BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Eagles and Brandon Graham, the first-round pick expected to bolster their pass rush, agreed to terms on a five-year contract, the team said Thursday night. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Graham, a defensive end taken 13th overall in April's draft, is expected to report to Lehigh University on Friday and could participate in the first full team practice of training camp, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., if his signing goes as planned.
"It feels good, because I really wanted to get to training camp and Coach [Andy] Reid really wanted me to get to camp, and now it's time to show them why they picked me," Graham said in comments provided by the team.
The Eagles traded three draft picks in order to move up and select the Michigan product in the draft. "I have a lot of work to do, but I'm ready to go."
Graham is expected to compete with Juqua Parker for the starting spot at left defensive end.
Graham's agent, Joel Segal, said: "We're doing our best to get him there in time for [Friday's] practice."
Eagles president Joe Banner said the team was excited to get Graham on the field Friday.
Graham was just the seventh first-round pick to agree to a deal as of 11 p.m. Thursday. Signings so far have gone slow and there was concern within the team that Graham might miss learning opportunities in the coming days as the Eagles hold their first full-contact practices of training camp, and the first since its 2010 draft class was chosen.
But a number of first-round deals have neared completion, helping to set the market for this year's top-flight rookies and speeding the completion of the Graham agreement, sources close to the situation said. Graham was also eager to get into camp after missing the first three days of practice, which were dedicated to rookies and a small group of veterans.
In the end, Graham will miss relatively little meaningful time on the field. The practices held so far have been without pads, conditions which can be especially limiting for defensive linemen.
The Eagles' top pick last year, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, sat out the first 10 days of camp in 2009. Talking to reporters before Graham signed, he had some advice for this year's first-round pick once he finally does arrive. "You can't come in here on your high horse because guys are going to look at you in a different way," Maclin said.
Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.