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2 Days to the Draft: Michigan DE/OLB, Brandon Graham

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With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

Michigan's Brandon Graham is one of the highest ranked defensive players in this year's draft. He had a monster post-season with tremendous performances in bowl games and at the combine. While he's a little shorter than ideal, he has had great success at the college level of disrupting the backfield and making stops. He's fantastic against the run and usually reaches the play before the play reaches the line of scrimmage. However, it's unknown how he'd perform in coverage- he's not quick off the snap and may be too short to face tight ends. Despite his height, Graham has put up great numbers and is extremely experienced. Is he the Patriots OLB/DE of the future?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump. Scouting

Height: 6-1. Weight: 268.
Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
Combine 40 Time: 4.69.
Benchx225: 31.

Player Comparison: Dewayne White. White has a non-stop motor, is great in run support, and has similar size to Brandon Graham.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review Scouting

03/12/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT DEFENSIVE ENDS: Brandon Graham: Michigan, 6-1, 263, 1-2: Here is a player who proves you can't measure talent or predict productivity with a tape measure or stopwatch. Graham finds a way to overcome larger opponents with a relentless attack. He uses just enough speed and surprising power that comes from his understanding of using leverage from his 6-1 frame. Despite only average footwork, he shows enough awareness to help in underneath zone coverage. Graham became a vocal team leader in 2009 and won several All-America mentions after leading the nation in tackles for loss (26) and registering 10?? sacks. He followed that with a great performance in Senior Bowl practices and the game, where he was named MVP after collecting five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, Sports/USA TODAY Scouting

Brandon is a short thickly-built player with good athleticism. He has very good initial quickness as an edge rusher but doesn't have elite speed or range in pursuit. Brandon uses his hands well to control and leverage blockers versus the run as well as to counter as a pass rusher. Graham is the Wolverines' most disruptive defender and plays with a high motor. He doesn't have enough burst and lateral agility to excel as a stand up player in the NFL but may be effective in zone blitz schemes in limited coverage responsibilities. Brandon is a good football player who should be productive at the next level in the right defensive scheme.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review

Verdict: I see Graham as a sort of hybrid between Denver's Elvis Dumervil and our own Tully Banta-Cain. Dumervil is better at reaching the quarterback. Banta-Cain is better against the run. Neither players are good at coverage. I see Graham as a player who can generate pressure against the pass while also stopping all run plays in his direction. The only issue is that we just resigned TBC to a contract- Graham would just take over his role. While I think that Graham would be a great addition to our line backer core, he won't be given a new role. He'd have to take over for TBC (who only dropped back into coverage 5 times). Graham would meet our first goal of generating pressure and disrupting the backfield- the only way I could justify this pick is if we grabbed another top linebacker in the 2nd round who is more fit for being an all-around LB.