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Texas DT Ta’Quon Graham selected No. 148 by the Atlanta Falcons

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The sturdy defensive lineman went earlier than expected.

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

With the No. 148 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Texas Longhorns defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham was selected by the Atlanta Falcons, becoming the third former Longhorns player drafted.

The Temple product arrived to Austin in 2017 and ended his career appearing in 48 games, starting in 24 for the Longhorns. Graham was an honorable All-Big 12 mention in 2020 after starting in all nine games at defensive tackle for Texas.

Graham already possesses NFL-caliber strength and power, two traits that teams look for in an interior lineman. His physicality allows him to explode off the line and gain leverage on an offensive lineman. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s 6’4 and weighs around 290 pounds.

The biggest need for Graham to address will be his repertoire of moves. At the professional level, he won’t be able to rely solely on his frame and strong hands to get by stronger, more physical offensive lineman. At times in college, he showed he was prone to be shifted into double teams. Adding a few pass-rushing moves will help him get into the backfield more, but that also depends on the scheme he’ll play in.

Graham predominantly played as a defensive end in Todd Orlando’s defense, but switched to a defensive tackle under Chris Ash. While Graham put up his best numbers statistically at defensive end, he nearly matched that in 2020 while playing four games less.

Ta’Quon Graham Stats from 2019 to 2020

Position Games Played Solo Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks
Position Games Played Solo Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks
DE ('19) 12 15 29 2.5
DT ('20) 9 12 23 2

Graham’s best fit in the NFL will most likely be playing as a three-technique interior lineman in a 4-3 scheme. While he did play on the outside when he first came to Texas, he doesn’t have the necessary bend or speed to be positioned on the end full time.