Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20: Nate Sudfeld
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
With Jason Peters gone, Graham is now the longest-tenured Eagle and he’s one of the longest-tenured pro athletes in the entire city. Graham has had such a strange career. Once thought to be a bust, he’s been one of the Eagles better players for a while now.
In 2019, Graham led the Eagles with 8 1/2 sacks, the second-highest total of his career. He also led the Eagles in total hurries with 48, according to ProFootballFocus.
That’s the thing with Graham. Sometimes the sack numbers don’t do him justice. Because for years, he’s been a disrupter. He doesn’t always get to the quarterback but he’s great at moving quarterbacks off their spot, which doesn’t always show up in the stat column. And he’s also stout against the run, eager to pull down a running back on his way to the passer.
Most tackles for loss or no gain since 2017:— PFF (@PFF) June 29, 2020
1. Calais Campbell - 35
2. Luke Kuechly - 30
3. Demarcus Lawrence - 27
4. Brandon Graham - 27 pic.twitter.com/2vN04fUuDh
Earlier on this countdown, the Eagles’ right defensive end, Derek Barnett, came in at No. 16. Barnett has been an OK player but hasn’t lived up to his first-round status. And since Barnett faces left tackles every Sunday, Graham is able to feast on some inferior right tackles, which undoubtedly helps him.
Graham is now 32 and is under contract through the 2021 season. Graham is getting older but he didn’t show any signs of wear in 2019. In fact, he was much better last season than he was in 2018 as he returned from an ankle injury and surgery.
Aside from being a good player on the field, Graham is also the heart and soul of the defense. He’s the most positive force in that locker room, always laughing, smiling and, of course, talking. Without Malcolm Jenkins, several players will need to step up their leadership game and Graham fits in that category. No question the guy who’s been on the team longest will be able to.
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