That Brandon Graham selection worked out very well for the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, in the end, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ decision to take Brandon Graham over future Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas turned out to be the right move after all. If you’re a Birds fan, you know the story well. If you aren’t, here’s the short version.
Philly traded up in 2010’s NFL Draft to the 13th-overall selection, and most draft pundits and football fans thought they were doing so to take Earl Thomas, the man many believed could fill a huge hole the team hadn’t been able to fill since Brian Dawkins left.
Instead, Andy Reid did what he did ninety percent of the time. He took someone who could play on the offensive or defensive line. Years later, it’s time to officially call the race. B.G. was the right choice for this Philadelphia Eagles team.
B.G.’s leadership for this Philadelphia Eagles team can’t be overlooked.
Earl Thomas is a seven-time Pro Bowl nod (2011–2015, 2017, 2019). Graham has never made the Pro Bowl. Thomas is a three-time First-team All-Pro (2012–2014) and a two-time Second-team All-Pro (2011, 2017). He’s also a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, and he’ll be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He didn’t knock the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands in Super Bowl 52 though. Graham, the author of what might be the most famous strip-sack in Super Bowl history, won’t make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he’s a shoo-in for the Eagles Hall of Fame.
As if that isn’t enough, here’s the kicker. Graham is in his 11th season and enjoying one of his best. Thomas. well, isn’t playing anywhere right now. At the time of this story being published, 11 weeks of the 2020 NFL season are in the books.
So far, he stuck his head in on 35 total tackles. He’s forced two fumbles. He has a fumble recovery to his credit. His seven sacks have him on pace to eclipse the 9.5 total quarterback takedowns in 2017. Following another tough loss in Week 11, he showed the leadership that he’s known for.
The team is struggling, despite being in first place in the NFC East. B.G. still believes in his guys, and following Philly’s loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, several locker-room leaders offered a rallying cry while speaking to the media. Graham’s was one of the most poignant.
"We have six games to do it. I do know that we have some fighters in here. We want to get this thing right. We talk about winners win and losers just figure out how to lose. We are not doing that. We are winners here. We always hold that high standard with what we have to get accomplished. We do not want to make excuses. We just did not get it done today."
Does anyone else feel like throwing some shoulder pads on? There’s a lot to criticize about this Eagles team, but B.G. doesn’t fall in that category.
He deserves to retire as an Eagle. He deserves to be extended after this season. 11 years in, he’s still one of the best players on this roster. If Brandon Graham doesn’t make the Pro Bowl at the end of the 2020 season, there needs to be an investigation.