Tennessee Titans Prospect Profile: Brandon Graham

Earlier in this series on defensive end prospects, we looked at Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul.  Today we shift our focus to defensive end Brandon Graham.
 
Overview: Graham is an overachiever who was very productive at Michigan. With little talent around him, he was frequently double-teamed but still managed to be a disruptive force. Graham has wreaked havoc in opponents’ backfields. Not a great athlete, but a tough, physical player who gets results. 

 
Measurables:  
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 268 
Arm Length: 32¼
Hand Size: 9⅞
40-yard time: 4.71
10-yard split: 1.61
Bench reps: 31

Pass Rush: Relentless pass rusher with a quick first step. Can jump the snap with a very fine burst. Good short-area quickness.  Does not excel as an edge rusher, has difficulty turning the corner against the better tackles. Uses his low center of gravity and balance to get under the tackle and gain leverage. Uses his strong hands very well. Closes on the quarterback quickly. Can rush from either end. Had 10½ sacks last season.

Run Defense: Led the nation with 26 tackles for loss in 2009. Stands his ground at the point of attack. Also uses his quickness and technique to consistently defeat blockers. Uses his hands well, either to disengage or to control and leverage his blocker. Can move down the line with good lateral quickness. Relentless in pursuit with a lot of range. Strong, powerful tackler who wraps up well.   

Size/Strength/Athleticism: Strong and stout. Lacks ideal height and length. Very strong hands. Good quickness but not great speed. I noted in the article on Pierre-Paul that he was more of an athlete than a football player at this point. Graham is in many ways just the opposite, he’s more of a football player than he is an athlete.

Miscellaneous: Outstanding technique. Excellent use of hands in both pass rush and run defense. Plays even lower than his 6′ 1″ height would suggest, using his lack of height to his advantage and creating great leverage. Another guy with a very strong motor who plays hard from snap to whistle. Is a smart player with good instincts. Very competitive, physical and hard working. Extremely productive. Was virtually unblockable during Senior Bowl week. Has drawn comparisons to LaMarr Woodley, even though he will probably be a 4-3 DE instead of a 3-4 OLB. 

Weaknesses: Much shorter than the average defensive end. Short arms. Does not have top tier speed. Not especially fluid. Not a great athlete. Could have difficulty standing up as a 3-4 OLB. Minor character concerns, was once charged with disorderly conduct but charges were later dismissed.

My take: Graham’s build reminds me of two very good nose tackles, former Chief and Oiler Curley Culp and former Giant Jim Burt. That was a much different era (two eras really), and though Graham might have been a NT then, he’s at least 60 pounds too light to do so in today’s game. The point is that Graham is a guy you look at and say, “now that’s a tough football player.” He could play in any era. Whether he plays as a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB, he’ll be a football player who will be a great asset for the team that selects him. While he would be a great asset to the Titans as well, he might not be what they’re looking for as an edge rusher.

Disclaimer: This profile was compiled from watching tape and from various scouting reports; I have not seen Graham in person. 

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