WEST CHESTER, Pa. -- Matt Darwin, the Philadelphia Eagles' fourth-round draft pick, has signed a new three-year contract with team, completing the club's roster for the 1986 season, the Eagles announced Thursday.
Terms of the agreement with Darwin, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound center from Texas A&M, were not disclosed. He was expected to report to training camp Friday.
'We expect Darwin to be with us at full strength as soon as possible,' Eagles coach Buddy Ryan said. 'He will have a rough road ahead of him. I think he can help us fill some holes down the road and he has the ability to gain a starting position depending upon what shape he is in.'
Darwin's signing brings the number of players at camp to 84. He was unavailable for comment.
'We hope he can contribute something to our ball club and we will look at him closely,' Ryan said.
After practice at West Chester University on Friday, the Eagles will travel to Oakland University in Detroit in preparation for the club's first exhibition game Aug. 9 against the Lions at the Pontiac Silver Dome.
Ryan said Thursday he was pleased with the play so far.
'They (offensive line) have been very strong,' Ryan said. 'They have really given the defensive line a tussle, especially tackle (Tom) Jelesky.'
Ryan was impressed with Jelesky but said he needed to improve his past blocking.
'We know that he is good against the run. We hope that he can help us anchor our offensive line,' Ryan said.
Along with strong play from the offensive line, Ryan said the competition for starting quarterback was tough.
'Competition is really keen at quarterback among Matt Cavanaugh, Randall Cunningham and Ron Jaworski,' Ryan said. 'Cavanaugh is our No. 1 quarterback right now. Cunningham has looked good and we expect him to get better.'
Jaworski recently signed a multi-year contract with the Eagles and is concluding his first week of training camp.
'Jaworski does not have the job by default,' Ryan said. 'He has to beat out either Cavanaugh or Cunningham for the job. However, I expect Jaworski to rise to the cream of the crop sonner or later.'
Ryan said the defensive secondary positions will be up for grabs until the opening game.
'Safety Ray Ellis has shown no improvement in stopping the run. We tried to work with him on strengthening his weak points, but we have had no progress so far,' Ryan said.
He added that cornerback Evan Cooper has looked impressive in camp so far.
'Cooper is assuring himself of a job with his performance. He is smart, tough and fast. He is the kind of football player a coach could fall in love with,' Ryan said.