“A playbook to master. Linemen to combat. Meetings to attend. Long practices to endure.
Brandon Graham survives the dog days of training camp the only way he can.
He keeps it simple.
“I just be a wild man,” Graham, the Eagles’ first-round pick, said after a recent steamy practice at Lehigh. “I just go out there and knock them hands down. And my speed coming off the ball, that’s the first part of it.”
Right now, the gregarious defensive end’s lightning-quick burst off the line of scrimmage is his best friend as he attempts to fulfill the hysteria that came when the franchise jumped 11 spots up in the first round to draft him 13th overall.
They salivated over the former Michigan star’s reputation for planting quarterbacks on their rear ends.
It’s early, but the returns on Graham are optimistic. He hasn’t looked lost despite missing the first three days of camp for contract-related reasons and hasn’t shown the fatigue that usually comes when the number of days in the Lehigh Valley creeps into double digits.
“He looks like he’s going to be a good football player,” coach Andy Reid said recently. “Does he have some things he has to learn? Absolutely. He is an explosive guy. That you can see, and he’s got very good athletic ability and instincts, and now it’s just a matter of mastering a few of the different techniques that you need to play at this level that you don’t necessarily need to use at the college level.”
Graham hoped to stage a personal showcase Thursday night at FlightNight, his introduction to Philadelphia’s rabid crowd at Lincoln Financial Field, but Eagles coach Andy Reid scaled back on his “live” tackling scrimmage.
“Man, I was so pumped today — like we were really playing a game,” Graham said. “I was hoping for some live — just for the fans, and to let them know what we’ve been working on. But to see this big crowd right now, it feels real good. It feels like a game right now.”
Earlier this week, Reid noted that pass rushers from the college ranks tend to rely on the one or two maneuvers that propelled them at the amateur level. They find out quickly that they need more polish against the NFL’s seasoned offensive tackles.”
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