Brandon Graham knows what fans think of him, and he's embracing it.
"I haven’t (done) nothing really," Graham said today after the Eagles first full-team practice of the year. "Right now, I’m a bust, so I’m going to deal with that. I’m a bust and I’m going to keep being a bust, even when I make plays, I’m going to still act like I’m a bust, you know what I’m saying?"
Graham was clearly using the criticism he has faced during his first two seasons to fuel him for what he -- and the team -- hope is a breakout third year for the 2010 first round draft pick. Graham hardly played last season after having microfracture knee surgery to help recovery from a torn ACL his rookie year. That left him with three sacks, all in his first season, to show for a pass rusher that the Eagles traded up to draft.
"Just going through that whole thing last year, not playing, I just grew as a person, that was number one," Graham said. "I've moved on from it now it’s time for me to defend myself."
He said he feels more confident in his repaired knee and brought his weight down to 265, from a high of 285 last season. With Jason Babin away and missing the voluntary camp, Graham got some snaps with the first team defense.
Graham played in just three games last year. Twice he dressed but didn't get on the field. Now, more than a year removed from his knee injury, Graham faces a make-or-break season. Several people within the organization have said they have high hopes for Graham, but that he has something to prove this year.