Two years ago, the Eagles selected defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th overall pick in the draft.
Two years later, the Eagles have Trent Cole and Jason Babin and they devoted a second-round pick to another pass rusher, Vinny Curry of Marshall.
Graham hasn’t had a sack since November 2010. He suffered a serious knee injury the following month, he needed microfracture surgery, and he appeared in only three games last season.
But he isn’t down in the dumps, any more. “I just can’t wait [for this season] because everybody’s opinion will change — even though they’ll still say what they want to say. What I do on the field will speak for itself,” Graham tells Geoff Mosher of the News Journal.
First, Graham has to get on the field. Cole and Babin are the starters, Curry is the newcomer, and guys like Darryl Tapp are still on the depth chart.
Graham thinks he still has the faith of the coaching staff. “They know I’m working,” Graham said. “They see it’s important to me. I just can’t wait to go out there and show them how much this season means to me.”
This offseason, Graham has dropped 20 pounds, from 285 to 265. And G.M. Howie Roseman says that the addition of Curry doesn’t mean Graham is on the outs.
“I don’t see Brandon Graham needing any more motivation that he already has. He knows what’s on the line for him,” Roseman said. “He seems incredibly focused to all of us and in great shape. And he’s a talented guy and he’s healthy and that’s important.”
It’s more important that Graham begin to fulfill the potential that made him the 13th overall pick in the draft. Especially as the man taken two picks later — Jason Pierre-Paul — becomes one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, for one of the Eagles’ biggest rivals. And that’s all the more reason for the powers-that-be to give Graham every opportunity to develop.