The Eagles' faith and patience with Brandon Graham were rewarded on the field as the defensive end posted at least 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss for the third year in a row, while playing a career-high 75 percent of the snaps on defense in 2016. According to Stats LLC, Graham led the NFL with 80 combined sacks, hurries and QB knockdowns.
Graham's relentless motor and non-stop hustle were recognized by the national media who cover the sport at he was named a second-team All-Pro selection by The Associated Press on Friday.
Plays like the ones below are reasons why.
Shot 3 - Next series, now down 10-0, 2 herculean efforts from Brandon Graham on the backside force 3rd-and-11 #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/e8zuxhnmKO — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 5, 2016
Graham was one of five Eagles to receive votes for All-Pro recognition along with left tackle Jason Peters, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, safety Malcolm Jenkins and special teamer Chris Maragos. For the first time, voters selected a player at each offensive line position (instead of lumping both right and left tackles together, for example), a flex player on offense, edge rushers (to eliminate confusion with outside linebackers in 3-4 defenses), a fifth defensive back and both a punt and kick returner (in the past it was just one returner).
Originally a first-round pick of the Eagles in 2010, Graham showed promise as a rookie, but ended the season on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL. He didn't blossom until the 2014 season when he had 5.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss as a reserve player. The Eagles signed him to a four-year deal in the 2015 offseason and he registered a career-best 6.5 sacks while starting 10 games. He transitioned to 4-3 defensive end and thrived this past season as a full-time starter in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's scheme and posted a career-high 14 tackles for loss.
Graham was named a first alternate to the Pro Bowl this season, so he could get the call to join Cox and Peters for the all-star game in Orlando later this month.