By CHRIS McPHERSON
It took only one year of college football for cornerback Rashad Barksdale to earn what almost every football player dreams of - an NFL contract.
The Eagles are making quick work of signing their draft picks as Barksdale, a sixth-round pick out of Albany, became the fourth Eagle to sign his rookie contract on Wednesday joining linebacker Stewart Bradley and running back Tony Hunt, who were third-round selections, and safety C.J. Gaddis, a fifth-round pick.
CB Rashad Barksdale Without a first-round pick, the Eagles hope to have all of their picks signed well before training camp. The only picks not yet signed are second-round selections - quarterback Kevin Kolb and defensive end Victor Abiamiri, tight end Brent Celek - a fifth-round pick and running back Nate Ilaoa, the team's seventh-round pick.
After playing baseball for two years at I-AA Albany, the 5-11, 208-pound Barksdale decided that with one year of college eligibility left to give the football team a try. Wanting to walk on as a running back, Barksdale was moved to the defensive side of the football. He started out at safety before being moved to cornerback. Barksdale started in 10 games and registered 37 tackles, three interceptions and three knockdowns. His best game came against No. 11 Delaware where he had two interceptions to help the Great Danes to an upset.
With good size and speed (just a shade over 4.4 in the 40-yard dash), Barksdale will have time to learn behind veterans Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and William James. Despite his lack of college experience, Barksdale doesn't think of himself as a project.
"I think I can go in there and compete like everybody else," said Barksdale. "Football comes so natually to me in life. I have athletic ability to do what I have to do and compete."
And apparently the Eagles agree, as they rewarded his one year of football at the college level with a four-year deal.
May 30, 2007
By CHRIS McPHERSON