NFL Draft Spotlight: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan

by Cory J. Bonini on April 20, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Michigan Wolverines defensive end Brandon Graham is coming off a superb senior season. He registered 64 total tackles and 10.5 sacks (for the second straight year). Graham finished his college career with 29.5 career sacks. He figures to be a lock for the first round in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Strengths

  • Strength - understands leverage and is powerful for his size
  • Relentless motor
  • Strong punch for disengaging blockers
  • Improved his leadership as a senior
  • Strong enough to make arm tackles
  • Plays the run well - stays home and isn't reckless
  • Moves around some (five-technique in passing situations)

Weaknesses

  • Size: 6-foot-2, 268 pounds
  • Can be overwhelmed by bigger blockers and taken out of the play
  • Short arms (30 1/2 inches)
  • Lacks elite speed and burst
  • Weak in coverage and doesn't backpedal well
  • His scheme versatility is in question. He may not be able to function as well if moved to outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.
  • Questionable character after failing to show in court after receiving a citation for disorderly conduct for playing music too loud; charges were eventually dropped.
  • Lack of upside, limited physically

Expected draft placement

Graham offers a lot to like, but he is probably going to be drafted as a hybrid pass rusher to a 3-4 team, and we feel that may be a poor fit. He reminds us of a slower Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts). Graham isn't as disruptive as Mathis is, largely due to Graham's lack of elite speed, but in a Tampa 2 system the former Wolverine could be a beast as a defensive end.

Here's the fun part: The highest we realistically see Graham going is No. 12 to the Miami Dolphins, and the lowest is the New Orleans Saints at No. 32. Other possibilities along the way include the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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