With not a ton of real estate to work with in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Super Bowl Champion Eagles focused this year’s draft class in the trenches, defense and tight end that really have created plenty of intrigue. Here’s a look at my draft grades for each prospect.
Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota State, No. 49 overall (6-5, 256 lbs.,34 7/8 in. arms, 10 1/4 in. hands)
Goedert is the first tight end to be drafted by the Eagles since Zach Ertz. And boy is he going to create more matchup problems opposite Ertz.
After studying Goedert’s 2016 games, you definitely notice the size and athleticism right away. He’s got great hands, though will have occasional drop, and he can accelerate a little bit off screen passes. Head Coach Doug Pederson will definitely be taking advantage of Goedert’s versatility in where you can put him on the field. His route running could be a little sharper to gain better separation, however. There have been some knocks on his blocking, but I actually think he’s a better blocker than what most people think. He didn’t seem him get grabby and Goedert did a nice job getting his hands inside to drive guys away.
I honestly had an early second-round grade on him, and Executive VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman worked his magic again to move up from No. 52 to jump ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, a team also that was seeking a tight end.
Goedert dominated at SDSU with 164 catches, over 2,300 yards and 18 touchdown catches in the last two years. Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas describes Goedert’s work ethic as, “A blue-collared kid that works extremely hard.”
Avonte Maddox DB Pittsburgh, No. 125 overall (5-9, 184 lbs, 29 1/2 in. arms, 8 3/4 in. hands)
Not much tape was found other than his combine workout. Maddox seems to have some speed after running a 4.39 40-time at the combine. The Eagles main draft brass of Roseman, Douglas, and Pederson all complimented Maddox as “highly competitive.” Roseman also said Maddox has special teams value, which obviously is key for any draft pick trying to make an NFL roster, especially a day three pick.
What also helps is this guy can get to the quarterback as well, recording seven sacks in last three years to go with eight interceptions. That made him one of only three DB’s in NCAA Division-I with seven interceptions and seven sacks since 2015, per Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Maddox was also third-team All ACC last season and started at Pitt since his freshman season.
Obviously the biggest knock on Maddox is his size, but seems to be like a guy that can compete for the nickel cornerback spot, but that’s still quite an uphill battle with the deep young core that’s at that position already.
Josh Sweat DE Florida State, No. 130 overall (6-5, 251 lbs., 10 1/4 in hands, 4.53 40-time)
Right off the bat, you definitely see the intrigue. This is a big dude and he’s LONG (34 5/8 in. arms). He’s also quick and fast with a quick first step off the ball. He definitely can bullrush and he uses that to his advantage, but needs work on his swim move. It’s just not consistent enough getting off blocks. Did well against some smaller guys, but when facing some of the bigger offensive linemen, he struggled. He’ll definitely need to work that technique in camp. But definitely had first round potential if it weren’t for the knee injury.
Sweat also has versatility in being able to play in the three-point stance or two-point stance off the edge, so he could theoretically try outside linebacker or simply be an edge guy – and it sounds as though that’s how the Eagles plan to use him. Pretty good value but health will tell.
Matt Pryor OL TCU, No. 205 overall (6-7, 332 lbs.)
Not much tape was found on Pryor either, but obviously the size is noticeable. Another big body that will hopefully eventually add some depth to the Eagles offensive line. He has experience, having started 14 games last season, 13 games during his junior season, 11 his sophomore year, and played in eight games during his redshirt freshman season.
He also has versatility, a major factor the Eagles coaching staff looks for in offensive linemen. In his 14 starts last season, Pryor started eight at right guard and six at right tackle. He also played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He was also named 2017 Second-Team All-Big 12 and 2017 Second-Team AP All-Big 12.
Sounds like a project, but it comes at the right time with the guys the Eagles currently have at the position.
Jordan Mailata, OL South Sydney Rabbitohs (6-7 3/4, 346 lbs)
Well, this pick is the project of all projects, but its one everyone will certainly have their eyes on. More so because the Eagles moved up from the 250th pick to the New England Patriots 233rd pick to draft him, giving up a 2019 seventh round pick.
Mailata worked out at a regional combine in Tampa Florida, according to the Eagles Wire, where he ran a 5.12 40-time – freakish for a guy that size. He’ also just 20-years-old.
Certainly there’s a lot of work to do converting Mailata from a rugby player to a NFL offensive lineman. He certainly looks as though he has more than enough athleticism to pull it off, but you do worry about him putting together that technique in pass protection at that height.
Overall draft class grade: B