Eagles Draft Picks 2018: Grades and Analysis for Each Selection

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2018

Eagles Draft Picks 2018: Grades and Analysis for Each Selection

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Fresh off the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl triumph, the Philadelphia Eagles march into the 2018 NFL draft on top of the football world but the bottom of the draft order.

    The Eagles retain a vast majority of the roster that made history in the 2017 season and welcome back stars like left tackle Jason Peters, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and, obviously, franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.

    However, they inevitably have parted ways with key contributors, including LeGarrette Blount, Patrick Robinson and a pair of impact tight ends who all played critical roles in Philly's Super Bowl run, among others.

    Despite entering the offseason once again strained by the salary cap, general manager Howie Roseman has navigated the Eagles back under the cap while re-signing Nigel Bradham and adding pieces like Michael Bennett, Mike Wallace, Richard Rodgers and Haloti Ngata. This is a ready-made roster capable of making another run to glory in 2018, but there remain positions across the roster where young reinforcements are required.

    A third running back to group up with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement should be coveted, and the Eagles could also use some depth on the offensive line and within their linebacker unit. With so much work already done this offseason to shore up any holes, the draft will provide Roseman and crew with another opportunity to add some talent and keep the cupboard stocked full.

    We'll update this 2018 NFL draft tracker pick-by-pick each time the Eagles are on the clock, so keep scrolling to see how Philly is doing in its first draft since becoming world champions.

Eagles' Picks

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press
    • Round 2, No. 49 Overall: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
    • Round 4, No. 125 Overall: CB Avonte Maddox, Pittsburgh
    • Round 4, No. 130 Overall: DE Josh Sweat, Florida State
    • Round 6, No. 206 Overall: G Matt Pryor, TCU
    • Round 7, No. 233 Overall: OT Jordan Mailata

    The Eagles entered Thursday's first round with one lone opening-round selection and none in Friday's second or third rounds, but changed that with the final pick on Thursday. 

    Philly traded out of the No. 32 overall pick as expected, shipping it to Baltimore in exchange for the No. 52 overall pick, a swap of fourth-rounders (the Eagles exchange No. 132 for No. 125) and pick up a 2019 second-round pick in the deal.

    The Eagles later traded the 52nd pick for the No. 49 pick and the No. 169 pick.

    It's safe to say the Eagles are confident some of the guys they were mulling at No. 32 will still be there at No. 49, so compiling the extra second-rounder for next season is huge. The Eagles' third-round pick is gone after they traded it to the Bills last preseason for cornerback Ronald Darby.

    The team will get one back in the fourth round—remains of the 2016 Sam Bradford trade with Minnesota—and otherwise makes its own picks for Saturday's final four rounds. 

Round 2, No. 49 Overall: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

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    Daryl Wilson/Associated Press

    The Eagles weren't comfortable with the idea that tight end Dallas Goedert would be there at No. 52 overall, so they spent their fifth-round pick to jump the Cowboys and get their man.

    Spending one of the Eagles' few late-round picks here isn't ideal, but it's worth it to get a guy who many expected to be the top tight end in the draft. The South Dakota State product is a 6'5", 256-pound receiving threat who probably addresses Philly's most pressing need on the roster.

    After losing Trey Burton and Brent Celek in the offseason, the Eagles needed an immediate impact player to complement star tight end Zach Ertz. Free-agent signing Richard Rodgers could be a decent piece, but the Eagles can't, and now won't, rely on him being a sure-fire performer.

    The Eagles wanted Goedert enough in the second round to move up, and he's worth it considering his potential as a high-end pass-catcher. More of a blocking tight end would have been a natural fit alongside Ertz, but today's NFL requires a pass-catching threat from each non-lineman, and that makes Goedert a strong pick.

    Grade: A-

Round 4, No. 125 Overall: CB Avonte Maddox, Pittsburgh

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Despite drafting two corners last year, finding depth at the position was a need for this weekend, and the Eagles may have found the perfect addition in Avonte Maddox.

    Easily the team's weakest unit a year ago, the Eagles' cornerback group provided solid play in 2017 with unproven players stepping up left and right. But they let Patrick Robinson, who locked down the slot for the Super Bowl champs, walk in free agency and needed an effective slot corner to groom in his place.

    At 5'9" and 184 pounds with a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, Maddox is small and quick enough to buzz around with slot receivers but contains a nasty physicality that will be needed to play in a Jim Schwartz defense. His work ethic is off the charts, which he'll need to force his way into a rotation including Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills.

    He's a little undersized even for a slot corner, but the Eagles have plenty of size already at the position.

    Grade: B+

Round 4, No. 130 Overall: DE Josh Sweat, Florida State

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    There's a lot to unpack with the Eagles' selection of Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat.

    Upon first glance, the pick seems bizarre. The Eagles are probably more stacked at defensive end than any team in the NFL. With more than 70 picks in between this and Philly's next selection, a running back would have made much more sense.

    On top of that, Sweat's collegiate career was derailed by knee injuries, and he received surgery on his ACL, MCL and PCL throughout his time at FSU. Those knee issues raised concerns for teams, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, contributing to his slide. 

    When you put it all together, though, this could actually end up being a fantastic pick. The Eagles defense thrives on having fresh bodies to rush the passer, and there's no denying Sweat has the tools to be a beast in the NFL. Being slowly introduced into the NFL on a roster where he doesn't need to play more than 15 snaps per game as a rookie could prolong his career and help to keep the injury problems at bay.

    Plus, there's no doubting how important the pass rush is for the success of this Eagles team. When you're already rich, you may as well get richer. The fact that Philly didn't go running back and the mystery of Sweat knocks the grade a bit, but there's plenty of potential here.

    Grade: B-

Round 6, No. 206 Overall: G Matt Pryor, TCU

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The Eagles don't need offensive line help in the immediate future, but it's imperative that they continue to stock young talent up front. After passing on a lineman in last year's draft, they snagged Matt Pryor from TCU in Round 6 this time around.

    Pryor has a great frame with a 6'7", 330-pound body that allows him to excel in the run game but also long arms to provide a good pass-blocking presence. After a star-studded career at TCU where he played tackle, Pryor has been looked at in both the interior and outside of the line throughout the draft process.

    Philly isn't getting a rookie standout by any means here, but the Eagles don't need one on the offensive line. They need Pryor to come in, prove his worth and potentially develop at a level that could make him an option to start when the inevitable turnover comes up front for an aging unit.

    Again, the Eagles avoid a running back pick here, and it leads us to believe the front office must be planning a different approach to filling the void behind Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement than the draft. Former Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough was still there at No. 206, and he could have replaced some of the power left behind by LeGarrette Blount's exit.

    Pryor appears to be good value, but the Eagles should have addressed the backfield here.

    Grade: B-

Round 7, No. 233 Overall: OT Jordan Mailata, Australia

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The Eagles traded up in the seventh round to select a former Australian rugby player who has never played a down of American football. Yes, you read that correctly.

    As such, there isn't much to pull from regarding Jordan Mailata's NFL prospects other than his immense size. He's 6'8" and 346 pounds and possesses pretty good athleticism from his experience in Australian rules football. His highlight videos are pretty jarring.

    In essence, this is what seventh-round picks are all about. The Eagles are taking a flier on a player who they can't know much about in terms of how he'll pan out in American football. It warrants a neutral grade until Mailata proves himself in training camp.

    Grade: C