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 Post subject: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Brandon Graham - DE - Michigan
Height: 6'1
Weight: 268
40 Time: 4.72
Projected: 2nd

Positives

- 3 Year starter who has shown improvement every year
- Very athletic
- Great bulk
- Has a quick first step
- Elite use of leverage
- Is strong enough to beat bigger OT's with the bull rush
- Quick around the edge and can easily take advantage of slower OT's
- Has good technique and knows what he's doing
- Hold up well against the run
- Recognizes plays quickly and can beat the ball carrier to the spot
- Tremendous hustle player and will never stop before the whistle
- Was originally recruited to play LB so he has experience working as a LB
- Great football player and leader

Negatives

- Is short and will likely measure in at 6'1
- Will most likely play LDE in the NFL
- Doesn't have the straight line speed and/or coverage abilities to excel at OLB in the 3-4
- Should be a consistent player in the NFL but won't "wow" you by leading the league in sacks
- Had some weight issues in the past but it appears to be behind him
- Won't deflect many balls at the line of scrimmage

Overview

Brandon Graham is one of my favorite players in this years draft class. Some may question his height, athleticism, and how he will translate to the NFL. Bottom line is that Graham is a football player that will find away to succeed. He has been very productive in college going up against some of the top OT's in college. He makes up for his lack of height with his elite use of leverage. He gets under the pads of the OT and can push him straight into the QB. He may not run a fast 40 but that doesn't mean that he isn't athletic. His best fit would be in the 4-3 at LDE and would be a consistent player for a long time in the NFL.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

STRENGTH: 4.0
QUICKNESS: 4.0
PASS RUSH: 4.0
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
RECOGNITION: 4.0
MOTOR: 4.5

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 Post subject: Re: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:50 am 
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Brandon Graham
6-1/268
Michigan Senior

PROS: Has a quick first step and that closes quickly on the quarterback. Shows good ability as a bull rusher and uses hands well to get off blocks in space. He can get leverage vs. the run due to his upfield burst. Does a nice job shooting gaps and can make plays in the backfield. Has a good motor.
CONS: Doesn't always show the speed to consistently turn the corner. Needs to improve his recognition vs. the run. Sometimes lacks the killer instinct to go hard after the ball all the time.
OVERVIEW: He's an undersized, but productive defensive end that was one of the few bright spots on bad Michigan defenses the past two years. He has the athleticism and potential to move to linebacker, but he's a natural end.
NFL FORECAST: Graham needs to be coached up some. If he can, he'll be a productive NFL defensive end. He's the type of player that I think would probably take well to the hard-coaching of Bill Kollar. I'm not sure however that Graham is going to be a top pass rusher. I think he'll be good, but I think he's probably closer to Alex Brown than Dwight Freeney. He could play outside linebacker, as well and wouldn't be completely miscast there, but his impact will be sooner if he stays on the line. His lack of size really doesn't hurt him because he does a nice job playing the run. So he should be able to contribute as a starter very early in his career. He's going to be a good NFL player, just not sure he'll be a great NFL player.
ATL FORECAST: Graham is the type of player that the Falcons like. He's fairly polished for a college end, usually plays hard, and I think would get the sort of coaching he needs here in Atlanta to become a better player. The problem is whether or not he'll be the impact pass rusher down the road. He'll definitely contribute right off the bat in Atlanta as a solid situational pass rusher. He could potentially land a starting job by the end of his rookie year, as he can play either side of the line. He should definitely be a full-time starter by his second season and should be productive in that role, but I'm not sure he can carry the pass rush much like other top guys can do. He'll be a good player, but not sure he's a true difference maker like Abraham was in his younger days.
VALUE: Graham is a nice first round pick, but probably should be taken in the late stages of the round. Taking him before the Top 25 would probably be a bit of a reach even for a 3-4 team.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

STRENGTH: 3.5
QUICKNESS: 4.0
PASS RUSH: 4.0
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
RECOGNITION: 4.0
MOTOR: 4.0

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 Post subject: Re: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:31 am 
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Pros: Good quickness off the ball, athleticism and strength. Graham can get off the ball quickly especially when he knows it is a passing situation and he can pin his ears back and go. He shows a good speed rush and has good edge speed, especially for a LE prospect. Graham probably has the best hand usage of any defensive end in this draft class and that helps him shed blocks very effectively and it helps him avoid getting blocked by offensive lineman when rushing the passer. He also shows the ability to dip his shoulder to get under the offensive lineman’s pads to get around the corner to hurry the QB or get a sack. He also has a good burst to get around a block or to close on the quarterback for a sack. Graham is also very good against the run. He plays with good leverage naturally because he is a smaller player but it maximizes his strength. He works very well down the line and flows to the ball well. He is a good tackler and flashes some pop as a hitter when he has time to gain momentum to lay the hit. He also knows his assignments and rarely loses contain on a play when that is what is asked of him. On top of all that Graham has one of the best motors of any defender in this draft class and just does not stop coming until the whistle is blown. He also has a great work ethic and is determined to get better. He was a team leader on Michigan’s defense to boot.

Cons: He is undersized to play defensive end, especially left end. His height and arm length are not ideal and that could hurt him when going up against right tackles who are bigger than him, have longer arms and are stronger than some players he went up against in college. He could potentially be engulfed by larger offensive lineman at the next level, especially when they run right at him. He doesn’t have ideal quickness off the ball and edge speed, and his jump off the snap is inconsistent at times. He is best when he knows when it is a passing down, but other times he gets off the line slower. He is a good tackler but at times will attempt a tackle when he is out of control and whiff on it or slide off the ballcarrier. And outside of a speed rush and a bull rush he really doesn’t have any well developed pass rush moves. I believe he has flashed a spin move when I have seen him, but it is definitely not well developed. He needs to improve in this area to make sure he is an effective pass rusher in the NFL.

Overall: Brandon Graham is a guy that a lot of people don’t see eye to eye on. One person will love him because of his disruptiveness in college, his pass rushing ability, his polished fundamentals and because of his fantastic motor. But one other person will critique him for being short, having short arms and not having great edge speed or quickness off the ball. The critiques on Graham are legitimate, but football players with work ethics and motors like Graham rarely fail in the NFL, and when you draft them you know damn sure that they are going to get the most out of their God-given abilities. That is why I think Graham will have a long NFL career. Does he have Pro-Bowl potential? Not really. I don’t think he will be a productive enough pass rusher as far as sack totals go to ever get serious Pro-Bowl consideration at left end. I think Graham will be a 5-8 sack per season type player at left end. That might not seem that impressive, but most teams don’t have a player who can rush the passer consistently at left end, so 5-8 sacks a season from that position would help tremendously. On top of that, Graham very routinely flushes QB’s out of the pocket once he gets the edge, and if he doesn’t do that he routinely keeps fighting and finds his way to the QB. His effort, motor and hustle will get him sacks and hurries that other defenders won’t get, and that is why I like him so much as a prospect. He won’t be a great player in the NFL, but he will be a good one and he will be a reliable one. You know what you are getting with Brandon Graham, and that is a good pass rusher, a good run defender and a player with a great motor, work ethic and good leadership capability.

Projection: Top 25: I think the Falcons will take him at #19 overall unless Derrick Morgan or Sean Weatherspoon make it that far. If they don’t select him I don’t think he will slide past New England, Green Bay or Arizona.

STRENGTH: 3.5
QUICKNESS: 4.0
PASS RUSH: 4.0
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
RECOGNITION: 4.0
MOTOR: 4.5

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