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Saturday, February 27, 2010
The next LaMarr Woodley?

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Brandon Graham and LaMarr Woodley
Scouts often compare Michigan star Brandon Graham to his former teammate and Steelers' linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
INDIANAPOLIS -- University of Michigan defensive end/linebacker Brandon Graham remembers how, as a freshman, former teammate LaMarr Woodley was constantly in his ear about working hard.

The Pro Bowl linebacker took Graham under his wing with the Wolverines before being drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.

Three years later, Woodley happens to be the player Graham is most often compared to by scouts leading into April's NFL draft. The non-stop motor and ability to get to the quarterback are all traits both players share, and Graham credits a lot of that to Woodley.

"That was somebody who taught me a lot and showed me the ropes when I first got up [to Michigan]," Graham said. "I thank him, because a lot of older guys won't really help you as much as he helped me. So I [owe] a lot to him.

"I feel good that they compare me to him, because he's doing great in the league."

Graham was a standout on a Michigan defense that wasn't as dominant as recent years. But a stellar performance in the Senior Bowl put Graham on the map as a likely first-round pick.

The knock on Graham is his size, but teams love just about everything else.

Graham has the versatility to switch to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and could be a potential target for teams like the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. His passion for football also shows on film and in interviews.

"I'm going to give it 100 percent every play," Graham said. "No matter what size I am, I'm going to get to the ball and I'm going to cause havoc."

Sounds a lot like his mentor in Pittsburgh, doesn't it?