Philadelphia Eagles 2020 training camp preview: DE Brandon Graham

Brandon Graham #55, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Brandon Graham #55, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

B.G. has been the quintessential Philadelphia Eagles star for a decade.

It feels like it was just yesterday when the Philadelphia Eagles selected Brandon Graham with the 13th pick of 2010’s draft. What were you doing ten years ago? Whatever it was, it was probably something completely different from what you’re doing now. The point is ten years is a long time to do anything, and it’s been a while since Graham wasn’t part of the “Birds” roster.

Heck, Trent Cole was still playing then. Michael Vick was the quarterback. Yes, it’s been a long journey for “55” in Philadelphia.

Players have come and gone, but other than Fletcher Cox, who joined the team one year after Graham did, and DeSean Jackson, who left and later came back, Graham has been the only constant for the Eagles over that stretch. It isn’t a coincidence that he’s remained with the organization for so long. Ever since he was drafted, he’s been a force at the line of scrimmage.

Come on. Who can’t forget the play that helped Philadelphia secure the victory back in Super Bowl 52? Take a look if you need a refresher.

Nobody can play forever. We all know that. As a matter of fact, Pro Football Focus (PFF) hinted at some decline in Graham’s play last season. He posted nine sacks, but he earned his lowest  PFF overall grade, 84.8, since 2015, when he earned an 82.8.

The Eagles may want to monitor his snap count in 2020. Even if there’s plenty of gas in the tank, Philly should err on the side of caution. After all, we aren’t talking about a youngling anymore. At the ripe age of 32, B.G. could be closing in on retirement.

Whether age was the culprit or this was just an anomaly, PFF still ranked him 15th out of 1012 players at his position, so it’s not as if the veteran was a slouch. Even with a “drop” in production last season, he was still a disruption, accounted for 47 hurries, 11 hits, and one forced fumble.

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What should the Philadelphia Eagles expect from Brandon Graham in 2020?

The Eagles will likely rely heavily on Graham this upcoming season. While the interior of the Eagles defensive line will feature a solid rotation, the edges are a different story. Former first-round pick Derek Barnett had 6.5 sack and 16 hits, both career highs, last season, but at this point, it’s uncertain if he can replicate those numbers in 2020. For that reason, it’s unlikely that Barnett will take playing time away from Graham as both figure to start, albeit on opposite ends of the formation.

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Graham is capable of making plays when the game is on the line, but father time is undefeated. The decline could be nearing, and whether that decline comes this year or in 2025, opposing offenses can’t take the veteran defensive end for granted. Wouldn’t it be great to see Graham make a high-stakes play and seal another Super Bowl victory for the Eagles before his time with the “Birds” comes to a close?