In an effort to bring more competition into preseason training camp, the Eagles signed quarterback Casey Hansen and linebackers Gary Butler and Mark Staffieri today, after allowing the former undrafted free agents to participate with the team during their post-draft practices on a try-out basis.
After transferring from Colorado State and Chaffey Junior College, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Hansen emerged quickly at Norfolk State as a junior in 2006, leading the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference in with passing yards 2,166. In two seasons with the Spartans, Hansen threw for 4,277 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he will need to improve his accuracy and decision making at the next level if he hopes to make the team, as he also threw 24 interceptions. The most likely role for Hansen will be on the practice squad because the Eagles have three quarterbacks on their roster.
Staffieri played inside linebacker at BYU and recorded 54 tackles and a sack last year as a senior. The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Staffieri finished his four-year career with the Cougars with 132 tackles and two sacks, while being named an Academic All Mountain West Conference performer in 2005 and 2006. A nagging hamstring injury he suffered during his junior season might have slowed his development, but he became a solid contributor on a BYU team that was undefeated in their conference last year.
At 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, Butler had a banner senior season at California (PA), tallying 69 tackles, 12 sacks, and four forced fumbles on his way to being named the 2007 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The Pittsburgh native also recorded an eye-popping 19 tackles-for-loss and picked up two safeties last season, and he might have the kind of pass-rushing skills that defensive coordinator Jim Johnson covets.
Andrew Pluta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org