Graham knows the Patriot Way
|02.27.10 at 2:04 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Graham may not fit the Patriots’ mold physically when it comes to edge rushers, but he sure sounds like he’s a good fit mentally.
The 6-foot-1, 268-pound defensive lineman, who likely projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL, may not have the size that Bill Belichick looks for in his “conversion” types. But he’s already been well-schooled in New England’s approach, thanks in large part to his relationship with current Patriots linebackers Pierre Woods and Shawn Crable.
“I’ve seen Pierre more than I’ve seen Crable in the last two years. He told me a lot about the Patriots and what they expect of you,” Graham said of Woods.
“He just said it was a great experience,” he added. “He said it was just like Michigan — you love to hate them. They have a swagger about them and they take pride in what they do, and everybody in the building works hard. So get ready if you become a Patriot.”
You can’t question Graham’s production — Graham had a combined 20 sacks the last two seasons for Michigan. But isn’t the ideal that New England usually looks for in that position. Think long and lean, like Willie McGinest — not short and stocky, like Elvis Dumervil.
“From the Patriots’ perspective, they typically like the longer outside linebackers,” Mayock explained. “Brandon Graham, at the Senior Bowl, was 6-foot-1, 263 [pounds]. That’s really short for an outside linebacker in the Patriots’ scheme, and he had 30 1/2 inch arms, which is extremely short.
“Just from an initial cosmetic overview, he fits what they do from a rush linebacker perspective, but he doesn’t fit the prototype. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t take him, but he’s not as long as they like.”
Doesn’t matter to Graham, who models his game after Dumervil, the Denver linebacker who had 17 sacks last season.
“I watch Dumervil now because he was the leading sacker last year. I just look at myself as the next one. He’s 6-1, he’s small. A lot of people don’t think he could do it, but I believe whoever gets me is going to love me.
“No matter what size I am, I’m going to get to the ball. I’m going to cause havoc.”
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