There might not be a more experienced player in this year's draft class than Ta'Quon Graham. After spending four years with the Texas Longhorns, he's ready to take that next step in his career.
Graham finished his career at Texas with 70 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and a forced fumble. Though he opted out of the team's bowl game this past season, he had an opportunity to showcase his skillset at the Senior Bowl.
Overall, it was a successful week for Graham down in Mobile, Alabama. Not only did he show that he has great power in one-on-one drills, the Texas defensive lineman made a few impact plays in the actual Senior Bowl Game.
With his pro day on the horizon, The Spun sat down with Ta'Quon Graham to discuss his preparation for the NFL Draft, thoughts on Texas firing Tom Herman, the Red River Showdown and much more.
The Spun: How’d it feel competing at the Senior Bowl?
Ta’Quon Graham: It was pretty exciting, but I also was nervous at the same time. Of course, the top seniors in the country were there. Going out there and competing, while not knowing what to expect, felt good. It was nice having the opportunity to play in front of the faces of some NFL front offices.
The Spun: Who would you say was the best guy you went up against at the Senior Bowl?
TQ: I actually liked the dude from Wisconsin-Whitewater [Quinn Meinerz], the center. I’m pretty sure he played guard in college, but he played center at the Senior Bowl. He was pretty good.
The Spun: What do you want to show scouts at your pro day?
TQ: Probably just my athleticism, running the 40-yard dash and doing my d-line drills. I wanna show that I can get in and out of my cuts well.
The Spun: What was your initial reaction to Tom Herman getting fired?
TQ: I guess it kinda capped off everything from this season. First of all, we were disappointed we didn’t get to win the Big 12 Championship. It hurt when I saw it on the news because that’s not something we expected to happen. There were talks about it, but we didn’t think they would do that this year, especially due to COVID-19 and how tough this year was. It was just a hard situation for us players, and it was something we were disappointed by.
The Spun: What do you expect from Sam Ehlinger at the next level?
TQ: I think a lot of people are wrong when they say he can’t play quarterback in the NFL. I think the most important thing about him is his character and how he leads. I think he’s a tremendous leader, first of all, and he’s a great person. When it comes to leadership, it’s not always easy, and this season was hard because of the COVID-19 situation. I know he led the team as best as he could, though. I really can’t fathom how people think he won’t be able to play at the next level. We’ve been in a lot of tight, overtime games and he showed tremendous poise in them. I just know he’ll be successful at the next level.
The Spun: Can you put into words how important the Red River Rivalry is for you guys?
TQ: That game, in my honest opinion, there’s nothing like it. The atmosphere when you first walk into that stadium - half is fulled of hate for you, the other half is filled with joy. You just can’t replicate that at all. Just the tension we have pregame because we have to walk through the same tunnel, and that’s usually where all the beef starts. That game is just so intense and you never know what’s going to happen.
The Spun: Which defensive linemen do you study?
TQ: I’m pretty sure every interior defensive lineman is going to say this, but you have to watch Aaron Donald. Some of the things he does technique wise is pretty crazy, down from his quickness to how he reads play. I also like to watch Fletcher Cox due to the array of power moves he has and how he comes out of stance. Watching those top interior linemen help. I’m not necessarily modeling my game after them, but I’m trying to add certain pieces to my game.
The Spun: What’s your greatest attribute right now?
TQ: I’d say my ability to react to plays. I might not have a favorite pass-rush move, but my play recognition is up there. I can see things at the snap of a finger and react off of it.
Ta'Quon Graham should be an excellent fit for any NFL defense running a four-man front. As for where he'll resume his career, we'll have to wait until the spring to find out.
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