Rookie watch: A closer look at the progress of Eagles 2018 draft class ahead of third preseason game

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We’re just over one day away from the Eagles penultimate preseason game of 2018, a clash against Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. With anticipation building, it’s time to take a closer look at the next generation of Eagles and how they’ve progressed since hearing their names called a few short months ago.

Dallas Goedert: TE, South Dakota State
(Round 2, 49th overall)

After a strong Training Camp, a preseason breakout was almost certainly on the cards. After two games, Goedert is second to only Shelton Gibson in receiving yards, hauling in 7 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. The 6’4, 220 lbs, tight end is already proving to be a red zone nightmare for defenses and it’s hard not to be impressed with his route-running. Goedert looks polished and ready to hit the ground running in his rookie season, supporting Zach Ertz as a receiving tight end and learning from one of the best in the business.

 

Avonte Maddox, CB, Pitt
(Round 4, 125th overall)

The natural slot-corner has found himself in the thick of an intense battle for that very starting role, with Sidney Jones being his main opposition. Maddox has had a Training Camp that saw plenty of ups and downs but growth was evident. Preseason, so far, has shown much of the same. The 5’9 corner looked outmatched at the goal-line against Chris Hogan in ‘catch’ technique, but made a vital pass-breakup against Erick Decker in the second half and used his ferocious mindset and secure tackling to disrupt the run and get down and dirty. The ceiling is high for Maddox, but whether or not he wins a starting role will likely come down to Thursday night’s performance…or will it?

 

Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
(Round 4, 130th overall)

Regarded a steal in this year’s draft by many, Josh Sweat has had a relatively quiet preseason, tallying just two tackles. Steven Means has been much louder, but he always is in these situations. Sweat’s burst off the ball can be seen, but you can visibly see the growing room that needs filling before he gets anywhere close to his ceiling. Sweat has to learn counter moves and he didn’t get that kind of coaching at FSU, where he seemed to be a schematic anomaly. It’s going to take time and experience, so look for Sweat to play some second half snaps on Thursday. His roster-spot security should be relatively strong as the Eagles don’t have a long-term option at DE outside of Barnett.

 

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Matt Pryor, OT, TCU
(Round 6, 206th overall)
In my opinion, Pryor has had the most impressive preseason of any Eagle from this draft class. The 6’7, 332 lbs, lineman has been mauling under the radar for way too long. Pryor looked consistent and powerful during Training Camp and although there were a few wobbles against bull rushes, his athleticism in run blocking is just outstanding. It’s early days, but Pryor looks the part and plays like it too.

Again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After talking with him earlier in the offseason, his work ethic, hunger and humility all stood out. The Eagles lack interior guard depth and Pryor brings a wealth of potential to the table, along with the versatility to play outside if needed.

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

 

Jordan Mailata, OT, Australia
(Round 7, 233rd overall)

The early talk out of the NovaCare Complex was that of a stark realization. As big, intimidating and freakishly athletic as Mailata is, the Australian has literally only started watching, learning and playing the sport of Football THIS YEAR. However, after breaking down the tape, I think it’s safe to say Jeff Stoutland has a true project on his hands with a tremendous upside.

Mailata continued his strong form against the Patriots, allowing one quarterback hit on four pass-blocking snaps. It’s interesting that he didn’t play more, but Mailata is bound to eat up the snap count in game four of the preseason and given how far he’s already come, it’s hard to see the Eagles leaving him off the 53, exposing him to the waivers.

 

Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

 

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