Patrick Graham isn't just going to be the Giants' defensive coordinator. He's going to be their assistant head coach, too.
The 40-year-old has been given both those titles by new Giants head coach Joe Judge, according to multiple sources. That's not only a sign of the respect Judge has for his new top assistant, but it also explains why he wasn't blocked from leaving his job as defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. They couldn't block Graham from leaving for a job that is technically a promotion.
Graham also will likely get a raise over the normal salary for a defensive coordinator, though the terms of his deal with the Giants were not available. It's also unclear what other duties Judge will give his "assistant head coach."
Graham was Judge's first choice for the defensive coordinator job from the start, according to one of the sources. They became close when they worked together on the New England Patriots staff from 2012-15, with Judge coaching special teams and Graham coaching defensive line and linebackers.
Graham left the Patriots to join the Giants in 2016 for a two-year stint under then-head coach Ben McAdoo. He got mixed results in those two years -- the line looked great in 2016 and regressed in 2017 -- but he was praised by a lot of his players. One former Giants player called Graham a "commanding leader" and a "big presence" in a text to SNY.
Still, his lone season as a defensive coordinator wasn't a good one. His Dolphins ranked 30th in total defense this past season. That's why his hiring raised some eyebrows, since many expected Judge to lean on more experienced coaches, perhaps especially with what is a very young defense that has underachieved for several years.
But Judge made it clear from his first day that he wasn't going to be bound by any labels or preconceived notions when it came to assembling his staff. He said he wanted "good people" and "teachers, not presenters" and "old school people who can get to our players." Clearly he believes Graham meets that criteria, and he trusts him enough to do even more.