Plenty of agents tell their NFL rookie prospects that, for the most part, going undrafted is better than being a 7th round pick. That is because their guy can then have the choice of the team they want to go to, based on fit and need. This option makes it a bit easier for the agent's client to make a roster because they know the level of competition. For instance, if you are an undrafted quarterback, you have a better shot of making a roster with two passers instead of four. Sometimes, in scenarios like this, agents jump the gun to please their clients and get undrafted free agent deals done before the draft is over. Evidently, one member of the Eagles rookie free agent class of 2013, did just that.
According to former LSU Tiger, Russell Shepard, he signed with the Eagles even before the final round of the annual selection process. During a radio appearance (WNXX 104.5's "After Further Review") on Tuesday, Shepard, one of nine undrafted free agents who joined the team following the draft, said that "teams started calling me probably in the middle of the 6th round asking me ‘is it true that you've signed with a team already,' and I actually got it out of the way before the draft was over." Shepard also mentioned that Chip Kelly called him to get the deal done.
The Eagles released a statement saying that not only did Shepard not "sign" with them during the draft, he still has actually not signed anything.
"Russell Shepard has not signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, we did come to terms on a contract with he and his agent after the draft was completed. We anticipate he, like all of the rookie free agents we have agreed to terms with, will take a physical examination upon arriving in Philadelphia prior to next week's rookie mini-camp and then sign a contract."
Shepard himself also clarified the situation in a tweet today.
It was just a agreement calm down people didn't become official till the next day actually .. Lol calm down— Russell Shepard Jr.. (@LSUShep10) May 1, 2013
Bleeding Green Nation profiled Shepard earlier this week. He will likely play several positions on offensive, including wide receiver and running back. He is not likely to make opening day roster.
Last year, Colts quarterback, Chandler Harnish, admitted to having an agreement with the Chargers prior to being selected by Indianapolis. The Chargers were not punished, but then again, the team did not end up with Harnish. Still, this practice likely happens more than anyone realizes, so it is doubtful that the Eagles will face any issues.