Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles seem to be busy shedding players at Usain Bolt speed these days, and perhaps the New York Giants are trying to help that process. There have been multiple reports on Sunday that the Giants are interested in Eagles' free-agent defensive end Brandon Graham.
Latest I'm hearing: Giants still talking to Brandon Graham, Dan Williams for DL. Running third behind Pats, Eagles on McCourty.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 9, 2015
Graham, the Eagles 2010 first-round pick, has started only 13 games in five seasons in Philly, never really establishing a full-time role. Graham, a natural defensive end, played outside linebacker a season ago in the Eagles' 3-4, compiling 5.5 sacks
SB Nation's Eagles web site, Bleeding Green Nation, seems resigned to the idea of the Eagles losing Graham:
A signing would make sense for both parties. The Giants are trying to make a serious push to return to the playoffs and released ineffective starter Mathias Kiwanuka, and Graham is best suited for a 4-3 defense. Graham had a breakout season in 2014, tying a career high with 5.5 sacks, and was tied for fifth in the league with 4 forced fumbles, but did so playing in less than half of the Eagles' defensive snaps.
Pete Damilatis of Pro Football Focus is eagerly awaiting someone giving Graham a chance to play full-time:
Words can't express how excited I am to see Brandon Graham in a full-time role. Nasty whenever the Eagles let him on the field.— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) March 8, 2015
Here is a snippet of a PFF profile of Graham:
... pass rush is still his bread and butter, and he eats well. He racked up 51 total pressures in 2014 despite rushing the passer on only 225 snaps. This led to a Pass Rushing Productivity of 17.7, the best at his position in front of Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee. His versatility is further highlighted by his ability to generate pressure without sacrificing the run game. Over 189 snaps against the run, he recorded 17 run stops, leading to a Run Stop Percentage of 9.0%, the fourth-best among 3-4 outside linebackers.
The Giants cut the aging Mathias Kiwanuka earlier in the offseason, and there are lingering injury concerns about Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore.