Brandon Graham was NFL’s Sixth-Best Edge Rusher in 2016
When the Philadelphia Eagles traded up during the 2010 draft, Eagles fans were hoping for safety Earl Thomas. Andy Reid and his staff were hoping they landed a top pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end. During the Chip Kelly era, they were hoping to find a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker.
However, after going from 4-3 end to 3-4 linebacker and back to 4-3 end, the Eagles couldn’t have asked for much more from Brandon Graham this year. He was one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the NFL this season, NFL.com writer Matt Harmon writes.
According to Harmon, Next Gen Stats has Graham ranked sixth among edge rushers with 300 or more pass rush attempts in 2016 because even if he did not get to the quarterback, he was still causing problems and was a disruptive force.
It's been a curious career for Brandon Graham. He hasn't recorded more than 6.5 sacks in any season of his career, but he's always been a favorite among those who watch defensive players closely. Graham was always regarded as an ill-fit for the 3-4 defense Chip Kelly wanted to employ and that appeared to be the case after he had such a strong season in 2016. Back with his hand in the dirt, Graham's 4.01 average yards to the quarterback at time to throw or sack was in the 89th percentile among edge players this season. He might never be a sack master, but he brings consistent disruption to the pocket. Graham plays in a talented pressure unit that also includes interior maven Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry. Philadelphia needs to explore upgrading a cornerback corps that fell apart down the stretch and rendered their strong pass rush group moot.
The edge rushers ranked ahead of Jones are Von Miller, Brian Orakpo, Melvin Ingram, Derrick Morgan, and Whitney Mercilus. The three behind him were Vic Beasley, Jerry Hughes, and Ryan Kerrigan. This Graham recorded 5.5 sacks in 2016, while the top 10 as a whole averaged 9.75 sacks between them this season.