Graham, 28, had the best season of his career in 2016. He finished the year with 5½ sacks and probably should have had more. According to ProFootballFocus, he had 17 quarterback hits and 59 quarterback hurries this year. PFF ranked him as the best 4-3 defensive end in the NFL.
In addition to his ability as a pass rusher, Graham forced two fumbles, recovered one, and he was the Eagles' best end in the run game. He finished the year with 59 tackles.
For those who have followed Graham's NFL career, you will recognize this news as both validation and redemption. It was not long ago that Brandon Graham labeled himself a "bust."
Also worth noting is Brandon Graham is not currently going to the Pro Bowl. This anomaly largely fits with the trajectory of Brandon's college and NFL reputation, in which Michigan and Eagles fans recognize his great play, but others not so much.
Being named an All-Pro after not making it of the Pro Bowl is a fitting way from Graham to cap off a stellar season. His outstanding play may not have made him popular among fans of other teams that voted for Pro Bowlers, but it definitely made an impression on those who watch the game more closely.
**We all hope Brandon Graham's 2017 prediction at the 0:37 mark in the video at the top of the main csnphilly article comes true**
The Eagles- focused Birds 24/7 blog had a nice piece up this week on Brandon Graham's progress this year after signing a new contract with the Eagles in the off-season. A lot of people thought he would be gone last year after the Eagles switched to a 3-4 a few years ago but Chip Kelly really liked him and made it a priority to re-sign him. After a couple of tough years of injuries, scheme switches, and other chaos around him, he seems to have really come into his own as an NFL player.
As a UM fan who follows the Eagles, it's nice to see Philly sportswriters and fans who have (ahem) high expectations recognize BG as a great player.
Brandon Graham continues to shed the "Bust" label that he even self-imposed on himself at one time. Prior to this NFL season, there was talk Graham would be traded, and that his NFL future hinged on his ability to play exclusively 4-3 end.
In a rotation heavy defense, in which he plays typically less than 40% of the Eagles' defensive snaps, Graham has so far put together an impressive year. Through Week 10, he shares the NFL lead(!) in Forced Fumbles, with 4. He is also tied for 19th in Tackles-for-Loss, with 9. His 4.5 sacks aren't too shabby either.
As we struggle through this disappointing Michigan season, I hope many of you find encouragement in Brandon's career resurrection. He has adapted to a 3-4 OLB scheme many, including himself, thought would never quite fit.
I saw the news in a tweet from ESPN's Trey Wingo @wingoz that Jason Babin, a nominal starter for the Eagles at DE has been released. As someone who has football on the TV in the background often, I noticed that BG was getting a lot of playing time last night, and in key situations too. You'd have to think he's going to get the majority of the reps going forward as the tire fire that is the Eagles (can I even say especially the Eagles' D?) turns into job auditions for next year.
Here's hoping BG can win himself a starting job for next year.
Babin has seen his playing time decrease as the season as gone on. After playing close to every snap in the season opener, Babin saw just a little over half of the snaps against the Carolina Panthers last night. Brandon Graham, the team's former 1st round pick, has started to take snaps from Babin.
Michigan Football 101
Welcome to Michigan Football 101
! We are now counting down the days until Michigan and Alabama throw down in Dallas at the Cowboys Classic! What an experience it is going to be! Until that day, we will take a look at why Michigan Football is so good. In this series, similar to College Football 101, there will be:
- Top 40 current players
- Top 10 coaches
- Top 15 games
- Top 25 players
- Top 10 Miscellaneous
Here we go...
101. Brandon Graham
Brandon Graham went to Crockett Vocational Tech (Detroit) in high school. He started on the defensive line as a sophomore and made honorable mention that year. As a junior, he was a linebacker, offensive guard, kicker and punter. He led his team to the state championship but fell up short. Not only did Brandon have 91 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and made the All-State team, but he had a 3.8 GPA. As a senior, he had a similar year leading his team to the championship but losing once again. Graham was a captain in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and won Player of the Year in the state of Michigan. The next year, he played for the University of Michigan!
Although Brandon Graham was recruited as a linebacker, he switched to defensive end where he backed up a certain someone whom we might read about later in Michigan Football 101-- LaMarr Woodley. Graham played a little defensive tackle as well. Before the 2007 season, he got in a little bit of trouble with the law. Once he cleared all of that out, and sadly after the loss to you know who and Oregon, he became the starter. He recorded 3.5 sacks against Notre Dame in his first game as a starter. By the end of his sophomore year, he finished 7th in the Big Ten in sacks and forced fumbles.
Unfortunately, Brandon had to deal with Rich Rod. Even though Michigan had a terrible record both years, Brandon Graham did everything he could in his junior an senior seasons at Michigan. Even though it was a bad year, there was one bright game-- or bright 2nd half I should say-- in 2008. I will say it was the best game I attended in the Rich Rod era. Michigan was down by 19 at halftime and came back to win thanks to 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles from Graham. By the end of his junior year, Brandon had 10 sacks and 20 TFL, which led the Big Ten. In his senior season, Brandon Graham had 26 tackles for loss and won the Big Ten Player of the Year. To top his career off at Michigan, he was a first team All-American. He also won the MVP in the Senior Bowl with 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forces fumble.
Currently, Graham is playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was drafted 13th overall in the 2010 Draft. He recorded his first NFL sack against the Lions and hurt his knee against the Cowboys late in his rookie season. He underwent surgery and played a bit towards the end of last season. He should be good to go this year.
Brandon Graham was stuck in an unfortunate time at Michigan, but still came out a Michigan Man. He was recruited and coached by Lloyd Carr and learned a lot in his career. He was the leader of the Michigan defense and has carried on his talents to the NFL. Best of luck to him, and GO BLUE Brandon!
Here are a few video links of Brandon Graham to check out:
Check back in tomorrow to see what #100 is. Only 101 days until we BEAT BAMA!