May 25, 2007

Gaddis Agrees To Terms On 4-Year Deal

May 25, 2007


C.J. Gaddis has the challenge of learning the toughest position on the Eagles defense, according to coordinator Jim Johnson - safety. Complicating matters is the fact that while Gaddis played safety at Clemson, the fifth-round pick (the 159th overall) also had a lot of snaps at cornerback and some at strong side linebacker. With just over two months before the kickoff of training camp at Lehigh, Gaddis has at least one concern taken care of - his rookie contract.

The Eagles and Gaddis agreed to terms on a four-year deal Friday. In the last two days, the Eagles have completed deals with three drafts picks. On Thursday, the Eagles agreed to terms with a pair of first-day picks - linebacker Stewart Bradley and running back Tony Hunt, both third-round selections.

The 5-11, 203-pound Gaddis, who can play both safety positions, has shown "good explosion" in the post-draft minicamp and the rookie camp, according to Johnson. At Clemson, Gaddis recorded 117 tackles in 34 games. What doesn't show on the stat chart is his performance against former Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who was selected No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions this year. Johnson amassed 76 catches for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns last year, but against Gaddis he had the following numbers - zero, zilch, nada.

FS C.J. Gaddis "He is a physical player who showed he can be a versatile guy at Clemson," said Johnson on draft weekend during's broadcast of Eagles Draft Live! "We're going to look at him at safety and see how he picks things up. He played at a high level in college and does a lot of things that we like."

Gaddis, however, understands full well the steep learning curve that is ahead of him.
"I'm still making a mistake here or there, but it's something that I'm definitely getting better at. Every day it is going to get a little bit better," said Gaddis after Thursday's practice. "It's more comfortable now, but they're putting in more and more stuff, so you have to stay with it or you get left behind."

Even though Gaddis came out of school after his junior year, he has been presented with a grand opportunity in Philadelphia. Currently on the roster, only three safeties have more than a year of experience - Brian Dawkins, Sean Considine and Quintin Mikell. Dawkins, a future Hall of Fame free safety, is entering his 12th season and Gaddis could potentially be his successor down the line. It would be fitting since Dawkins and Gaddis both played their college football at Clemson.

"B. Dawk is the man," said Gaddis after he was drafted. "I have met him a couple of times, and I'm just proud to have the chance to even follow in that man's shoes. We're not quite that familiar with each other, but he definitely knows of me and we've greeted each other a couple of times. First and foremost, I'm just a big fan of his, so it's just a pleasure to even go into the same secondary with this guy. It's a dream come true; it's a blessing."

But first, Gaddis has to learn the defense's toughest position and during the rookie camp, which runs through June 1, Johnson said that what the players are learning right now is mainly "base stuff until the veterans get here."

"Everything's going to be doubled and tripled (once the veterans arrive)," said Johnson after Friday's practice. "They're doing a good job. They're picking it up. Everyday there's more stuff just like the offense. We're just trying to give them the whole piece of the pie right now, break it down and give it to them again. We want to make sure to get pressure on them to study, hit their books and try to learn the whole thing as fast as they can."

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