Brandon Graham aging like a fine wine with the Philadelphia Eagles

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Brandon Graham
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham (55) celebrates a turnover in the first half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on November 01, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

There have been 1.6 billion people born, give or take, since Brandon Graham was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. To these kids, who range from zero to 11 years old, they don’t know a world where BG isn’t a member of the Eagles, let alone when he was blocking folks on Twitter for calling him a bust and quasi-demanding that Howie Roseman trade him to the Miami Dolphins for Oregon product Dion Jordan.

And yet, at some point down the line, Brandon Graham will no longer be a member of the Eagles; he’ll hang up his cleats for good, take off his shoulder pads for the very last time, and prepare for the next act of his life, be that in the football peripheral or away from the game entirely.

Whether he plays three more months or three more years, Brandon Graham has more snaps behind him than he has in front of him and fortunately, that fact doesn’t appear lost on the first-round pick out of Michigan. No, after missing all but two games of the 2021 NFL season with a torn Achilles, Graham has returned to the field with a new lease on his remaining football life, averaging just 41 percent of the team’s defensive snaps as a non-starter – his first season as a regular non-starter since 2015 – but playing like it’s 2017 all over again.

Hmm… did something good happen at the end of the 2017 NFL season?

The Philadelphia Eagles are benefiting from a leaner, meaner Brandon Graham

Brandon Graham
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham (55) celebrates a turnover in the first half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on November 01, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

When Brandon Graham took the field against the Washington Commanders in Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season, he was like a hunter stocking his prey. He knew the innate idiosyncrasies of his target – five years of weekly practices will do that after all – and when the time came to strike, Graham shot off the line with a ruthless aggression unmatched by Washington’s offensive linemen.

27 snaps and 2.5 sacks later, Brandon Graham turned in a performance worthy of being named Week 3’s Defensive Player of the Year, marking the first time in his 12 professional seasons where he was acknowledged with the honor.

Whether rushing inside or out, from the outside linebacker spot or as a base defensive end, Graham has been effective against the pass, rock solid against the run, and the perfect veteran force who can provide a strong presence both in the rotation and in the locker room.

 

“He lights up the room,” Nick Sirianni told Dave Spadaro. “That’s just the personality that he has – always smiling, always in an upbeat mood. You want to be around people like that and there aren’t many of them out there. Brandon is one of a kind, so to have him back lifts up everybody. He is one of the leaders of this team because of the example he sets every day.”

Can Brandon Graham keep up his sack-per-game season or at least crack into the regular season double-digit club for the first time in his career? Or will Graham’s “Last Ride” be more about the intangibles he brings to the team than the individual numbers that serve as the cherry on top of an incredible career? Either way, for BG, his legacy in South Philly is set; his jersey will be sold in the Pro Shop forever, his number will one day hang from the rafters of the Linc, and he’ll never have to pay for a meal in the 215 again. Now all that’s left to do is put his head down and get back to work while there’s still work to be done.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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