1. St. Louis Rams- DT Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
The argument before the 2010 NFL Draft was Sam Bradford or Ndamukong Suh. While Suh has clearly been the right answer of those two, Suh actually hasn’t even been the best defensive tackle in this draft class. Both Suh and McCoy have been top-4 defensive tackles on Pro Football Focus in each of the last 3 seasons, but McCoy has actually ranked higher in all 3 seasons, ranking 2nd, 1st, and 3rd, while Suh has ranked 4th, 2nd, and 4th.
McCoy had injury problems early in his career, missing 13 games over those 2 seasons, but he still was impressive when healthy and Suh took a couple of years to become the player he is today, ranking outside the top-30 on Pro Football Focus in each of his first 2 seasons in the league. Over the past 3 seasons, McCoy has missed just 3 games. The Rams would take either of those two players, but McCoy is the slightly better player in my opinion. The Rams have had issues at defensive tackle for a while, spending a lot of money on Kendall Langford in free agency and drafting both Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald in the first round over the past few seasons. The Rams seem to have struck gold with Donald, but imagine him and McCoy on the same line.
2. Detroit Lions- DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
While McCoy might be a little bit better than Suh, the Lions don’t have any real complaints about Suh (other that he’s gone now). He’s one of the best defensive tackles in the league, joining McCoy as one of two defensive tackles to grade out in the top-4 on Pro Football Focus in each of the last 3 seasons. It took him a couple years to get to that point. Despite big sack numbers, he wasn’t anywhere near the complete player he is today early in his career, struggling mightily against the run and not getting nearly the amount of hits and hurries per season he’s had recently. I don’t hold that too much against him though, considering the player he’s become.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Antonio Brown (Central Michigan)
Calvin Johnson had some injury issues this year, so Antonio Brown took over the mantle of top wide receiver in football and he might actually be better than Johnson if Johnson was healthy. Over the past 2 seasons, Brown has ranked 2nd and 1st in receiving yards, 3rd and 1st on Pro Football Focus among wide receivers, and 7th and 8th in yards per route run. The Buccaneers had a significant wide receiver need going into the 2009 NFL Draft as the only wide receiver they had with more than 366 yards in 2009 was Antonio Bryant, who never played another snap in the NFL. They used 2nd and 4th round picks on 2010 on Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, but neither of them had any sort of staying power with the team, forcing the team to give Vincent Jackson a big contract and use a high pick on Mike Evans to finally fix their issue at the position. This fixes the problem a lot faster.
4. Washington Redskins- OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)
The Redskins drafted Trent Williams 4th overall in 2010 to solidify the blindside position on the offensive line and, after a rough rookie year, he’s done that, grading out above average on Pro Football Focus in 4 straight seasons, including 3 straight seasons in the top-18 and a #1 overall finish at the position in 2013. This is a strong draft class so the Redskins certainly have other options, but I generally default to original pick as a tie breaker.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)
The Chiefs didn’t get a single touchdown from their wide receivers in 2014. You can blame that partially on bad luck and partially on Alex Smith’s hesitance to throw to wide receivers down the field outside the numbers, but there’s no way that would be the case if the Chiefs had drafted Demaryius Thomas 5th overall in 2010. Demaryius Thomas has put up absurd numbers over the past 3 seasons, playing all 48 games, catching 297 passes for 4483 yards and 35 touchdowns. Playing with Peyton Manning at quarterback and being a target monster has definitely helped him, but he’s graded out 2nd, 5th, and 5th among wide receivers on Pro Football Focus in his own right in 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively. No other wide receiver has graded out in the top-5 in all 3 of those seasons. Along with Calvin Johnson and draft-mate Antonio Brown, you can make a case for him as the best wide receiver in football.
6. Seattle Seahawks- S Earl Thomas (Texas)
The Seahawks struck gold with Earl Thomas with the 14th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but they have to draft him earlier in this re-draft to keep him. That’s fine with the Seahawks, who originally drafted Russell Okung at this spot and he’s struggled through injuries thus far in his 5 year NFL career. Earl Thomas and Devin McCourty are the two best pure free safeties in the NFL and both went in this draft. It’s arguable which one is better, but if you asked the Seahawks, you can bet they’d say Thomas.
7. Cleveland Browns- CB Joe Haden (Florida)
This is another case of a team keeping the player they originally drafted. Haden was one of two cornerbacks to grade out in the top-20 at their position on Pro Football Focus in every season from 2010-2013, which got him a 5-year, 68 million dollar extension last off-season. He graded out 5th in 2010, 10th in 2011, 20th in 2012, and 17th in 2013. By those standards, he had the worst season of his career in 2014, when he graded out 28th, but he’s still one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. There might be better players available at this point, but Haden is in the conversation as one of the best available and he’s re-drafted by the Browns for continuity’s sake.
8. Oakland Raiders- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)
Rob Gronkowski has had issues with injuries throughout his career, but he’s come out fine on the other side of all those injuries and, when healthy, he’s arguably the most valuable offensive skill position player in the NFL who isn’t a quarterback. Gronk has caught 294 passes for 4231 yards and 49 touchdowns in his last 57 games and he averages 2.41 yards per route run in his 5 year career. For comparison, Jimmy Graham averages just 2.08 yards per route run over that same time period and Gronkowski is a significantly better blocker.
It helps to play with Tom Brady, but for Tom Brady, it also really, really helps to play with Gronk. In games where Gronk plays over the past 4 years (since Gronk’s 2011 breakout year), Tom Brady completes 65.1% of his passes for an average of 7.80 YPA, 114 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions, including playoffs. When he doesn’t over the past 4 years, Brady completes 58.1% of his passes for an average of 6.84 YPA, 30 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. That’s a significant drop off in production and there’s enough sample size on both sides to confidently attribute a lot of the difference in Brady’s production to the big tight end.
9. Buffalo Bills- TE Jimmy Graham (Miami)
Any debate between Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham should have been put to bed when the Saints traded Graham to Seattle earlier this month. The Patriots would never trade Rob Gronkowski in the prime of his career. He’s too valuable to them. Gronkowski is a better pass catcher, a significantly better blocker, while Graham only having the edge in durability over Gronkowski. Still, he’s a valuable pass catching threat that would really help the Bills, who needed an upgrade at tight end up until they overpaid Charles Clay this off-season. Graham is a significantly better player.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars- S Devin McCourty (Rutgers)
I mentioned that it’s arguable between Earl Thomas and Devin McCourty who is the better free safety. Thomas goes early in this re-draft because the Seahawks wanted to keep their guy, but I actually think McCourty is the better overall player. He entered the NFL as a cornerback, moved to safety in the middle of the 2012 season and has pretty much been dominant wherever he’s been. He’s graded out above average in all 5 seasons he’s been in the league since the Patriots drafted him in the 1st round in 2010 and, with the exception of 2011, he’s been an elite player in every season.
In 2010, he was Pro Football Focus’ 7th ranked cornerback. In 2012, his composite grade across cornerback and safety would have been 5th among cornerbacks and 4th among safeties. And in the last two seasons, he’s been Pro Football Focus’ 1st and 8th ranked safety respectively. The Jaguars tried to sign him away from the Patriots in the legal tampering period this off-season and you can bet they would have loved to have drafted him instead of Tyson Alualu here in this spot 5 years ago.
11. San Francisco 49ers- WR Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State)
The 49ers drafted Michael Crabtree 10th overall in 2009 and he led their team in receiving yards by a wide receiver in every season from 2009-2012. However, he only went over 1000 yards once in 6 seasons in San Francisco and the 49ers definitely could have used another talented wide receiver to go with him. Bryant only falls to 11 because of how loaded this draft is at the top. Dez Bryant has always been productive, with 381 career catches for 5424 yards and 56 touchdowns in 75 career games in 5 seasons, since being drafted in the first round in 2010.
He’s been especially good over the past 3 seasons, as he’s had 3 straight seasons of at least 80 catches for 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns. He hasn’t missed a game in those 3 seasons and has caught 273 passes for 3935 yards and 41 touchdowns in that time period. Last season, he was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd ranked wide receiver and he was franchise tagged by the Cowboys as a result. You can bet the 49ers would love to have a player like this.
12. San Diego Chargers- MLB NaVorro Bowman (Penn State)
It might be easy to forget because he just missed the entire season with a torn ACL, but Bowman is one of the best linebackers in the NFL when healthy, grading out 1st, 6th, and 1st among middle linebackers on Pro Football Focus in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. The injury certainly hurts his long-term projection, but he’s only going into his age 27 season and he has a solid chance of continuing his dominant level of play into the future. He would have gone higher here if not for the injury and could be a value pick at 12 for a San Diego team that used a 3rd round pick on Donald Butler in the original 2010 draft.
13. Philadelphia Eagles- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Central Florida)
The Eagles drafted Brandon Graham here originally. It wasn’t that Graham was a bad player, but the Eagles never really utilized him properly in terms of giving him enough playing time. In this redo, they land a dominant edge rusher who they would have had no problem getting on to the field. Aside from an injury plagued 2013 season, JPP has been one of the best 4-3 defensive ends in the league over the past 4 seasons, grading out 6th in 2011, 3rd in 2012, and 7th in 2014, earning him the franchise tag this off-season. Brandon Graham, meanwhile, had to settle for a 4-year, 26 million dollar deal back in Philadelphia.
14. Seattle Seahawks- S Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech)
There might be better players available, but I think the Seahawks would like to keep their defense together at all costs in this re-draft and they do that here by taking Kam Chancellor, originally a 5th round pick, to stay paired with Earl Thomas, who they had to draft 6th to keep, rather than being able to take him here. The cost is left tackle Russell Okung, but he’s missed 21 games with injury in 5 seasons and, while he was Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked offensive tackle in 2012, that’s the only season of his career where he’s graded out above average. Chancellor, meanwhile, has made 62 of 64 possible starts in the past 4 seasons, while grading out 5th, 20th, 12th, and 20th among safeties.
15. New York Giants- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)
Here’s another guy that would have been much higher if not for injury. Atkins looked like one of the best defensive players in football following the 2012 season, grading out 7th among defensive tackles as a rookie in 2010, despite playing just 356 snaps as a reserve, and then finishing #1 in both 2011 and 2012 as he became a starter. Atkins, who agreed to a 5-year, 55 million dollar extension before the 2013 season, looked on his way to a similar year in 2013, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 4th ranked defensive tackle through 8 games before tearing his ACL in the 9th game of the season. He finished 10th on the season on 458 snaps.
In 2014, he didn’t seem like the same player, grading out just 20th at his position, but that’s still solid and he’s only going into his age 27 season so he could still become the dominant interior defensive linemen he once was again. He could prove to be a value pick for the Giants at 15 and help them make up for the loss of Jason Pierre-Paul.
16. Tennessee Titans- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)
Unlike guys like Bowman, Gronkowski, and Atkins, Hardy’s career was derailed by off-the-field issues, rather than injuries. Hardy broke out as one of the top 4-3 defensive ends in the game in 2012 and 2013, grading out 6th and 2nd respectively at his position in those two seasons, earning him the franchise tag for the 2014 season. However, Hardy was arrested for and convicted of domestic violence that off-season and, while the NFL could not suspend him as he was appealing the verdict, Hardy lasted just one game into 2014 before public pressure forced the Panthers to suspend him with pay for the rest of the season. The Panthers essentially paid him 13.1 million for 1 game in 2014.
Hardy got the charges dropped on a technicality and is expected to return to the field in 2015, though he could face a short suspension first, after signing a heavily incentive laden deal with the Dallas Cowboys. The Titans take him here as a higher upside defensive end, rather than the safer Derrick Morgan. Hardy, only 27, is one of the best defensive players in football when healthy and has minimal injury history.
17. San Francisco 49ers- G Mike Iupati (Idaho)
Here’s another team that sticks with their original pick. Iupati has graded out in the top-14 at his position on Pro Football Focus in 4 of the 5 seasons he’s been in the league, with the exception coming in an injury plagued 2013, when he still graded out above average. Despite that injury plagued 2013 season, he’s missed just 4 games in 5 seasons, all coming in 2013. The Cardinals rewarded him with a 5-year, 40 million dollar deal this off-season, poaching him from division rival San Francisco.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- OLB Junior Galette (Stillman)
Maurkice Pouncey, who the Steelers originally drafted in the spot, is overrated, so let’s give the Steelers a different player. I was originally going to give them Jason Worilds here, their original 2nd round pick and a player who turned into a valuable starter for the Steelers in 2013 and 2014, but his decision to make an early retirement after 5 seasons in the league puts a damper on his long-term value, so let’s give the Steelers the next best edge rusher available.
That’s Junior Galette, who originally went undrafted, but has turned into one of the better edge rushers in the game over the past 2 seasons, grading out 12th among 3-4 outside linebackers in 2013 and 4th among 4-3 defensive ends in 2014. He’s not a late bloomer either as he graded out above average as a pass rusher in reserve roles in both 2011 and 2012. Like Worilds, Galette would provide valuable depth behind an aging James Harrison and an injury prone LaMarr Woodley early in his career and start for them in 2013, 2014, and beyond.
19. Atlanta Falcons- DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida)
The Falcons have been searching for pass rush help for years, really since missing on Jamaal Anderson 8th overall in 2007, and have especially needed it over the past 2 seasons with John Abraham gone, as they’ve combined for just 54 sacks, fewest in the NFL over that time period. Dunlap would add to their pass rush and he’s also a great player against the run. A very consistent player, Dunlap has graded out 21st, 4th, 8th, 9th, and 15th among 4-3 defensive ends in 5 seasons in the league.
20. Houston Texans- CB Alterraun Verner (UCLA)
The Texans drafted Kareem Jackson originally here and they do like him, as evidenced by the 4-year, 34 million dollar deal they gave him to keep him long-term this off-season, after he graded out 11th among on Pro Football Focus cornerbacks in 2014. However, he’s not as consistent as Verner, who has graded out 21st, 11th, 25th, 13th, and 7th in 2010 through 2014 respectively. Much of that is because he’s arguably the best run stopping cornerback in football, but he holds up in coverage as well and his run play is still valuable. Jackson, meanwhile, has graded above average in just 2 of 5 seasons and still commanded a more expensive deal in free agency, as Verner signed a 4-year, 26 million dollar deal with the Buccaneers last off-season.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- DT Jared Odrick (Penn State)
The Bengals, who are seemingly always drafted 21st, originally used this pick on Jermaine Gresham, who never lived up to the expectations and, as of this writing, is still unsigned as a free agent in his first trip to the open market. The Bengals miss out on Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, who they drafted in the 2nd and 4th rounds respectively, but they still add to their defensive line here.
Odrick’s career started off on the wrong foot as he was limited to 22 snaps as a rookie in 2010 by injury, struggled in his first year as a starter in 2011 as a 3-4 defensive end, and then struggled even more in 2012 as a 4-3 defensive end, grading out 59th out of 62 eligible at his position that year. However, the Dolphins moved him back to his natural position of 4-3 defensive tackle in 2013 and the results have been great. He was 16th at his position in 2013 and then 19th in 2014, earning him a 5-year, 42.5 million dollar deal from the Jaguars this off-season. With full hindsight, the Bengals draft him here and leave him at his natural position of 4-3 defensive tackle.
22. Denver Broncos- S TJ Ward (Oregon)
The Broncos had a big need at safety going into 2010 as Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins were their starters and they were going into their age 32 and age 37 seasons respectively. The Broncos used a 2nd round pick on Rahim Moore in 2011, but they only filled one of their holes at safety. They didn’t fill the other one until they signed TJ Ward in free agency before the 2014 season. Here they get him earlier. Ward, a 2010 2nd round pick, has graded out 32nd, 14th, 6th, 4th, and 32nd respectively among safeties in 5 seasons in the league.
23. Green Bay Packers- OLB Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech)
The Packers struck gold with Clay Matthews in the 1st round in 2009, but were seeking an edge rushing complement for him for years until they signed Julius Peppers last off-season. Peppers played well in 2014, but he’s going into his age 35 season in 2015 so even he’s not a long-term solution. The Packers find a long-term solution here and someone who will prevent them from wasting a first round pick on Nick Perry in 2012.
Derrick Morgan’s career got off to a slow start as he was limited to 112 snaps by a torn ACL as a rookie in 2010 and struggled in his return from that injury in 2011, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 64th ranked 4-3 defensive end out of 67 eligible. However, he’s graded out above average in each of the past three seasons, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 5th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2012, 11th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2013, and 8th ranked 3-4 outside linebacker in 2014. Most importantly, he’s missed just 2 games over the past 4 seasons and doesn’t have any significant injuries on his record other than that torn ACL.
24. Dallas Cowboys- MLB Sean Lee (Penn State)
Lee, a 2nd round pick by the Cowboys in 2010, was really hard to place in this re-draft because he’s missed 34 games in 5 seasons in the league, including 31 in the last 3 seasons and all of 2014. The Cowboys are still expecting big things from him in 2015, but he’ll already be in his age 29 season and he’s coming off of a torn ACL, so that might be overly optimistic. However, when on the field, he’s absolutely one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He was Pro Football Focus’ 14th ranked middle linebacker in 15 games in 2011, 8th in just 6 games in 2012, and 7th in 11 games in 2013. Through 9 games (before the injury) in 2013, he was #1 at his position and he was 4th at his position through 5 games in 2012 before the injury.
25. Denver Broncos- WR Emmanuel Sanders (Southern Methodist)
I gave the Broncos someone they signed in free agency last off-season with the 22nd overall pick and I do that again here at 25. Sanders was nothing special for the first 4 seasons of his career in Pittsburgh, which is why he’s still available here, but that all changed when he went to Denver and met Peyton Manning. In 2014, Sanders finished 5th in the league in receiving yards (1409), 12th in touchdowns (9), and 4th in catches (101) and it wasn’t just Manning. Sanders graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 5th ranked wide receiver in his own right, including 3rd in pass catching grade. For a team that wasn’t able to keep Demaryius Thomas in this re-draft, he’s a very important addition here at 25.
26. Arizona Cardinals- OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)
The Cardinals have spent a lot of mid round picks trying to fix their edge rush since 2010, starting with O’Brien Schofield (4th round) in 2010. He was followed by Sam Acho (4th round) in 2011, Alex Okafor (4th round) in 2013, and Kareem Martin (3rd round) in 2014. Here’s a premium pick who is actually a long-term solution.
Hughes is a late bloomer, which is why he’s available this late. He was a bust in Indianapolis as a first round pick in 2010, playing a combined 240 snaps in 2010 and 2011 and then struggling in his first serious action in 2012, grading out 25th out of 34 eligible 3-4 outside linebackers. However, after the Bills acquired him after that season for basically nothing, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013 and their 14th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2014, before re-signing for 45 million over 5 years this off-season.
27. New England Patriots- DT LaMarr Houston (Texas)
The Patriots miss out on Devin McCourty in the re-draft, but this draft is deep enough that they’re still able to add a valuable piece to their defense. The Patriots have been looking for an interior complement to Vince Wilfork really since they traded Richard Seymour and now that Wilfork is also gone, that need has become even bigger and they are banking on 2014 1st round pick Dominique Easley staying healthy. Houston fills the need earlier and gives them a versatile player that can play inside and outside in both a 3-4 and a 4-3, something Belichick will love. Before a season that ended early with a torn ACL in 2014, Houston graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 20th ranked, 11th ranked, and 13th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively.
28. Miami Dolphins- S Reshad Jones (Georgia)
The Dolphins drafted Jones in the 4th round in 2010 originally, but he’s been a solid player for them, so they use their 1st round pick here to keep him. Jones has made 56 starts for the Dolphins over the past 2 seasons and, while he’s been inconsistent, grading out below average in 2 of those seasons, he’s graded out above average in 2 of the last 3 seasons, including 3rd in 2012 and 3rd in 2014.
29. New York Jets- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)
The common narrative is that Golden Tate didn’t have a breakout year until 2014, the first season of a 5-year, 31 million dollar deal with the Detroit Lions, when he finished 7th in receiving yards with 1331 yards (7th in the NFL), after never previously topping 1000 yards. However, when Tate signed that deal, I thought it was a steal for Detroit because Eric Decker got 36.25 million over that same length of time last off-season.
That’s because, while Decker put up bigger receiving numbers, Tate was actually comparable on a per route basis in 2011, 2012, and 2013, despite generally having worse quarterback play (Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson vs. Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Peyton Manning). Decker averaged 1.28, 1.80, and 2.03 yards per route run in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively, as opposed to 1.33, 1.80, and 2.01 for Tate, whose numbers were kept down by a run heavy offense in Seattle. In fact, Tate’s 2.13 yards per route run average in 2014 was barely a career high.
Tate graded out 16th among wide receivers in pass catching grade in 2014, but he actually did that exact same thing in 2012 and 2013. He should see his production decrease in 2015 with Calvin Johnson healthy for a full season, but he’s still arguably the best #2 receiver in the league and he’s a good value here for a Jets team that has had all sorts of issues with their wide receivers in recent years.
30. Detroit Lions- DE Everson Griffen (USC)
When Everson Griffin got a 5-year, 42.5 million dollar deal from the Vikings last off-season, it was a head-scratcher as Griffen had made just 1 career start. I didn’t like the move other as, while he had 14 sacks in 2012 and 2013 despite being a reserve, he actually played as much as some starters in terms of pass rush snaps with 423 pass rush snaps played in 2012 and 449 pass rush snaps played in 2013.
He only ranked 29th out of 62 eligible in pass rush efficiency among 4-3 defensive ends in 2012 and only ranked 21st out of 52 eligible in pass rush efficiency among 4-3 defensive ends in 2013. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 36th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2012 and 19th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2013. While it was an overly speculative deal, Griffen responded well, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 16 starts. He’s definitely an above average starter, albeit a late bloomer, and would be a good fit for the Lions here as Kyle Vanden Bosch was on the decline, going into his age 32 season in 2010.
31. Indianapolis Colts- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)
The Colts drafted Anthony Castonzo in the 1st round in 2011 and he’s been solid on the left side, but here they get help earlier and add someone who could be a bookend for Castonzo long-term, which would save them from giving Gosder Cherilus a 5-year, 34.5 million dollar deal, as they did two off-seasons ago. Aside from an injury plagued 2013 season, Veldheer has been one of the better left tackles in the league over the past 4 seasons, grading out 16th in 2011, 15th in 2012, and 9th in 2014. The Cardinals gave him a 5-year, 35 million dollar deal last season after his injury plagued 2013 season and he’ll continue making that deal look like a steal as long as he stays healthy. He’s an excellent value at this point, further evidence of how deep this draft was.
32. New Orleans Saints- DE Brandon Graham (Michigan)
Graham was a first round pick by the Eagles in 2010, but he was limited to 491 snaps in his first 2 seasons combined by injuries. However, he played well when on the field in those 2 seasons and he had somewhat of a breakout year in 2012. He didn’t get a ton of playing time (435 snaps), which is why it’s hard to call it a true breakout year, but he still graded out 2nd among 4-3 defensive ends that season, despite the limited playing time.
The Eagles moved to a 3-4 in 2013, which Graham wasn’t seen as a good fit for, so he only saw 331 snaps, but he still graded out 15th at his position, making it two straight years where no one played fewer snaps than him and graded out better at his position. In 2014, he was still the 3rd outside linebacker, but he played ahead of 1st round pick Marcus Smith all year, set a career high in snaps played with 524 snaps and graded out 3rd among 3-4 outside linebackers. For the third straight year, no one graded out better at his position on fewer snaps.
Scheme versatile, Graham was a great value for the Eagles on a 4-year, 26 million dollar deal this off-season and I think his most productive years are still ahead of him as I expect him to get more playing time going forward. He’ll fill a need for a Saints team that needed young pass rushers (they drafted Cameron Jordan in the 1st round in the following year) and I think they would have utilized him better earlier in his career than Philadelphia did, with full hindsight.