N.C. State Senior
Has very good speed and acceleration. It shows when he's able to get to the outside as a kickoff returner. He also has the second gear to run by the corner and get behind the defense for the big play downfield. Can be explosive after the catch due to his speed and ability to separate on slants and crossing routes. Shows some quickness to slip tackles and shows burst out of his cuts. Will extend to make the grab over the middle and has good hands. Does a nice job working back to his scrambling QB to help bail him out.
He's more of a straight-line route runner. Doesn't always show impressive ball skills, particularly on the deep ball. Needs to do a better job securing the ball after the catch, and his small frame works against him. He doesn't always look it in before he starts to make his move upfield. Physical corners and safeties can separate him from the ball easily when he goes over the middle or tries to make a grab in traffic. Gives only perfunctory effort as a blocker, and when he tries to make a cut block, he winds up grabbing and tackling the defenders legs. Can be a bit too patient at times as a kickoff returner and tends to only be effective when he can get outside.
Graham is a speedy playmaker that flashes potential to make big plays at the next level. He's not the biggest guy, and at times looks like a track guy playing wide receiver. But he has potential worth developing. But he just may not be the most polished or natural receiver. But he'll definitely be able to contribute on special teams immediately, which makes you optimistic he can get the development time he needs on offense. Had his best year as a senior, his first and only as a true starter.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/22) at Cincinnati: 10 targets, 9 rec., 180 yds (20.0 avg), 94 YAC (10.4 avg), 2 TDs, 1 drop, 1 fumble
(10/22) at Virginia: 4 tgt., 2 rec., 8 yds (4.0 avg), 2 YAC (1.0 avg), 0 TDs, 1 drop
(12/27) vs. Louisville: 9 tgt., 7 rec., 116 yds (16.6 avg), 61 YAC (8.7 avg), 1 TD, 0 drops
2011: 13 GP/12 GS, 46 rec., 757 yds, 16.5 avg, 7 TDs; 44 KOR, 22.4 avg, 0 TDs, 17 PR, 11.5 avg, 1 TD
2010: 13/1-25-316-12.6-4; 29-19.5-0; 19-8.1-1
2009: 7/3-12-129-10.8-1; 23-25.0-1; 15-10.4-0
2008: 13/6-16-251-15.7-0; 41-25.1-1; 15-8.2-0
- suffered stress fracture in leg in 2009, missing 5 games
Graham has potential to develop as a playmaker in the NFL. He sort of reminds me of that smaller, but fast vertical receiver that the Steelers have mined the past few years. A little bit of his game sort of reminds me of Mike Wallace, who was a player I did not think that highly of coming out of Ole Miss, but has become a really good NFL player. I don't think Graham is there, but I do think that like Wallace, in the right scheme he could become a really effective playmaker. I don't see him as a starter, but as a third or fourth option that can occasionally make those big plays, he could really work. I don't think he'll be an immediate playmaker like Wallace was entering the league, and it may take him the better part of two years to get his feet wet. I think Graham still needs work on his route-running, and his lack of ideal ball skills and size will make him less effective, particularly when it comes to making plays in traffic. I do think immediately he'll only really be asked to return kicks and punts, a role I think he should be capable in due to his big play potential. I don't expect him to be a big-time game-breaker there immediately, but he should be effective. And if he can get two or so years to develop and polish his game on offense, I see him developing into a capable role player. And again, he'll work best in schemes that like to throw the ball downfield and doesn't mind smaller receivers as long as they can run, which teams like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have somewhat cornered the market on in recent years. A better comparison for Graham than Wallace, is ex-Steeler Nate Washington, who Wallace replaced. Another comparison in terms of his potential is a player like Chicago's Johnny Knox. Like those two, in a scheme that is willing to exploit his vertical potential, he can be a very good role player with the potential to develop into a starter. Vertical offenses that are going to make ample use of 3 and 4-wide receivers should look hard at him. More than likely, he is a guy that can catch 30-40 passes most years, but probably not a whole lot more.
Johnny Knox, Bears.
Graham definitely can add some playmaking ability to the Falcons lineup. Like Douglas however he probably won't be the most consistent deep threat due to his lack of size. But he'll definitely add a vertical element in the slot similar to Douglas. If the Falcons lost Douglas, Graham potentially can come in and with a year or two's development can fill that same niche in the slot. The positive for Graham is that he can also push Eric Weems as a return threat immediately. And while he is probably not going to be as consistent as Weems, he offers more big play potential because he's a few steps faster. And when he gets daylight, he's a threat to take it to the house. That's a nice asset to have both on special teams and offense, which makes Graham a good fit as a No. 4 receiver, but with the potential to be a feared weapon down the line as a No. 3 in Atlanta.
Purely as a receiver, Graham is probably a fifth or sixth round pick because he can add depth but is probably not polished enough to be a major contributor right away. But his abilities as a returner probably bump him up at least a round or so that I can definitely understand someone taking him in the fourth. Unless a team was really desperate for a return man, I would probably say taking him in the late third is a bit of a reach just because I'm not convinced he's going to be a top return guy right away.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
After Catch: 7.5
Body Control: 5.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.