It was a rather quiet draft for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. They didn’t have many picks, but they also don’t need them. As Super Bowl champs, they already had a roster that is proven to be successful, and they only added talent in the offseason. Regardless, they still managed to orchestrate an excellent draft and gather a few players to hopefully set them up for sustained success.
2018 Draft Review for the Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles picks are as follows:
2nd – No. 49 – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
4th – No. 125 – Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh
4th – No. 130 – Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
6th – No. 206 – Matt Pryor, OT, TCU
7th – No. 233 – Jordan Mailata, OT, Australian rugby player
Philadelphia’s draft haul might seem rather bare, but there is actually a lot more to it. They traded away many of their picks for starters on the team now.
This year’s second round pick was used to move up and select quarterback Carson Wentz in the 2016 draft. They traded their third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills to acquire Ronald Darby before the 2017 season started. They also gave up a fourth-round pick to get Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins before the trade deadline. Finally, they dealt their fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in the trade for Michael Bennett this offseason.
They regained a second round pick, along with a fourth by trading their first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles also get the Ravens second-round selection next season.
The Eagles only had one pick in the first two days, so their best player is not tough to choose at all. Dallas Goedart, taken in the second round is probably the only sure-fire player to make an impact. While it may surprise some that they used their top pick on a tight end when they already have Zach Ertz, one of the top tight ends on their roster, it should not.
Philadelphia is a team that loves targeting its tight ends. Their 165 targets to tight ends were second only to the Kansas City Chiefs. Ertz absorbed a whopping 110 of those targets, but their second and third tight ends, Trey Burton and Brent Celek combined for 53 targets. Neither of those two is on the team anymore. Goedart has a shot at significant playing time this season as the Eagles TE2.
Josh Sweat is a classic example of a first-round talent who falls due to injury. Sweat suffered a knee injury in his senior year of high school, but was still highly recruited, and made a decent impact in his Freshman year with the Florida State Seminoles. He had knee surgery again before his sophomore season and was limited to just eight games. He flashes dominance at times, and if not for injury concerns, would have been drafted much higher.
A knock on him is that he seems to not give full effort on every play. Some scouts worry that it may not be as much from lack of effort as lingering effects from his knee injuries. Sometimes he seems to limp around after plays, raising huge red flags about how long he will actually be able to play in the NFL. If he is able to put his injuries behind him, he could become a steal for the Eagles in the fourth round.
Wait and See
The player that looks to be the most boom or bust in the draft is a sixth-round pick, Matt Pryor. At 6’7” and 332 pounds Pryor is a monster of a man. He has an arm length of about 36 inches wide and huge 11.5-inch hands. His problem is motivation and discipline. He struggles to keep his weight down, and is not very athletic.
Sometimes players turn it around as pros. If Pryor decides to give football his all now that he’s out of college, he could quickly become a productive tackle in the league. The good thing is that Philly already has Lane Johnson and Jason Peters to lock things down while the coaching staff tries to develop him. He’s someone to check back on in a few seasons.
It’s not often that a player is drafted in the NFL after never playing a down of organized football in their entire lives. Well, the Eagles decided to take a chance on Australian Rugby player Jordan Mailata. He is even bigger than Pryor (6’8’’ 346 pounds) but is also wickedly athletic. Check out some footage of him making his fellow Rugby players looks silly:
The Eagles drafted Jordan Mailata, a 6-foot-8, 346-pound rugby stud from Australia. pic.twitter.com/G1PXGpxJJq
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 28, 2018
Like Pryor, Mailata is going to be a developmental prospect who shouldn’t see any live action for a long time. Since they only used a seventh-round pick on him, he is low risk, but very high reward. When you’re the Super Bowl Champs though, you can take chances on these types of players.
Most Likely to Make an Immediate Impact
While it may seem easy to say that Eagles top pick Goedart will have the most impact, as a rookie, that probably won’t be the case. As the second tight end, Goedart will probably have to refine his blocking, and even as a patch catcher, it’s rare to see a rookie tight end make much of an impact. Fourth-round cornerback Avonte Maddox is actually in a better position to contribute.
Maddox is an undersized corner who makes up for it with his feisty play. His former coaches raved about his work ethic and effort, and he finished his college career with 51 passes defended and eight interceptions. His size and attitude are perfect for nickel cornerback duties. Look for him to see the field quickly, and surprise a lot of people with his play.
The Eagles may not have had many draft picks (and they didn’t really need them), but they did a great job as going the quality vs quantity route, while also balanced developmental prospects with more surefire contributors. They did well on the fly too, taking advantage of quarterback Jackson’s fall to the end of the first, but still got a top positional player with their pick in the second round.
Instead of rolling the dice on unproven young players from college, they used their picks to pick up proven contributors with the trades for Darby, Ajayi, and Bennett. This is a strategy the New England Patriots like to employ, and one that could pick up steam if the Eagles perform like they did last season.