- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big Ten postseason player rankings, based on past performance and future potential, end with ...
Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan, Sr., 6-2, 263
Preseason rank: 10
Why he's here: These rankings try to blend performance at the college level with potential at the NFL level, and no Big Ten player satisfied those requirements quite like Graham in 2009. The Big Ten's co-MVP was one of the nation's most productive players at any position. He led the nation in tackles for loss with 26.5, ranked 14th with 10.5 sacks, forced two fumbles, blocked two kicks and had a fumble recovery. The senior returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and had nine games with multiple tackles for loss.
Some will undoubtedly knock this pick because Graham played on a subpar team with a very poor defense. But in many ways, his season was even more impressive because opposing offenses geared their protection schemes toward stopping him and still couldn't. Graham affected the game as much as one defender could, but he just didn't get much help from his teammates.
Any doubts about Graham's pro potential were squashed during the Senior Bowl, where he earned MVP honors after recording two sacks, three total tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He doesn't have incredible size but makes up with relentless effort and by simply making plays every time he's out on the field. The Big Ten boasted a ton of elite defenders this year, especially in the front seven, but Graham tops my list. I'd be surprised if he isn't selected in the first round in April's draft.
No. 29: Northwestern DE Corey Wootton
No. 27: Ohio State LG Justin Boren
No. 26: Iowa S Tyler Sash
No. 24: Penn State C Stefen Wisniewski
No. 23: Michigan CB Donovan Warren
No. 22: Northwestern CB Sherrick McManis
No. 21: Ohio State DE Thaddeus Gibson
No. 20: Indiana DE Jammie Kirlew
No. 19: Iowa LB Pat Angerer
No. 18: Wisconsin DE O'Brien Schofield
No. 16: Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan
No. 14: Iowa CB Amari Spievey
No. 12: Penn State LB Sean Lee
No. 11: Ohio State S Kurt Coleman
No. 7: Ohio State DL Cameron Heyward
No. 6: Penn State LB Navorro Bowman
No. 5: Michigan State LB Greg Jones
No. 4: Iowa LT Bryan Bulaga
No. 3: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn
No. 2: Penn State DT Jared Odrick
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer