Ray Graham: Video Highlights for Former Pitt Running Back
Each draft has that player that doesn't get the same attention as others do in the weeks prior to the draft. While they may not be first- or second-round picks, they can be diamonds in the rough and go on to do great things. Tom Brady being taken in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft is proof of that.
Such is the possibility of Pitt running back Raymond Graham.
While Graham went undrafted, he could still find success after signing with the Houston Texans following the 2013 NFL Draft.
Ray Graham completed his collegiate career at the University of Pittsburgh in grand fashion. He earned All-Big East honors for the second consecutive year in 2012 after posting numbers of 1,042 rushing yards on 222 carries and 11 touchdowns. He added to his stats by catching 36 passes for 340 yards and two scores.
Graham broke school records set by LeSean McCoy and Tony Dorsett while at Pitt and if not for injury to his ACL, he could have been a top-tier draft pick instead of looking at the final round. The good news is he suffered the injury in 2011 and rebounded the following season by putting up the above numbers.
In order to get a better idea of who Ray Graham is, take a look at the compilation of videos featuring some of his highlights.
Ray Graham's Best Runs
This video features a variety of games in which Graham had great success. He mixes up speed, agility and strength to pick up big gains or score a touchdown. The opening run alone is a testament to what this young man is capable of doing on a football field.
He changes direction in an instant and is able to not only pick up the first down, but to also gain a significant amount of yards setting up his team inside the red zone. What is amazing is how well Graham can employ the spin technique and bounce off of defenders. The man is not easy to bring down, and when he is on his game, that can be a tall order.
Ray Graham vs. Rutgers 2011
This wasn't a dominating game by Ray Graham, but it was still a good one in terms of individual effort. He had 24 rushes for 165 yards and a score. While Rutgers isn't the most defensively imposing team in college football, it was still a good showing from the Pitt running back.
Pitt wasn't in this game, but that didn't stop Graham from doing his thing and getting a score in the fourth quarter.
He takes a handoff at the Pitt 30 and breaks away for a big run. He looks like he will score when a shoestring tackle brings him down inside the Rutgers five-yard line. On the next play, he bruises his way into the end zone using a great spin move and his legs to get through the defense.
Ray Graham vs. Iowa 2011
What needs to be taken from the first part of this clip is the footwork of Ray Graham. While he did not score a touchdown on the first handoff in the clip, he did manage to pick up some big yards, and most of that came by a combination of impressive use of his legs in deceiving the Iowa defense and having excellent field vision to find the open hole. Plus, he utilizes an outstanding spin move.
The video lacks any spectacular runs or scoring opportunities, but it allows a glimpse into the kind of player Graham can potentially be. He is a decent receiver, and once he catches a ball, he uses the same footwork to negotiate around defenders and pick up a few more yards.
Ray Graham vs. Notre Dame 2012, Part I
Last season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had one of the best defenses in the land. However, Ray Graham was able to find his spots, as evidenced by his big run at the beginning of the clip. The first 1:30 of the video doesn't show any scoring plays by Graham, but it offers another perspective on his running style.
He isn't afraid to cut back and change direction, using his legs and quick feet to change course. After seeing some of his pass-catching ability, we are given an opportunity to see him score, and he does so by running along the sideline, being careful to stay inbounds.
The rest of the clip is uneventful, as the Notre Dame defense keeps Graham in check; that is, until the halfway point of the same video.
Ray Graham vs. Notre Dame 2012, Part II
Graham receives the handoff and punches it up the middle, where a big hole awaits him. As he crosses into the second tier of the defense, he immediately changes direction and heads to the sideline, where he takes it upfield and deep into the red zone.
Later, Graham helps Pitt set up 1st-and-goal inside the five with some nifty moves that almost allowed him to reach pay dirt. Unfortunately, neither Graham nor his team were able to get the touchdown. The game was a close affair as Graham and the Panthers forced the Irish into overtime, but in the end they were defeated, as the Golden Domers cruised to an undefeated regular season and a spot in the national title game.
Ray Graham vs. Cincinnati 2012
The first part of the Pitt-Cincy game lacked any memorable plays from Graham, but he still manages to provide a little spark here and there. This clip features Graham using his awareness to bail out his quarterback and catch a shovel pass as he is about to be sacked.
Graham then takes the ball, and using a combination of skill and blocks, he is able to get his team close to the end zone for a 1st-and-goal. It seemed as of he had a touchdown the very next play, but it was called back on a holding penalty. In the end, Graham and company had to settle for the field goal.
It was this game that Graham picked up a huge run, rushing from the Pitt six-yard line to the Cincinnati 38 before being brought down.
Ray Graham vs. South Florida 2012
When the clip begins, it shows you the stats Graham put up against the South Florida Bulls in 2012. It was a dominating performance, as he carried the ball 26 times while gaining 263 yards. He would score twice in the game. Adding to his rushing effort, he caught four passes for 42 yards.
Graham demonstrates his versatility before the snap as the video shows him lining up on the outside and coming in motion, taking the ball on the handoff following the snap. He shows why USF had no answer for him as he used spin moves, quick feet, speed and power to run over, through and around the defense.
At the 3:00 and 3:30 marks of the clip, Graham shows excellent change in direction by going to the right side of the field and coming back to the other side. In both plays, he picks up big yards for the Panthers.
Of all of the videos on this slideshow, this one by far has Graham putting on a clinic and making a strong case for why he would be a valuable asset on an NFL roster.
This last video clip features a lot of the plays that put Ray Graham on the map in Pitt. There is a lot of potential in him, and if he can stay healthy and perform at the same level in the pros that he did while in college, he will be a draft day steal.
While there are some good moments in this video, the best one is arguably in the beginning of the clip when Graham is shown literally pushing a pile of defenders from South Florida several yards before being taken down.
Graham may not get the phone call until Round 7. He may not get drafted at all. But when the last day of the draft plays out, keep an eye out for him, because he could be making noise in the NFL very soon.