Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is again being named as a potential future head coaching hire, this time by NFL.com reporter Tom Pelissero.
Pelissero based his list on “dozens of recent conversations with NFL executives, coaches and others close to the search process.” He named Graham among 13 current NFL assistants who could be “this year’s Sean McVay,” referencing the Los Angeles Rams head coach who was hired following a strong tenure as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016.
Pelissero writes that these candidates are all under age 45 and seeking their first NFL head-coaching opportunity.
What did NFL.com say about Graham?
Giants assistant HC/DC Patrick Graham, 42: The Jets requested an interview with Graham for their head-coaching job in January, but he declined and signed a contract extension with the Giants that made him one of the NFL’s highest-paid defensive coordinators. A one-time Yale defensive lineman, Graham is now in his 20th year coaching, with the past 13 being spent in the NFL (including a Super Bowl XLIX win with New England). He’s passionate, has high expectations and can be hard on players in a way that makes them love him more.
In his previous year’s version of the list, Pelissero correctly included Brandon Staley (Chargers), Arthur Smith (Falcons), Dan Campbell (Lions), Robert Saleh (Jets) and Nick Sirianni (Eagles) on his list, all of whom would be hired shortly after. Graham was also on the list last year.
The NFL.com article seems to have thrown extra support under the first claim that surfaced around Graham’s potential future as a head coach.
Just two days ago, CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora mentioned Graham as a candidate who is “opening eyes” around the league. LaCanfora wrote that “Graham is continuing to mount buzz in league circles for his fine work with a unit that is thin on individual talent. With the Mara family and many in football operations very high on Graham, some in league circles believe Graham would be a serious candidate in New York if ownership opted to move on from Joe Judge in 2022.”
Some readers may be scratching their heads if they look at the Giants current 25th-ranked defense in yards allowed. However, the unit has appeared to begun cleaning things up as of late, averaging just 13 points against in their past three games, two of which were wins.
The Graham rumor mill could gain even more steam should his unit put up a good showing against Tom Brady and the high-flying Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.