For the eighth straight season, the Philadelphia Eagles traded their first round pick. Similar to last year, the Eagles were able to get the guy they were going after all along. They traded their 24th pick and two third round picks to move to the 13th spot. With that the Eagles selected defensive end Brandon Graham from the University of Michigan.
There is not much arguing with this selection. Although I was a bit surprised the Eagles didn’t go after safety Earl Thomas, it was a safe and smart move to pick up Graham. He is a bit undersized, but that is how the Eagles tend to like their defensive ends. He is a hair under 6-2 and weighs in at 268 pounds. Graham describes himself as “a great pass- rusher, a disruptive run-stopper, a high-motor guy, a humble guy.”
Scouts are calling Graham the twin brother to Trent Cole. They are practically identical in stature and will most likely play opposite of each other next season. This could be the person the Eagles have been desperately searching for to take pressure off of Cole. Darren Howard was unable to fill the void last season, Juqua Parker is getting older, and Victor Abiamiri has yet to perform to his fullest potential.
During his tenure at Michigan, Graham recorded 29 ½ sacks and 56 tackles for losses. He is a great pass rusher, which is something the Eagles have been searching for. Just take the two games against Dallas as examples of that problem.
While acquiring Graham was a great decision, arguably the best part of the move was that the Eagles didn’t have to give up either of their second round draft picks. They held on to their 37th pick (from Washington in the McNabb trade) and 55th pick. Now the Eagles can focus on strengthening their secondary and potentially offensive line depending on who’s left in the draft. Going after a cornerback or safety is definitely their primary concern and the main notable names left on the board are safeties Taylor Mays (USC) and Nate Allen (South Florida) and corners Jerome Murphy (South Florida), Chris Cook (Virginia) and Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest).
Let’s see how it all unfolds on day two of the NFL draft.