didn't necessarily think it was as big a need as safety or corner, but it's clearly a need. How many years now have we clamored for a legit DE to play opposite Trent Cole? This was a need and it's at a premier position.
So, who is Brandon Graham. Well, he led the nation in tackles for a loss last year and is second all time in MIchigan history in sacks and TFLs. He had 29 1/2 sacks in 46 games. Scouts do peg him as a bit undersized and with short arms, but they love the fact that he plays low and is a true two way DE. A run stopper and a pass rusher. This is not one of Andy's "fastballs" this guy can play 3 downs. He even rushed from the DT position at times in college, something the Eagles will do with their DEs. The NY Times had this report on him
A leader, a four-year varsity player and one of the best pass rushers in the nation, Graham is the only player in Michigan history to win the team’s Bo Schembechler most valuable player award twice. His 26 tackles for a loss in 2009 were the best in the country, and, according to Michigan, 40.6 percent of his career stops came behind the line of scrimmage.
Andy Reid explained the pick.
I put a lot of value in guys who love to play the game and play relentless football and have the character you want. I also like defensive linemen that do a good job of making plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage and there weren't alot of guys better at it than this kid.
More reactions after the jump.
Immediately after the pick ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted.
Brandon Graham is the best pass rusher in this draft, My prediction: Graham will win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
SI.com more explained what happened rather than analyzed.
As a senior: All-Big Ten conference first team. Team captain voted MVP for the second consecutive season, first time a defensive player has done that. Started all 12 games at left defensive end and played on the punt return unit. Recorded a career-best 64 tackles and was fourth in the Big Ten and 14th nationally with 10.5 sacks. His 26 tackles for loss led the nation and tying for second on the school’s single-season list. Sack numbers: Had three games in his career with three sacks — against Notre Dame in 2007, Wisconsin and Michigan State in 2008. On the punt team: As a senior, he blocked two pruns and returned another blocked kick for a touchdown. At Senior Bowl: Was named the MVP after recording two sacks and a forced fumble.
Andy Reid apparently wanted to get up ahead of the Giants
"It was a sticky area right there," Reid said. So, Reid, who had been talking to Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels for weeks about possibly moving up, quickly got on the phone to Denver and offered Philadelphia's two third-round picks, plus the No. 24 pick in the first round, to jump ahead of the Giants and take Graham of Michigan.
"We wanted to keep our two second round picks," said Reid. The Dolphins had been asking for the Eagles 37th pick -- the so-called Donovan Pick -- which the Eagles got from the Redskins for Donovan McNabb. But the Eagles refused to part with that pick. When San Diego jumped up to Miami's slot and took a running back, Reid knew he had to make a move soon or lose out to Tom Coughlin and the Giants.
Reid said Graham, whom he compared to former Eagles Pro Bowl defensive end Hugh Douglas, was the only player Philadelphia considered worth the investment of the extra picks. Many people had speculated that the Eagles wanted to move up for safety Earl Thomas of Texas.
"When you have a good defensive line, that makes everybody on the defense better," said Reid, who has now moved up four times in the first round in his 12 drafts with the Eagles.