Why Brandon Graham Was the Philadelphia Eagles' Best Draft Choice

Jeff KerrContributor IApril 29, 2010

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 21:  Brandon Graham #55 of the Michigan Wolverines moves off the line of scrimmage during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 21, 2009 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohio State won the game 21-10. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

No, the Eagles did not select Earl Thomas with the 13th pick.

The Eagles clearly needed to bolster their secondary in this draft. Without selecting a defensive back, the Eagles did improve their secondary by selecting Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham.

Graham was a controversial selection to most Eagles fans, but not to me. Andy Reid made the best selection in the first round of the 75th NFL draft, dramatically improving his pass rush.

Graham is the most NFL-ready player in this 2010 draft class loaded with defensive talent (yes, that includes Eric Berry). The 6'2", 268-pound terror gives the Eagles a legitimate pass-rushing threat opposite sack master Trent Cole.

Graham’s ability to get to the quarterback fills a major hole in Sean McDermott’s defensive scheme. With Graham, the Eagles can blitz more frequently and have a better chance of getting to the quarterback. The secondary immediately improves because the Eagles will get to the quarterback and prevent the secondary from being on their toes every play.

The Eagles plan to use Graham in their defensive end rotation with Juqua Parker and Darryl Tapp, with Graham likely to become the starter around midseason.

Brandon Graham will succeed in the NFL because he has proven himself against the best offensive linemen in the Big Ten Conference the past four seasons.

Graham’s collegiate career at Michigan speaks for itself. He is the first player ever at the University of Michigan to win the prestigious Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player award twice (he has more than Michigan legend Charles Woodson).

During his four-year career, Graham posted 138 tackles (56 for a loss), 29.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and three pass breakups. Graham is second in school history in sacks, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles.

The star defensive end was double-teamed all of last season and still managed to post 64 tackles (26 for loss), 10.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery en route to becoming an Associated Press second team All-American.

Graham’s knowledge of the game and his ability to get to the quarterback will help the Eagles as they usher in the post-Donovan McNabb era. He makes his teammates on the defensive line better, and he will be a nightmare for NFL quarterbacks for years to come.