Brandon Graham – Michigan
Scout: David Syvertsen
Pro Potential: LaMarr Woodley – Pittsburgh Steelers
Pass Rush/Closing Ability/Moves and Counter Moves: Tremendous pass rusher that gets the most out of himself. Very strong when attacking the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle. Top tier closing ability because of his short area explosion. Can chase within the pocket as quick as any defensive lineman in the country. Does not excel as a pure edge rusher, lacks that second gear to get around a good pass blocker.
Pursuit/Lateral Movement/Agility: Moves down the line very well, attacks the inside gaps with plenty of power while maintaining the balance to get to the ball carrier. Is not as stiff as one would think considering how stout of a build he has.
Quickness/Explosion: Fires out low and fast, gets in to the blocker right away. Can jump a snap with consistency, giving him the initial position advantage.
Run Defend/Recognition: Makes a lot of tackles near or behind the line of scrimmage. Does a nice job of keeping a shoulder open and gravitating towards the ball carrier. Has the quickness, strength, and technique to beat single and double teams against the run with consistency. Totaled 45 tackles for loss over the past two seasons.
Size/Length/Hand Size: Lacks the height and length that the ideal defensive end prospect has. Very stout, powerful body that holds 260+ pounds comfortably.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks: Can get off a single blocker with ease. His natural leverage advantage and his low center of gravity when engaged makes him incredibly difficult for a blocker to lock on to.
Tackling: Powerful tackler that wraps up well. Sends a violent jolt to the ball carrier and usually brings him down right away. Lunges at the right time and gets the maximum power out of his body.
Technique/Hand Use/Leverage: Overcomes the lack of top notch physical tools with impeccable technique. Has the best hands among the defensive ends in this class, very strong grip that controls blockers. Has the natural leverage advantage as a result of being 6’1, but plays even lower. Really makes the blocker get low, giving Graham the strength advantage. Low base with a flat back and arms moving upward.
Versatility: Has played left and right defensive end, equally effective at both positions. Does not have enough experience standing up to say he can play outside linebacker at the next level. May not have the fluidity in space to play anything other than defensive end in a 4-3.
Final Word: It is almost scary to line up all of the similarities to former Wolverin LaMarr Woodley when breaking down Graham’s game. Woodley tutored Graham when the two were teammates and it appears that Graham really took in what was being preached to him. He lacks the long arms and top tier speed that most scouts look for in a pass rusher, but Graham may very well be the best defensive end in this class when all is said and done. Players like him are hard to look past because of the consistency and reliability when it comes to wrecking havoc in the opposing backfield. Graham’s 45 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks over the past two years despite seeing several double teams because of a lack of talent around him speaks volumes about him as a football player. He is an overachiever that will produce at the next level, as he will be one of the safest selections in the draft. His fit in the 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker may not be there as it is with Woodley, but Graham has proven those that doubt his ability wrong over and over again.