We’re already a quarter of the way into the NFL season. Time flies when you’re having fun…right? Well, the Eagles sit at 2-2 so there may not be as much fun being had in the City of Brotherly Love as many had hoped, but how about their rookie class of 2018? Here’s a closer look at the newest birds to the nest after four games.
38.9% offensive snaps
31.6% special teams snaps
10 receptions, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
It took a while for Goedert to get going, but he made up for lost time real quick. The second-round pick burst out of the gate against the Colts, receiving for 73 yards and his first ever NFL touchdown. We all knew that Goedert had the potential to be an absolute monster at the NFL level, but we didn’t know how effective he would be as an in-line blocker.
For whatever reason, Goedert’s output was marginal in the opening two games of the season, with Josh Perkins and even slot wideout DeAndre Carter seeing substantially more playing time. However, when Pederson finally took the leash off, Goedert showed exactly what made him so dangerous at South Dakota State.
With Alshon Jeffery back in the fray and Carson Wentz heating up, we can expect the tight ends to really thrive moving forward, just as Zach Ertz did against the Titans, which should bode well for the rookie. First-year tight ends very rarely set the field alight, but there’s every chance Goedert breaks that mold if he can keep gaining offensive exposure.
7% defensive snaps
80% special teams snaps
2 tackles, 1 PD, 1 INT
A rampant tackler, it was always going to be special teams where nickel corner Avonte Maddox earned his stripes. However, not many people accounted for his versatility. Jim Schwartz moved Maddox over the top in Sunday’s loss to Tennessee which produced a mixed performance. On one hand, there was his first ever NFL interception and on the other, allowing the game-winning touchdown in overtime after tripping when trying to adjust to a breaking route. Teething problems dig into the game of any rookie corner and Maddox is no exception, but it’s encouraging to see him gain experience in different positions.
“With Avonte playing the nickel position — there’s a lot of carryover between nickel and safety, also.” Jim Schwartz told reporters earlier this week. “So even though some things are new he’s got excellent quickness and great eyes for the football. He’s got the combination of being able to cover and being able to play the run. All the things we liked about him as nickel, we also like about him as a safety. And I think we’ll see more of him going forward in that role.”
The growth of Maddox could rapidly become one of the most exciting aspects of this season. With the pressure on the backend of the defense to replace Rodney McLeod, could the saving grace be a rookie slot corner?
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The Eagles fourth round pick has not played a single snap at the NFL level, which is frankly a little worrying. Considered one of the steals of the draft, Sweat had a quiet preseason too, notching just 5 total tackles. It doesn’t seem to be injury related either, Sweat has merely been a healthy scratch for the majority of the season which has undoubtedly raised questions. The thing is that there are so many more talking points surrounding this team that nobody has taken the time to reflect on what exactly has happened to one of the most slept on linemen in his draft class.
In fairness, the Eagles run defense has been the best in the league through four games, giving up just 265 yards and it’s not as if they’re lacking in pressures, sacks or hits. Perhaps Sweat is surplus to requirement, or perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye. This is certainly something work watching as the second quarter of the season arrives.
Like Sweat, Pryor is yet to play a snap in the NFL, but that could change soon. The swing-guard who has the size and versatility that Jeff Stoutland craves had a very strong preseason and it’s safe to say that as of right now, the offensive line have some problems to work through. If something were to happen to one of the starters, it would be Isaac Seumalo or Halapoulivaati Vaitai stepping up to the plate. There’s no reason why Pryor can’t put himself in that picture later into the season and if his work ethic remains as high as it did when I spoke to him earlier this year, that case looks even likelier.
Sweat was never drafted to be a starter right away but a strong preseason flashed plenty of potential. Pryor may go under the radar this season, learning from some of the best linemen and coaches in the NFL. Next season? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
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Similar to Pryor, Mailata was never expected to start in year one…or play…or make the team for that matter. The beastly Australian shocked the world with his preseason performances showing incredible growth for someone who had never played the sport of Football before. Mailata forced his way onto the practice squad through a series of games that showed just how far strong coaching can take you. Mailata will be away from the spotlight for now, but he’ll be back with a vengeance before you know it.
2.9% offensive snaps
6 carries, 30 yards
The undrafted free agent was signed to the practice squad after losing the battle for the 4th running back spot, but when injuries shook the position to its core, Adams was called up to the plate. He carried the ball 6 times against the Colts for 30 yards, showing that he does have the juice needed to make it at the NFL level. The Eagles were reluctant to let Adams slip through their fingers, despite injury concerns and they can only be impressed with his production in such a tight spot. He could be sent back down to the practice squad when Sproles returns, but Adams became a needed insurance policy just a few weeks ago, forcing himself into the running back picture after a preseason where he notched 90 yards.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports