Graham's role in new Eagles defense

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
4:00
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Graham
Tim McManus spoke on the phone with the Philadelphia Eagles' Brandon Graham, who says he's losing weight in an effort to get ready to play 3-4 outside linebacker in the Eagles' new defense:
"I think linebacker is where I’m going to be -- outside linebacker,” said Graham in a phone conversations with Birds 24/7.

Graham says he played at around 270-275 last season. He is in the process of trying to get down to around 260 so he can move better in space.

It has been a while, but the former first-round pick does have some experience at linebacker. He played MIKE in high school at Crockett Technical, and was considered one of the top linebacker prospects in the country by his senior season.

Since the hiring of new head coach Chip Kelly, and a little more since the hiring of defensive coordinator Bill Davis, there has been much speculation as to roles in the Eagles' new defense. While it seems apparent that they plan to play some version of a 3-4 alignment, the defense is likely to be something of a hybrid. And whether Graham or Trent Cole or Vinny Curry plays upright or with his hand in the ground and how much pass-rush responsibility each of them has all remains to be worked out. Kelly and Davis have wisely declined to spell out specific plans for the defense until they get into minicamps and training camp and can accurately assess the ways in which their personnel fits what they want to do on defense.

Graham played extremely well last year when given a chance, especially after taking over for Jason Babin as a starting 4-3 defensive end. Finding out whether he has the ability to stand up and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment is worth the Eagles' time, and the weight loss that will help him and them do that is likely to be an asset to Graham as he works to remain versatile in the new scheme.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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