PFF explains why Brandon Graham was underrated in 2016

PFF explains why Brandon Graham was underrated in 2016

Brandon Graham walked through the Eagles' locker room at Lincoln Financial Field with a big smile on his face. While the season was over in terms of playoff chances, the Eagles beat the Giants 24-19 to snap their five-game losing streak. 

Graham played a big role in the win. He provided pressure all day. But there was just one thing on his mind as he strolled from the showers to his locker stall. 

"I should have had him!" Graham said, still smiling, but now shaking his head. 

With 25 seconds left in the game, Graham piled up his fourth quarterback hit on Eli Manning, but the Giants' QB was able to keep his right arm free and throw the ball away. A little bit later, Manning threw a desperation interception and the Eagles sealed the game. 

Graham, 28, had the best season of his career in 2016. No question. But he finished the year with just 5 1/2 sacks. Despite being named a second-team All-Pro and a first alternate for the Pro Bowl, many people probably don't realize how disruptive he really was this past year, even if the sack numbers don't show it. 

That's the point ProFootballFocus' Sam Monson makes this week. 

"Brandon Graham doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as one of the league’s most consistent and dominant pass-rushers because people get too caught up with measuring pass rush by sacks alone," Monson writes. 

In their list of the top 101 players from 2016, Graham was the highest-ranked Eagle, at No. 9. 

Of course, PFF's stats support that idea. Graham produced a pressure 83 times in 2016. Only Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack had more. Graham got pressure once every 5.8 pass-rushing snaps, the second best number in the league. 

While sacks are the goal, Graham's pressures often created opportunities for his teammates, resulting in a PBU or an interception. It's harder to quantify those things, though. 

One of the more interesting stats from PFF is that Graham has converted his pressures into sacks at a 10.7 percent clip. That's well under the 15.1 percent average in the NFL this season. Graham himself has admitted that he needs to pick up sacks at a higher rate. 

According to PFF, Graham's best game was that Week 16 matchup against the Giants. That's the game where he thought he should have brought down Manning but didn't have a sack. 

If he starts finishing his pressures next season, he'll probably start to get the recognition he deserves. 

Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

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Former Eagles Dawkins, Owens named Hall of Fame semifinalists

Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens are again one step closer to making it to the Hall of Fame.

Both former Eagles were named as two of 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2018 class.

Their inclusion on the list Tuesday is not a surprise at all. Both were on the list of finalists last year, but did not make the 2017 class to the dismay of Eagles fans.

The 15 finalists will be announced during January and Hall of Fame voters will cast their votes for the inductees on Super Bowl Saturday.

This is Dawkins' second year of eligibility and Owens' third. Traditionally it has been difficult for safeties to make it into the Hall of Fame, which might have hurt Dawkins. Owens has likely been hurt by his abrasive personality. Both are very worthy candidates and have a shot to be inducted this year.

Joining them on the list of semifinalists are six who made it on their first years of eligibility: DB Ronde Barber, OG Steve Hutchinson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Brian Urlacher, WR Randy Moss and DL Richard Seymour.

The original list of 108 nominees was cut down to 27 semifinalists instead of 25 because of ties.

Here is the full list of semifinalists:

S Steve Atwater
CB/S Ronde Barber
OT Tony Boselli
WR Isaac Bruce
S LeRoy Butler
Coach Don Coryell
RB Roger Craig
S Brian Dawkins
G Alan Faneca
WR Torry Holt
OG Steve Hutchinson
OT Joe Jacoby
RB Edgerrin James
Coach Jimmy Johnson
CB Ty Law
LB Ray Lewis
FS John Lynch
C/G Kevin Mawae
LB Karl Mecklenburg
WR Randy Moss
DE Leslie O'Neal
WR Terrell Owens
DE Simeon Rice
DE/DT Richard Seymour
LB Brian Urlacher
CB Everson Walls
WR Hines Ward

Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

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Former Eagles CB Dexter McDougle signs with Saints

Former Eagles cornerback Dexter McDougle has found a home with another one of the top teams in the NFC. 

McDougle on Tuesday signed with the New Orleans Saints, who, like the Eagles, are also on an eight-game winning streak. 

McDougle, 26, came to the Eagles in a trade with the Jets for safety Terrence Brooks in late August and even signed him to a one-year extension in early September. 

The former third-round pick in 2014 played more than the Eagles likely anticipated during his eight games active in Philly. 

In total, McDougle played 55 defensive snaps, and just three weeks ago played 32 of them in a pinch against the 49ers. He also played 135 special teams snaps (50 percent through the Denver game). 

McDougle was waived last week when the Eagles brought in linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. McDougle was expendable as Ronald Darby returned from his dislocated ankle. The only game McDougle was inactive was the opener, before Darby's injury. 

Without McDougle, the Eagles still have plenty of corners. They have five on the roster, including Jaylen Watkins, who is listed as a safety but has played corner this season.