Philadelphia has become a changed city after Feb. 4. The way that lifelong fans of the team came together in utter disbelief was mesmerizing. This was a historic moment, and Philly wasn’t going to just let it go. However, our excitement got the best of the city. Light posts fell, signs were ripped out of the ground, and of course, green was everywhere. In the following days, Eagles chants could be heard from anywhere in the city. Even now, long after the season has ended, mentions of the victory can be heard at any Philly sports event. Chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles” can be heard even after a Sixers or Phillies win. But, in terms of the team, they have moved onto this upcoming 2019 season and offseason moves, which include the 2018 NFL Draft.
Before the draft, the Eagles made some key moves in free agency. They picked up defensive end Michael Bennett, who despite being involved in a controversy after Super Bowl LI, would be a key addition to an already strong Eagles defensive line. The line did lose Vinny Curry in the offseason, but Bennett’s 8.5 sacks last season and very large presence on the field will provide another level of dominance to the defense. They also signed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Mike Wallace, who will add to an already superior WR group including Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, both of whom added greatly to the success of the Eagles offense last season.
Yes, after winning a Super Bowl, the Eagles have the last pick in each round, but coincidently, the Eagles gave up their first round pick to the Baltimore Ravens, who picked up quarterback Lamar Jackson. This allowed the Eagles to gain a second round pick, which they had lost along with their third-round pick in their quest to get Carson Wentz in 2016. They used this pick extremely well and acquired tight end Dallas Goedert from South Dakota State University. Although they already have Zach Ertz, Goedert will allow the team to go into what’s called a two tight-end set, where there are two tight ends on the field. If both Ertz and Goedert go out for a pass, it is very hard to cover and provides a way to alleviate the pressure off Wentz. Goedert also makes some amazing catches, which will makes the Birds an even stronger threat in the red zone.
With two picks in the fourth round, the Eagles selected cornerback Avonte Maddox and defensive end Josh Sweat. Maddox adds to an already stacked Eagles secondary including Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones IV and Rasul Douglas. However, the Eagles lack a slot cornerback, and Maddox can fill in that hole. He may not be the tallest cornerback at only 5-foot-9-inches, but he makes up for it with speed and athleticism. He will be a great addition to the Eagles secondary with the NFL East containing many short, speedy WRs, including the Dallas Cowboys’ Cole Beasley and the New York Giants’ Sterling Shepard. DE Josh Sweat provides another large presence to the defensive line, both in size and personality. At 251 pounds, Sweat provides a big blocking force against the running game, especially with the release of Curry.
The Eagles picked up offensive tackle Matt Pryor, who will provide a backup for left tackle Lane Johnson, since Jason Peters will be soon retiring.
In my opinion, the biggest move the Eagles made in the draft was taking Jordan Mailata, a rugby player from Australia in the seventh round. Although he has never played American football, he is the ultimate beast. In his highlight reel, the 6-foot-8-inch 346-pound monster is shown trucking people over and pushing people aside on the rugby pitch. He may not know the technical aspects of the game, but that can be taught, especially when he has so much raw strength and power. It is really exciting because rugby is played with no protection and pads, so imagine how great he can play when players have more protection and he can hit even harder.
The Eagles may not have had the glamorous picks of the draft like Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield, but looking at what the Eagles have, they made the best moves for the spots they needed. After letting go of Vinny Curry and Trey Burton, and with the future retirement of Jason Peters, the Eagles covered up these holes, and also splurged and got a beast of a rugby player with great potential. Overall, I think that the Eagles used the resources they had to improve an already outstanding team.