All of a sudden the Eagles 2018 Draft Class looks like Howie’s magnum opus

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 27: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) looks on during the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 27, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Howie Roseman has endured his fair share of criticism over the past few years when it comes to his draft classes and understandably so. For the most part, the Eagles GM has whiffed when it comes to draft night and his record is hardly glistening. However, as we approach the midpoint of the 2021 campaign, his 2018 Draft class is looking incredible.

The only question is, how many players can he afford to retain?

Dallas Goedert

With Zach Ertz out of the equation, the torch has been passed to the SDSU product to become the teams’ TE1. So far, so good. Of 14 passes thrown by Jalen Hurts in the win over Detroit, 6 found their way into Dallas Goedert’s hands.

Over the past two weeks (without Ertz around), he’s tallied 142 receiving yards. He now ranks 8th in the NFL this season when it comes to receiving yardage, and this is in an offense where its quarterback has a bizarre refusal to throw over the middle.

Goedert has always been a player on the fringe of a breakout year but one thar has never really broken through the glass ceiling. Be it because of an injury, inconsistent hands early on, or playing second fiddle to Ertz, the stars have never aligned. However, his talent has never been in doubt and now he’s the bonafide TE1 with a promising payday potentially pending, the Eagles are finally beginning to see a consistent body of work.

Avonte Maddox

Maddox has seen it all since being drafted. Being forced to play in positions he’d never played before? Check. Scary injuries? Check. Being forced to play as a boundary corner despite being 5’9? Check. Bounce back season like no other? Check.

Punching the ball out of D’Andre Swift’s hands to force a fumble against Detroit does a great job of symbolising the play of Maddox this year – explosive. The nickel corner returned back to his natural spot this offseason and has thrived ever since.

With 38 tackles in 8 games, he’s tracking to shatter previous career-highs, while a pick, 2 forced fumbles, and 4 PD’s paint a better picture of his impact on the defense. In fact, he’s the NFL’s top corner in yards allowed and yards per snap allowed, ranking second in passer rating allowed with 76.2.

When asked about his big year today, Maddox simply responded by saying he knows he can play even better.

The worrying part is that this is a contract year for the Pittsburgh graduate. The Eagles should do all they can to keep the agile cornerback around.

Josh Sweat

He’s been held back to due to a conservative scheme, but Howie Roseman saw the value in Sweat and handed him a three-year extension worth $40M. His two sacks against Detroit acted as a stark reminder as to why he was given the big bucks.

Brandon Graham isn’t getting any younger and Derek Barnett should’ve been traded a long time ago. With some exciting young talent ready to step up in depth roles, the Eagles should look to their most productive EDGE rusher to lead the way in 2022, fortifying the trenches with some addition help that does more than simply exist…*ahem, Ryan Kerrigan.*

Matt Pryor

Pryor is no longer on the roster, but let’s not ignore him. The TCU product started 10 games for the Birds last year and while he wasn’t mindblowing, he got the team over the line. He’s starting for the Colts right now and the Eagles were to package him and a seventh-rounder for a sixth-rounder. Considering he was drafted in the sixth, the Eagles broke even on a player they drafted three years ago. Usually, it’s boom or bust this late on. Roseman getting another crack at it is noteworthy.

Jordan Mailata

The jewel in the crown in this draft class is the teams’ seventh-round pick. Jordan Mailata, as we all know, is now the starting left tackle in Philadelphia after beating out Andre Dillard this Summer and being rewarded with a handsome new long-term contract.

The Aussie has been nothing short of dominant since first sniffing some offensive snaps and has more than earned every penny of the $64M extension handed to him. This year has been a little less impressive, but we also have to remember that this is a 24-year-old man who had never played the sport of football until 2018. The ceiling is ridiculously high.

So overall we have two cornerstones with potential for four if Goedert and Maddox stay in Philadelphia, and the one pick who didn’t pan out ended up breaking Howie even.

For all the criticism that Roseman gets, he deserves a ton of credit for this class.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)