2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DL Ta’Quon Graham, Texas

Ta'Quon Graham has some intriguing skillsets and measurables that suggest he could be more versatile in certain situations than first thought.
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DL TA'QUON GRAHAM

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 290 lbs.
Class: Senior
School: Texas


He was a highly recruited and pursued four-star recruit out of Temple, Texas, where he attended Temple High School. He was initially recruited as an EDGE but put on weight to fit Todd Orlando’s tight 3-2-6 as a 4i-Technique in their Eagle Front. He battled through injuries in his high school senior season but had an elite junior year.

Notables

He recorded 70 tackles, 21.5 for a loss, and six sacks while at Texas. He played in 48 games with 24 starts. He was an All Big-12 nominee in 2020 and was routinely on the honor roll while in college. Graham opted out of the Texas Bowl to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Traits

A big, long (34⅞” arms, ridiculous 85⅛” wingspan), powerful defensive lineman with heavy hands. He was used as a 4i-Technique/3-T in tight fronts for most of his career but transitioned to a more 3-Technique (non-tight front) role in Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense in 2020 (not as much two-gapping, more even fronts). He’s an experienced and versatile player who could make some sense for the Giants in the later rounds.

He has adequate burst off the line of scrimmage and uses his 10⅝” hands to control the point of attack and pop blockers. He does a good job when he makes initial contact, sinking his hips and center of gravity, stacking the lineman, and getting his eyes in the backfield--he has solid overall eye discipline.

He does well with keeping his elbows tight and executing good overall technique in one on one situations. Has solid short-area lateral movement skills to shed & evade.

He took on many double-team blocks in college; while I think he has good play strength, I question his ability to immediately handle himself with NFL double teams.

Blockers that he wasn’t focused on at the snap would get underneath him and force him slightly off the spot - it’s the one time his balance ability was compromised, and he allowed his pad level to rise way too high.

Flashed some pass-rushing moves, mainly swat/rip/dip combo, to win the half-man. He would attempt to run around lineman in the tight front, and it left huge holes for quarterbacks to exploit--he isn’t the best at winning with finesse in tight quarters.

A power rusher with effective hands and good overall play strength to win--brings good lower body drive and some bull-rushing ability, but there’s a lot of room for development as a pass rusher.

Graham doesn’t have the best change of direction skills, and he’s not overly fluid in his lower half. He needs to leverage his best traits more, namely his hands. Developing a pass rush plan and conscious use of how to win, with his length and hands, should be a priority for his NFL coaching staff. Graham has tools, but they have still yet to be fully unlocked and developed.

The Giants ran many tight fronts with Patrick Graham, and Ta’Quan Graham has experience in those fronts. However, I don’t think he’ll be strong enough yet to hold up at the point of attack as a 4i-T against NFL blockers.

Could he play on the EDGE? Perhaps adequately, but he lacks the ideal bend and development to thrive in that area. The appeal is that length, experience, and frame, and Dave Gettleman puts a high precedent on experienced players who accomplished off the field. Graham fits the description.


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