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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Eagles get their guy in Michigan's Graham

By Sal Paolantonio

PHILADELPHIA -- After failing to trade with the Miami Dolphins at the No. 12 pick, Eagles head coach Andy Reid was concerned that the division rival New York Giants would select Philadelphia's first choice, defensive end Brandon Graham of Michigan with the 15th pick.

Graham
Graham
"It was a sticky area right there," Reid said. So, Reid, who had been talking to Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels for weeks about possibly moving up, quickly got on the phone to Denver and offered Philadelphia's two third-round picks, plus the No. 24 pick in the first round, to jump ahead of the Giants and take Graham of Michigan.

"We wanted to keep our two second round picks," said Reid. The Dolphins had been asking for the Eagles 37th pick -- the so-called Donovan Pick -- which the Eagles got from the Redskins for Donovan McNabb. But the Eagles refused to part with that pick. When San Diego jumped up to Miami's slot and took a running back, Reid knew he had to make a move soon or lose out to Tom Coughlin and the Giants.

Reid said Graham, whom he compared to former Eagles Pro Bowl defensive end Hugh Douglas, was the only player Philadelphia considered worth the investment of the extra picks. Many people had speculated that the Eagles wanted to move up for safety Earl Thomas of Texas.

"When you have a good defensive line, that makes everybody on the defense better," said Reid, who has now moved up four times in the first round in his 12 drafts with the Eagles.

The Giants wound up selecting Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida. Will they now listen to trade offers for veteran defensive end Osi Umenyiora?

-- Sal Paolantonio covers the NFL for ESPN