Hello football fans! The 2018 NFL Draft has concluded and the defending Super Bowl Champions did not keep the 32nd pick. In fact, the team that acquired Philadelphia’s first round pick selected Lamar Jackson, just as I predicted. Without any glaring holes on the roster, most Eagles fans were hoping the team would trade back to find value at positions such as DB or TE. Between their five selections and several undrafted free agents, I’d say Howie Roseman and the rest of the organization did just that.
2.49 Dallas Goedert (TE, South Dakota St.) News broke on day 2 that HOF tight end Jason Witten would likely be retiring before the 2018 season, and as the 50th pick approached, most spectators assumed that the Cowboys would be selecting the best available player at the position in Dallas Goedert. However, Roseman and the gang pulled off arguably the greatest draft troll of all time, trading for the 49th selection and taking Goedert off the board. Picking a player named Dallas, in Dallas, from a Dallas team that was surely going to select him the very next turn was so cold that Jerry Jones was frostbitten. Some draft experts claim that selecting Goedert at 32 would have still been a great pick! The young TE compares well to current Eagle Zach Ertz. He has the size and athleticism to win against most LB’s and DB’s in the league. When it comes to his hands, Goedert could catch a politician dunked in Vaseline. Unfortunately, another trait that he shares with Ertz is a lacking ability to break tackles. That said this was an excellent pick for Philadelphia. Without Trey Burton or Brent Celek, the team needed to invest in the tight end position. Goedert has posted 2,000+ receiving yards with 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons for the Jackrabbits and should prove to be a tremendous Eagle for years to come.
4.125 Avonte Maddox (DB, Pittsburgh) Philadelphia’s secondary is intriguing coming into the 2018 season. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are each locked in at the safety positions, but the picture gets fuzzy at CB. Ronald Darby figures to be the number one option for Philly, however, the speedy corner missed some time with injuries and has been a part of trade rumors since the end of the season. Last year’s second round pick Sidney Jones will compete with the Green Goblin (Jalen Mills) for the number two spot, and Patrick Robinson was signed by New Orleans this offseason, leaving a hole at the slot position. Maddox figures to be the solution. The former Pitt Panther is undersized at 5’9” tall; however, he plays with great instincts and tenacity! Mike Mayock stated that Maddox could have been a first round pick had he been a few inches taller. Maddox sticks to receivers like sap on a tree, and shows no fear in run support. I can imagine he will get flagged early and often for his physical play, but Maddox has the athleticism (37” vertical, 4.39sec 40-yard dash) to make a real impact on this team. Having him in the mix gives the Eagles plenty of depth and youth in the secondary, along with a special teams contributor.
4.130 Josh Sweat (DE, Florida St.) Everybody dance now! Gonna’ make you Sweat! Many experts are referring to this pick as the steal of the draft. Josh Sweat was regarded as the top rated high school prospect in the entire country before suffering a terrible knee injury in 2014, drawing comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney with his length and athleticism. His draft stock increased after a superb showing at the NFL combine. Sweat’s spider chart is bananas, and he placed first among defensive lineman in the 40-yard dash and vertical leap! Also, I like that he doesn’t wear gloves on the field; not that it’s advantageous, I just like the old-school style. The 21-year old recorded 17.5 sacks over his three seasons at Florida State, and the sky is the limit for his potential in Jim Schwartz’s attacking scheme. Adding this young monster to an already boss group of defensive lineman is going straight bully on offensive lines around the league.
6.206 Matt Pryor (OT, TCU) The Eagles grab another big man from TCU for Jeff Stoutland to mold. The former Frog brings plenty of size and versatility to an already impressive offensive line, since Pryor has played multiple games at right guard and right tackle. Some NFL scouts are concerned with Pryor’s discipline, as he has had issues keeping his weight in check. However, you can’t teach size, and the sixth round is a great place to take a chance on a prospect like this.
7.233 Jordan Mailiata (OT, Australia) As much as I like the Maddox and Pryor picks, I am even more interested in former rugby player Jordan Mailata. Do yourself a favor and check out Mailata’s rugby highlights, after you finish reading this article of course. The 346 lb. Samoan was constantly crashing through walls of opposing players with surprising speed and violence, often carrying 3-4 men at a time. Not having played a single snap of American football in his life, Mailata’s journey to starting tackle will be exceptionally difficult; however, his size and athleticism make for an excellent project in the 7th round. Also, his ball-carrying skills from rugby could prove handy in gadget situations.
Top Undrafted Free Agents:
Josh Adams (RB, Notre Dame) Two quotes about Josh Adams that I love from nfl.com are, “Built like a monster with broad shoulders and muscular lower half” and“Lauded by coaching staff for his humility and team-first attitude.” The Pennsylvania native lands in a perfect situation in Philly’s backfield, since he has plenty of experience with RPO’s from shotgun at Notre Dame. He reminds me of the J-Train with his big frame and physical running style. If not for injury concerns, Adams easily could’ve been selected on day 2 of the draft. In Notre Dame’s first eight games last season, the bruiser racked up 1,169 yards averaging a ridiculous 8.86 yards-per-carry. At Notre Dame’s pro day, the 213 pounder ran the 40-yard dash in just 4.48 seconds, faster than any RB currently on the Eagles roster. Adams might not see much playing time this year, but with Ajayi and Sproles likely gone after the 2018 season, having him on the squad provides excellent long-term depth.
Joe Ostman (DE, Central Michigan) Ostman ranked top five nationally in tackles for loss and sacks per game in 2017. The former three-time state wrestling champion compiled 20.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in just eleven games during his senior season. Although Ostman is unlikely to see any playing time at defensive end in 2018, according to Ostman, “Coach (Schwartz) was behind the decision. The Eagles want to use me a lot with special teams to get my foot in the door my first year and move up to play on the defensive line…I’m excited to work hard and earn their trust that this is where I belong.” From what I’ve read, Ostman seems like your typical “blue-collar” player, and a fine depth addition.
Jeremy Reaves (S, South Alabama) There are a few things I really like about Jeremy Reaves. He is a small school stand-out (Sun-Belt Defensive Player of the Year in 2017), possesses versatility as a converted safety from cornerback, and is known around the country as a devastating hitter; this guy brings the hammer like Thor. Reaves turned heads in Mobile during senior bowl week. An article on the Bleacher Report noted, “Reaves thrived against some of the biggest targets on the North roster, including Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki.” With some time in an NFL weight program and the opportunity to learn from a player like Malcolm Jenkins, Reaves could develop into a solid long-term piece of this Eagles defense.