A new era of talent evaluation: Did the Eagles stick to their secret NFL Draft blueprint in 2018?

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In the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, I decided to dive into the draft history of Joe Douglas. While it’s Howie Roseman who ultimately makes the call, it’s the Vice President of Player Personnel who sets the board and in Roseman’s words ‘changed the way that the team evaluates talent’. With Joe Weidl by his side, Douglas has helped refined the draft direction of the Eagles, but just how closely to that secret formula did he tread in his second year with the team?

Does Joe Douglas have a secret formula when it comes to drafting the Eagles positions of need?

Tight End: (Pre Eagles)
Drafted: 6
Average round drafted: 3.6

After joining the Eagles:
Dallas Goedert- Round 2

The last tight end to be selected in the second round by Joe Douglas was Maxx Williams back in 2015. While he hasn’t been able to emerge as anything more than the team’s third tight end in three years due to mixed circumstances, production and a battle with injury, he actually has a very subtle resemblance to the Eagles’ 2018 second-round pick, Dallas Goedert.

Williams didn’t have back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons like Goedert, although the move-tight end does have a similar skillset and did play in a much tougher conference.

Goedert joins Williams as Douglas’ highest drafted tight end so it will certainly be interesting to watch how he develops with such a prolific receiving tight end as his mentor in Zach Ertz.

 

Defensive back:
Drafted: 10
Average round drafted: 3.6

After joining the Eagles:
Sidney Jones- Round 2
Rasul Douglas- Round 3
Avonte Maddox- Round 4

Drafted one round lower than Douglas’ average DB selection, Maddox brings exceptional amounts of value to the Eagles. Most notably, he’ll compare to Tray Walker and Christian Thompson in this list, both of whom are no longer in the league. However, Maddox has a fantastic chance of carving a unique role out with the Eagles.

With the nickel corner role still vacant, the slightly shorter and hard-hitting cornerback will be a shoe-in to make his presence felt in Training Camp. If not, there is always a very light safety spot that is crying out for a running-mate for Rodney McLeod while Jenkins flies around the field.

His short-area quickness is astounding, but with patience being something that has evaded his play for a while now, Maddox is a 0-100 cornerback who may not have the size to get away with it at the next level. As an athlete, he’s the complete package and you’ll find it difficult to find anything other than applause when people discuss his personality in other reports.

Douglas seems to like picking his corners in the heart of the draft and Maddox not only fits that perfectly, but also ticks a huge team need in the process, giving the secondary some much needed optionality.

 

Defensive line:
Drafted: 12
Average round drafted: 3.9

After joining the Eagles:
Elijah Qualls – Round 7
Josh Sweat – Round 4

The first thing we notice about this list is the sheer abundance of defensive linemen that have been drafted, not to mention the talent found in the mid rounds. The name that will now sound familiar to Eagles fans, is one Timmy Jernigan…who was traded to the Birds last season and recently signed a huge contract extension.

Paul Kruger and Brandon Williams are two of the biggest names on the list, but it’s surprising how many became staples in the Ravens Defense. Carl Davis and Za’Darius Smith have seen plenty of playing time since being drafted, while Brent Urban recorded 2 sacks last year. Arthur Jones landed in Indianapolis and missed the 2016 season. Even seventh round pick DeAngelo Tyson was able to make an impact for three seasons before an injury forced the Ravens to waive him a settlement. They would later release him fully and he would be picked up by the Seahawks, who would also cut ties.

Enter Josh Sweat. The team’s second fourth rounder was spent on one of the top pass-rushers in this year’s class. Sweat’s high school injury concerns have evaporated in the eyes of the Eagles and 14.5 sacks, 29 tackles for a loss are enough hard evidence for a team who cherish electric defensive ends. At 6’5, 251 lbs, his rangy frame and huge first step will be another first step for the Eagles.

It’s safe to say that Douglas has an eye for talent along the Defensive line. Sweat has been called one of the Draft’s biggest steals and it’s hard to really fault that, especially with a quick dive into the history books.

 

Offensive linemen:
Drafted: 10
Average round drafted: 4.1

After joining the Eagles:
Matt Pryor- Round 5
Jordan Mailata- Round 7

There are certainly some impressive names on this list. Ricky Wagner, Gino Gradkowski, In fact, of all ten offensive linemen drafted in this period…ONLY ONE is no longer playing in the National Football League. Seven of these players were drafted in the fourth round and beyond and given the Eagles recent additions to the line, it’s safe to say that the trenches have become a unified priority.

Interestingly, Seumalo and Vaitai were taken in the midst of the 2016 draft, fitting this prototype perfectly. One year later, Matt Pryor and Jordan Mailata were taken in the tail rounds as well.

A former linemate of Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Pryor spent time at both RG and RT during his time at TCU. With a 6’7, 338 lbs frame, this strong pass-protector has a thick base and a lot of drive when pushing defensive linemen back downfield. He won’t be required to start right away, but this pick is debatably the most impressive of the draft.

We spoke with Pryor a few days ago and its safe to say he has the hungry personality that will fit the Eagles perfectly, while Rugby star Mailata remains a true project.

Eagles reunite TCU tandem in drafting Matt Pryor and he’s wasting no time in getting to work

Make no mistake, the Eagles are absolutely building from the ball outward, fortifying the castle for Carson Wentz. If there’s ever a pair of picks to trust in, it’s these two.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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