Brandon Graham has eye-opening comments about Haason Reddick trade

Graham remains optimistic about the state of Philadelphia's pass rush.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Brandon Graham will be back with the Philadelphia Eagles for another season, but Haason Reddick won't be after he was traded to the New York Jets late last month. Reddick had 27 sacks during his two seasons with the Eagles, and his ability to pressure the quarterback will definitely be missed in Philadelphia.

However, Graham is optimistic about Philadelphia's pass rush moving forward, despite the loss of Reddick. When asked about it recently, Graham pointed to an increased role for Nolan Smith and the potential to add in the draft as two main positives, in addition to the presence of guys like Bryce Huff and Josh Sweat.

"I'm feeling good because we still haven't done the draft yet," Graham said. "Losing a player like Haasan, we definitely have to count on Nolan [Smith] to make that leap for next year. And I'm sure [with] what he showed last year, he definitely showed [something] already by [them] trading away Haasan.

"But, Bryce Huff, [Josh Sweat]. I'm excited. Including myself, just helping my boys take it to the next level. I think Howie is definitely going to do something in the draft, but I like what we got right now."

All eyes on Nolan Smith

Graham was quick to mention Smith, and with good reason, as many in and around the Eagles organization are expecting the second-year linebacker to take a major step forward in 2024.

Smith appeared in all 17 games for the Eagles last season, but he only played 16 percent of all available defensive snaps. He actually saw more action on special teams where he played 55 percent of all available snaps. In all, Smith recorded 18 total tackles and a sack as a rookie. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman recently admitted that Smith  probably should have played more last season.

“In retrospect, just seeing him certainly in the playoff game, one of the guys who played well in the playoff game, maybe giving him a little bit more time during the year and experience, we talked about that,” Roseman said of Smith at the NFL combine.

“He's got all the right tools in his body. He's got the right mentality. And at the same time, he's got to go out and show it.”

In addition to an increased role for Smith, the Ealges will also enter the '24 draft with eight picks, and they're widely expected to add an edge rusher with at least one of those picks. So, Graham's optimism is understandable, despite the departure of an impact player like Reddick.