Brandon Graham   DE   Michigan

TALENT BOARD

 Round 2


STRENGTHS

Brandon is an athletic and talented football player.  He does a great job playing in multiple fronts with his hand down at the college level.  He shows good quickness off the line when pass rushing and shows nice strength when defending against the run for the college level.  Brandon shows some leadership skills through his play on the field.  He plays with commendable effort on every play until the last whistle, which is not to be taken lightly if you are looking for good players in the draft.  He is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler with an excellent burst to the play.  He plays faster when he smells a sack or a tackle behind the line.  Brandon has multiple talents to play varied positions in different styles of defense.  I call him Brandon (The Stalker) Graham because he is like an animal that stalks its prey when he smells a possible tackle behind the line of scrimmage. 

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Currently, Brandon has to be considered a 'tweener for the next level.  He is not big enough or strong enough to be a DE in a 4-3 or a DL in a 3-4.  When he has his hand down in a 4-3, he struggles to get to the QB and can be handled easily because he lacks true pass rushing skills and 2nd moves.  If he goes to the combine and shows some LB skills, the perfect fit will be as an OLB or ILB in a 3-4 defense.  Unfortunately, because Brandon plays with his hand down all the time, I cannot say if he has enough LB skills to make that move. 

    

BOTTOM LINE

Now, before everyone gets their underpants in a twist, I do like this kid's talent and he just might be drafted in the first round; however, it will depend on his workouts at the combine.  I think he will be able to play and impact at the next level right away if he is drafted by a team with a smart defensive coordinator.  If he shows good LB skills, some team may want to change him over to an ILB in a 3-4, but I think OLB is most likely to be his best position.  Teams that run a 3-4 defense will rate Brandon higher than teams that run a 4-3 defense, which makes him a possible 1st rounder.  He can impact right away as a special teamer and as a specialty pass rusher until he learns his new position.  The truth is, I like Brandon's potential to play ILB in a 3-4 because of his strength, tackling ability and burst to the ball.  Brandon lacks that true "quick twitch" off the line a pass rusher needs from a three point stance for a 4-3 defense.  Brandon gets to the QB faster when he stunts inside.  Coming from the outside (unless he is playing DE in a 3-4), the kid just doesn't have that quickness and speed for the next level to impact.   It will all come down to Brandon's workouts to better predict in which round Brandon will be drafted.  He could be drafted anywhere in the first three rounds.  I like the way this kid plays, but his impact will depend on the defense in which he'll play at the next level. 

 

Drew Boylhart  1/10