Eagles Sign 11th Draft Pick, Only Two More to Go

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WR Riley Cooper signed a four-year deal Tuesday.

With the announcement Tuesday that fifth-round pick wide receiver Riley Cooper is finally on board, the Eagles can now turn their attention to signing first-round pick Brandon Graham and second-round pick Nate Allen.

Allen, more than likely, will be the next guy to sign. Second-round picks don't command a whole lot of money and it's basically just about figuring out the slotting. Graham, on the other hand, could turn into a major pain.

The top 15 picks are always the hardest to get into camp, and Graham recently made it seem like he wouldn't mind holding out for a few days saying he'll work hard at camp "when [he] gets there."

That's not exactly what the Birds want to hear from their first-round pick, and they'd rather avoid a holdout for the second year in a row. Jeremy Maclin only missed the first week or so of camp, but it was clear in the first month of the season that the missed time affected him.

Had he been in camp on time, he could have been much more of a difference-maker much sooner and just had an all-around better season. Graham, selected six spots higher than Maclin, needs to learn from history and get to camp on time.

At least for Maclin the competition at wide receiver wasn't too steep. But for Graham, the competition at defensive end is always intense. The Eagles have overloaded on guys, and it's like Graham could get pushed to the middle of the pack if he's unable to get into camp on time.

Trent Cole has hit spot on the right side locked down, so guys like Darryl Tapp, Juqua Parker, Victor Abiamiri, and Alex Hall are all going to be fighting for one spot whether or not Graham is on the field.

That's not exactly a group of All-Stars, but it's a group defensive coordinator Sean McDermott likes enough that he'd feel comfortable keeping Graham on the bench if he feels he's not mentally or physically ready to go by the time the season starts.

I've given my thoughts on the most recent signing, Riley Cooper, before, but it's always interesting when a fifth-round pick can make such a stir in OTAs that everyone is talking about him knocking off a veteran the Eagles are familiar with like Hank Baskett.

I haven't gotten a chance to see him in person yet, but you can bet I'll be paying attention to him from the sidelines at Training Camp. He's got the athletic ability that can translate into one hell of an NFL receiver, and the college highlights to back it up.

He might not win the fourth receiver spot as a rookie, but he's going to be exciting to watch progress throughout the season.

Andy Reid has a history of hitting with fifth-round picks (Omar Gaither, Trent Cole, Brent Celek, and perhaps even Macho Harris and a guy with a lot of potential in Cornelius Ingram), and Cooper looks like he could be next in line if he translate what he did in shorts in OTAs to pads in Training Camp.

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