Draft Class Much More Than A Fab Five

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If you don’t look more closely, you’d think the Eagles had just five selections in the 2018 draft. Ahhhhh, but that’s not exactly the way to view it, because if you look harrrrdddderrrrr, you would see the yield from a very productive draft in ’18 that helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl in ’17. Huh? Yeah, read on …

To fully appreciate the Eagles’ 2018 NFL Draft, we’ll go round by round, pick by pick, and discuss …

Round 1: The trade out of 32 late on Thursday night netted the Eagles a second-round draft pick on Friday and a second-round draft pick from Baltimore in 2019, plus an earlier fourth-round draft pick on Saturday. So, we had to wait to get some results from the first round of this draft, and we truly can’t judge this move until we see what the Eagles do with the 2019 second-round pick.

Round 2, Part 1: The Eagles’ trade with Baltimore put the Eagles at the 52nd overall spot, 20th in the second round. They moved up, trading a fifth-round pick to the Colts, and landed in the 49thoverall spot and selected Dallas Goedert


, a tight end from South Dakota State who everyone believes is an excellent fit for the offense. Goedert will team withZach Ertz
in two tight-end sets and the Eagles think that his athleticism, his hands, and his instincts will be great for the offense.

WHAT JOE DOUGLAS SAYS: “A big, athletic man with ability in the pass game. He’s going to separate at the top of routes, he’s going to use his big frame. People are going to see a big catch radius. He goes out and snatches the ball with one hand. He’s going to definitely help in the passing game and Justin (Peelle, tight ends coach) is going to do a great job with him. He’s going to develop him as a route runner and develop him as a point-of-attack blocker as well.”

Round 2, Part 2: When the Eagles acquired the second pick in the 2016 draft they traded their own second-round pick to Cleveland, which turned out to be the 64th overall selection. Cleveland in turn dealt the pick to Indianapolis, and the Colts selected defensive end Tyquan Lewis from Ohio State. No matter the price, the Eagles made the deal of a lifetime, using that second overall pick in 2016 to take quarterback Carson Wentz


. And then there’s this, culled from a conversation on the mechanics of that trade the Eagles made with Cleveland: The Eagles asked for a year of relief with that pick and Cleveland agreed to make it a 2018 draft choice instead of a 2017 pick, and in 2017 the Eagles took cornerbackSidney Jones
in the second round and they think the world of him as he’s recovered from a torn Achilles tendon. Jones is one of the most must-watch players on the roster this season in his second year.

Round 3: Remember back to last summer when the cornerback position was a worry point? The Eagles traded their third-round pick and wide receiver Jordan Matthews for cornerback Ronald Darby


, who solidified the outside. Darby had more ups than downs last season and he certainly deserves a lot of credit for coming back from that nasty ankle injury suffered in Week 1 at Washington and, hey, if Darby hadn’t made that late-game interception against Oakland that led to the winning field goal from Jake Elliott
on Christmas Night, maybe the Eagles wouldn’t have had the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and maybe … Forget that thought. Darby made the play. He was worth the move. He helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl, and he should be a better player this year now that he’s fully healthy and in the system for a full offseason. With that pick, acquired by Buffalo, the Bills took Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips in the third round.

Round 4: The Eagles look at the fourth round this way: They picked up cornerback Avonte Maddox

from Pittsburgh, defensive end Josh Sweat

from Florida State, and running back Jay Ajayi
last November from the Miami Dolphins. Would the Eagles have won the Super Bowl without Ajayi? Debatable. Everyone agrees that he absolutely helped, and the price was OK to pay for the reward. As for Maddox and Sweat, the Eagles think they’ve helped their defense for the future. By the way, the Eagles dealt that pick, which they originally acquired from New England in the Eric Rowe trade of 2016, to Miami and the Dolphins selected running back Kalen Ballage from Arizona State.

WHAT JOE DOUGLAS SAYS: “He played outside, he played some inside, he blitzed, he covered, he did a little bit of everything for the (University of Pittsburgh) Panthers’ defense. His versatility and his competitiveness are going to be assets for the City of Philadelphia.”

Five picks later, the Eagles selected Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat. He comes in and competes at a loaded position. The Eagles could not pass on the “best man on their board” at that point in the draft.

WHAT JOE DOUGLAS SAYS:“Unbelievable measurables. A kid that we feel good about. We’ll throw him into the mix at defensive end. He has a great first step. He’s going to really challenge upfield as an edge rusher.”

Round 5: No draft choices. Butttttttttt …. The Eagles used a pick acquired from Seattle in last summer’s trade that send offensive lineman Matt Tobin to Seattle to send back to the Seahawks in the deal that brought defensive end Michael Bennett

to Philadelphia. The Eagles have high hopes for Bennett, a veteran who is versatile and has a history of high production. Seattle traded that pick to Denver, which selected tight end Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin. The Eagles’ draft pick that round went to the Colts in the deal that the Eagles made to draft Goedert. The Colts used that pick to take Mississippi running back Jordan Wilkins.

Round 6: The Eagles stayed true to their board and looked at the line of scrimmage – and the future. They selected Texas Christian University guard/tackle Matt Pryor here and think he can become an effective lineman at this level. He isn’t going to win a starting job now, but who knows what happens down the line?

WHAT JOE DOUGLAS SAYS: “Another versatile player. A guy that can help us out and flex at guard and tackle. A unique size, mass and length, a guy who can put guys on the ground without really trying at times. He’s just a massive man. He’s going to help us at the point of attack.”

Round 7: The Eagles are looking down the line here – way down the line. They moved up in the seventh round, giving up their own seventh-round pick and a seventh-round pick in 2019, to take Australian rugby star Jordan Mailata, a 6-8, 346-pound specimen who has trained at IMG Academy in Florida for months hoping to hear his name called during the draft. He heard it, as the Eagles moved up from pick 250 to pick 233 to make sure they had a chance at Mailata and his wonderous athletic skills after seeing him at a regional combine in Tampa. He’s never played American football, but the Eagles are excited to work with him and see what they can develop.

WHAT JOE DOUGLAS SAYS: “It’s going to be a transition for him. He’s never played American football. But he’s a guy that we feel has the makeup that we look for as an Eagle, and certainly has the athletic profile. Jeff Stoutland went down there (to Tampa) to work him out and couldn’t have been more excited.”

After the draft, the Eagles announced that they agreed to terms with running back/kick returner Darren Sproles to bring him back for another season. Sproles fills the need for a punt return man and he helps the Eagles with potential mismatches in the passing game.

They aren’t done yet, because we know they are always working the roster. On paper, it says the Eagles have a five-man draft class in 2018. Reality says the Eagles added a whole lot more.

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