During the 2010 season, Brandon Graham didn’t perform at the level everyone hoped he would. The Eagles made him their guy when they traded up to get him in the draft, and this set the bar very high.
To add to Graham’s disappointing 2010 campaign, he had his season cut short when he suffered a knee injury. He has finally returned to the practice field, and the big question is whether or not he’ll be able to make an impact on the 2011 season.
Graham is already at a bit of a disadvantage. The Eagles have two Pro Bowl defensive ends in their lineup, so he won’t be cracking the starting lineup unless there is an injury. At the same time, he hasn’t been able to get any reps under Jim Washburn’s new wide-nine scheme.
It seems Graham’s first day in the system didn’t go all that well, as Jason Babin reported that Washburn yelled at him. This isn’t that big of a surprise considering it’s his first day and the fact that Washburn seems to enjoy yelling in general.
However, getting Graham back should be beneficial for the Eagles defense if the young player can pick up the system. They’ve had a number of injuries at the position already, and Graham could add some solid depth.
Being as how they invested so much in Graham already, I think he’ll eventually get his fair share of opportunities to make an impact. I’m not sure how soon this will happen, as a lot will depend on the health of his knee and his ability to understand the system.
Graham has drawn a lot of comparisons to Trent Cole, and we’ve seen Cole play well in the system. We’ve also heard the term “high-motor” associated many times with Graham, and that’s a great characteristic to have in a scheme that requires you to attack quickly up the field.
I still have hope in Graham, and as long as he knee remains healthy, I think that he can add some positive depth on the line.