Rookies and selected vets are due to report to Eagles training camp on July 27th. That's just over a week away and yet neither of the Eagles' top two picks have signed yet. Should we be concerned? That's what we'll try to answer today.
The fact that top pick Brandon Graham(13th overall) hasn't signed yet is not a shock. Not a single first round pick has signed a contract yet and the first round picks are typically the last to sign. Last year's 13th overall pick, Brian Orakpo(also a DE), missed just one day of training camp and signed his contract on July 30th. The top picks will likely have to start signing to set the market before the Eagles can reach an agreement with Graham.
The Eagles second round pick, Nate Allen, is another story. Last year, the Eagles agreed to terms with second round pick LeSean McCoy in late June. Here we are in mid to late July and Allen is still not signed. The problem is, almost no second round picks have yet signed. A quick check over at NFL Labor shows that the Jets' Vladimir Ducasse is the only second round pick to sign a contract. That will likely change in the coming days, but as of now all second round picks are seemingly having trouble reaching a deal. In fact, only about half of the 3rd round picks have signed a contract. If second and third round picks don't start signing quickly in this coming week, which could certainly happen, the Eagles could be forced to start camp without Nate Allen. For a rookie, who is for now slotted in as the starting free safety, any days missed are sure to be detrimental to his and the teams' 2010 season.
It seems like every year these contracts get done later and later... and with the expiring CBA complicating all contract matters this offseason, it seems like NFL teams face opening training camps where they could be without their top two picks for at least a few days if not a few weeks.
For what it's worth, Brandon Graham says he'll be in camp either way.
"Even if I'm not signed, I'll be there, doing the learning part," Graham said. "I'm going to be at camp, regardless. Just to let Coach know I'm serious. If I'm not there, my starting position might be in jeopardy."