Johnson, Graham Make NFL’s Top 30 Players Over 30
NFL.com has two Philadelphia Eagles players in their top 30 players over the age of 30, with right tackle Lane John coming in at No. 26 and defensive end Brandon Graham at No. 24.
Johnson, 31, is coming off an injury-filled season that limited him to just seven games last season while battling a knee injury and ankle surgery that ended his 2020 season.
The assignment shifted significantly in the first season since Johnson turned 30 (in May of 2020), with the Eagles moving into rebuild mode after a three-year run as NFC East contenders. Johnson began 2020 trying to help squeeze more life out of the Carson Wentz-Doug Pederson competitive window; he enters 2021 trying to smooth the transition to the Nick Sirianni era. One of Sirianni's main tasks is to decide if Jalen Hurts is the quarterback he wants to roll with in the future, but that will only really be possible if Johnson, who was limited by injuries to seven games last season, can help recharge the offensive line and keep Hurts clean. A strong campaign would also do wonders for Johnson personally, either by cementing his status as a cornerstone of Philly's future or boosting his attractiveness to potential future employers down the road.
Since being drafted No. 4 overall in 2013, Johnson has consistently been one of the top right tackles in football.
As for Graham, the 33-year-old has yet to show signs of slowing down, making his first Pro-Bowl appearance in 2020.
Graham had eight sacks last season and 13 tackles for loss.
Despite seeing a decline in his snap totals, Graham's per-play impact remains extremely high. Last season, the veteran was one of just two players (T.J. Watt) to have a stuff percentage over 4 percent and a disruption rate of at least 12 percent, per Next Gen Stats (min. 300 pass rushes and 300 run snaps). His efficiency and effectiveness against both the run and pass helped him earn the first Pro Bowl nod of his 12-year career. While Graham has embraced taking on a mentorship role in Philly this offseason, don't think that means he's planning to hang 'em up just yet. Folks tried to write him off after his first few seasons, and look how that turned out.
The veteran defensive end has 16.5 sacks in his last two seasons and has been one of the most reliable players since being drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Michigan.