Many Eagles fans came into this year’s training camp wondering about defensive end Brandon Graham. Graham has not had a good beginning to his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. If you remember Graham was drafted in the first round with the 13th overall pick by the Eagles in the 2010 NFL Draft. Many fans did not want the Eagles to take Graham, they wanted them to take safety Earl Thomas or the defensive end who the Giants selected Jason Pierre-Paul. Graham has been in the NFL for three seasons and he started out his rookie year back in 2010 very strong. He played in 13 games, had 13 tackles and three sacks. But Graham’s rookie season would come into an end unexpectedly when he had a bad knee injury specifically tearing his ACL.
Graham missed the majority of last season rehabbing his injury and only played in three regular season games. Graham this training camp is looking to make a name for himself and show that he is not a first round bust. There will be some competition at the defensive end spot as the Eagles are loaded at this position. Let’s rundown the defensive ends that Brandon Graham will be competing against this preseason. The first defensive end that he will be competing against is rookie Vinny Curry. Curry is a 6’3, 266 lb., defensive end out of Marshall University. Curry is a quarterback sack machine and it showed in his senior season for Marshall. He had 74 tackles, 11 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles. Curry seems like he can break into the Eagles rotation quick and early. This just means that Graham has to perform good in training camp as he already has been and he has to maintain it throughout the preseason and regular season.
The next defensive end I am going to take a look at is Darryl Tapp. This will be his seventh season in the NFL and his second straight season with the Eagles. Last season, Tapp played in 12 games, had 27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. These are good solid stats for Tapp since he is a career rotation player on the defensive line. If you can get these kinds of stats this season coming up but for 16 games, Tapp could move ahead of Graham or even push Graham. Finally, the next defensive end I am going to look at he made a name for himself during last year’s preseason.
The person I am talking about is Phillip Hunt. Phillip Hunt has a motor like no other defensive end and won’t stop until he gets to the quarterback. This is will be Hunt’s second year in the NFL and his second season with the Philadelphia Eagles. As I said earlier, Hunt made his name in last year’s preseason by causing havoc on the opposing team’s quarterback. Last season in nine regular season games, Hunt had eight tackles and two sacks. I imagine that Hunt’s role will be increased since it will be another year under Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn. This year is crucial for Brandon Graham and he needs to show up big time because if he doesn’t then he will not be a Philadelphia Eagle for long.
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