Graham Signs 5-Year Deal
By Lance Epstein
After missing the first three days of training camp, first-round pick Brandon Graham had the urge and itch to get into camp with his teammates. He wanted to prove to show the world and his coaches why the team moved up in the draft to snatch his talents. So it is easy to understand why Graham and the Eagles were able to agree to terms on a five-year contract on Thursday night.
"Oh man, I can't tell you how excited I am to get there and get it going," Graham said. "I had talked with Daniel (Te’o-Nesheim) and Eric (Moncur) and they were keeping me up to date. I didn't want it to seem like I felt I was better than anybody else. I left it all to my agent [Joel Segal] and I thank him and the Eagles for making this happen and getting me in after missing just a little bit of work.
The 13th overall pick in April's draft and former Michigan Wolverine is expected to be at training camp in Bethlehem (Leigh University) tomorrow. He also should be able to participate in the 3:30 p.m. full squad practice since he is expected to leave Detroit (where he is currently working out, training and absorbing the playbook) early in the morning.
“We’re doing our best to get him there in time for tomorrow’s practice,” Graham’s agent, Joel Segal said.
Even if Graham does not participate, he is just excited to be at the facility with his teammates for the team's first full practice.
“It feels good, because I really wanted to get to training camp and Coach [Andy] Reid really wanted me to get to camp and now it’s time to show them why they picked me,” Graham said. “I have a lot of work to do, but I’m ready to go.”
It was crucial for Graham to not miss anymore time nor the beginning of full contact drills (begins on Saturday) since he has stiff competition for the starting left defensive end job. Graham is expected to compete with veterans Juqua Parker and Darryl Tapp, but realizes it will take a lot of hard work to beat them out and just see the field.
"It's going to be a lot of work and I'm ready for that. It's my job. I have high expectations and I know that I have the challenge ahead," he said. "I've been studying my plays, working on my game. I can't wait to get out there."
Fortunately for the Eagles, they were able to get their first round pick into camp and signed. As of Thursday night, only seven of the 32 first-round picks had been inked to rookie deals. Additionally, the Eagles have all of their 13 draft picks signed and in camp, so their rookies should be able to be ahead of the curve by the end of the preseason. In addition, having every rookies in camp is extremely important for a team that is counting on those nine defensive draft picks to be significant factors on a revamped defense [as well as the rest of the league high 13 draft picks].
Furthermore, the Eagles and team president Joe Banner are "thrilled" that Graham is on his way to Leigh now rather than later. Especially since he is not going to miss any of the “meaningful” practices. So far the Eagles have not kicked off the full-contact practices with pads and the defensive lineman has been solely focusing on conditioning drills.
In the end, Graham is just glad that his whole contract situation is over. Now he can focus on his No. 1 priority, which is football and helping take double teams way from Eagles' star defensive end Trent Cole.
"It's time to get it going," he said. "I'm just glad it is all done."
Graham is absolutely right that it is time for him to get going. If the Eagles expect to beat the high powered Green Bay offense in week one then they are going to need his relentless motor to bring down quarterback Aaron Rodgers.