With the combine wrapped up and free agency dying down it's time to start the yearly overview of possible Colts picks. First off is a guy that's a bit of a dream pick. Graham has a very good chance to go before the Colts go on the clock, but he's not totally out of reach.
Graham is an explosive pass rusher who racked up 29 sacks and 55.5 tackles for a loss the last 3 years. He finished strong with 10.5 sacks and 26 TFLs his senior year, which he capped off by dominating the draft class' 2nd tier of Offensive Tackles at the Senior Bowl, earning the games' MVP honors.
Graham is a strong run defender despite being a bit undersized at 6'1" 268lbs, but he doesn't have the elite edge rushing athleticism of Freeney or Mathis.
Graham is a physical pass rusher who never quits. Frequently gets pressure, even when facing chip blocking. Gets very low to the ground, but maintains good balance coming around the edge. Benefited some at Michigan because he was allowed to line up wide and beat slower tackles.... Powerfully punches into linemen to get off the block.... Shows excellent awareness against the run. Quickly recognizes counters that come his way. Gets off his block and outside with ease. Breaks down in space nicely, which indicates he could hold up in a 3-4..... Has a powerful build and is strong throughout his frame. Knows his to use his low center of gravity to get leverage. Probably won't need to add more bulk.
Lines up wide so he can turn the corner against slower tackles, will struggle to do so against NFL tackles....Can punch the tackle to disengage or maintain the angle to force the action inside when run plays are coming his way. Occasionally gets skinny to penetrate on inside runs. Stays home to contain, watch for bootlegs and stop reverses. .... Has a good motor, works hard to get down the line on runs away from him.....Capable of using his lack of height to his advantage, maintaining leverage to hold his ground on the edge. Stacks the tight end and disrupts plays when one-on-one.
Graham was an extremely productive defender in college who spent a lot of time in the backfield. He's a tough, competitive guy who doesn't stop until the whistle. He's athletic enough to get to the quarterback and make plays away from him in the running game. Has good instincts. Displays excellent hand use when disengaging and rushing the passer.
Graham lacks the height you like to see from defensive end prospects. At times, appears to be somewhat stiff hipped when diagnosing and playing in space. Scouts question his versatility and ability to stand up and play outside linebacker in a 3-4.
Graham is a powerful end who can bring some run D and power rushing to the DE spot behind Freeney and Mathis, as well as take the pure pass rusher role if needed. Graham's combine numbers were just solid, it was his college production that's eye popping. How many players in the draft can boast production like nearly a sack per game (20.5 in 23 games), and 2 tackles for a loss per game (46 in 23 games) the last two years?
Graham is a great compromise between adding a new Brock and another Mathis.