Eagles’ Brandon Graham excited to watch Jalen Carter take off – NBC Sports Philadelphia


On his Big Play Slay podcast last week, Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay was speaking glowingly about rookie Jalen Carter, when he inadvertently gave the first round pick a nickname.

Baby Rhino.

“Jalen Carter, man, this kid is just very, very dominant man,” Slay said. “He’s very physical, quicker than what you think and stronger than how he look. He look like a baby rhino. You know what I’m saying? You ever see a baby rhino? And man, he’s crazy. And I’m talking about, he’s pushing folks back.”

It sounds like that Baby Rhino nickname might just stick. Because 14-year veteran Brandon Graham brought it up when asked about Carter on Sunday.

“I’m loving the name Baby Rhino,” Graham said, “because that boy is …. He is a ram. And if you get it all the way in shape and be able to get it to go all the time, he’s definitely going to have people not wanting to see him every week.”

Carter hasn’t even played a regular season game in the NFL yet but the hype and buzz around the No. 9 overall pick out of Georgia is growing.

After Carter played a total of just nine snaps in the preseason, everyone seems excited to watch Carter play in his rookie season. His teammates are pretty excited to see him out there too.

“You’re gonna see,” Graham said when asked about Carter’s on-field personality. “When he makes a play, that boy definitely going to let you know. I can’t wait to see him in his element. We played in the (preseason) games but he didn’t play long. And so now we’re going to really see how we dig deep when it gets hard. I just know we’re heading in the right direction with them guys.”

Graham, 35, is the only player left on the Eagles’ roster who remembers two-a-days at Lehigh University before the 2011 CBA came into effect. But these days, training camp is all designed to reduce the risk of injury and keep players off their feet.

For all the Georgia Bulldogs on the roster, that’s a pretty big change. Graham said the Georgia guys have explained to him the military-like coaching style from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. They run a tough program in Athens and Graham thinks that has helped the young Georgia players transition into life in the NFL.

As for anything else the rookies have to learn, Graham is happy to help. As the longest-tenured player on the team, Graham is a natural leader and wants to pour into the young players as much as he can. That includes both first-round picks, Carter and Nolan Smith.

Graham has a unique story as a first-round pick who was labeled a bust but went on to become an all-time Eagle. He as much as anyone understands the pressure that comes with being a high draft selection. Graham is happy to share all of his experiences with Carter.

“He knows what’s at stake,” Graham said. “He’s a first-round pick and there’s a lot of pressure on him. But I think he’s handled it well. Every day I’m always talking to him, trying to get him riled up. Even though it don’t take much to get him riled up. I know that I’m just trying to get him to understand that people are going to be scared of you if you really put that focus, that intentional focus on just making sure that your technique is good. Just learning the game even more so you can play the game even faster.”

While Carter was considered by many draft analysts to be one of the best overall prospects in this draft class, he fell to the Eagles because of off-the-field concerns. Carter was given 12 months probation and a 1,000 fine after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing from a crash that killed two in January.

But the Eagles felt like they had the right culture in place for Carter. And Graham has been impressed with the rookie since his arrival in Philly.

“I think he came in right away and was just open when he got here,” Graham said. “It’s been great ever since. I mean, the stuff off the field, I know he’s going to grow. We all had to grow when we was younger.”

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