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Eagles pay price to land Graham

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Posted April 22, 2010 @ 9:13 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

I have to say I wasn’t expecting Brandon Graham to be the pick at No. 13 once I heard the Eagles had traded up to that spot.

Not that Graham can’t help them. When you think about it, he’s exactly what the Eagles look for in their defensive linemen. They like the — scouting jargon here — high-motor guys who can play a number of spots, and that fits Graham.

But is he a left end?

Graham played right end at Michigan, and many teams projected him to be a stand-up outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. But Trent Cole is the Eagles’ right end, and last time I checked he was the team’s best lineman who plays all three downs.

The concerns about moving Graham to the left side, which is what I am thinking they will do, is that he’ll have to fight through a little more trash on the tight-end side and be the team’s best run-stopping end.

I am still processing this move, but there’s no question that Graham is a very good football player. In the same way that LaMarr Woodley would make a fine 4-3 end — although, a right end probably — I think Graham should have no trouble playing in a two-point stance in the pros, just as he did in college.

The Eagles’ system prefers quickness over size, so the body fit is good. But we’ll see if he can handle a different side of the field and new responsibilities.

And the price to land Graham was moderately high: two third-round picks (No. 70 and No. 87). The Eagles still have the two second-rounders, which are very valuable, and they might move back with the second of those picks to get back into Round Three. But they had to be sure that Graham was not going to make it another 4-5 picks to move that far up and pay that price.

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