The Philadelphia Eagles’ 2018 offseason haul was very underwhelming

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

As the Philadelphia Eagles turn their eyes to the 2019 season, let’s take a look back at the team’s underwhelming 2018 offseason haul.

This time last year, the Philadelphia Eagles were on top of the world.

Super Bowl champions for the first time in franchise history, the Birds were flying high, with fans the world over locked into a seemingly never-ending celebration.

On paper, the team had it all; a young franchise quarterback, a capable backup who just so happened to be a Super Bowl MVP, and an impressive collection of talent soaking up every dollar of their cap space. The world was Philly’s oyster, and with a potent injection of new talent, the team was going to be good, really good, for years to come.

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In March, Howie Roseman worked his magic and bolstered the roster with talent young and old, including new deals for Nick Foles and Nigel Bradham, and one-year deals for Mike Wallace, Haloti Ngata, Paul Worrilow, and Corey Nelson.

In hindsight, this collection was a mixed bag.

Clearly re-signing Foles and Bradham was a smart decision, as was the ultimate move to bring back Corey Graham for what will probably be his final professional season, but outside of bringing back their own what did the Eagles really receive from their 2018 free agent haul? 11 starts, 17 tackles, one sack, and zero catches.


Now a lot of that has to be attributed to bad luck, as Worrilow tore his ACL on the first day of camp, Nelson burned out and didn’t even make the roster, and Wallace missed all but two games due to a broken leg, but still, traditionally a Super Bowl champion is able to procure at least a little more talent on the cheap to fill out their roster with vets looking for one final chance to earn a ring.

But in theory, bolstering the roster with Ngata, Foles, Bradham, and Graham could have been fine, especially when you consider the team also made a very smart trade to acquire Michael Bennett to bolster their depth in the trenches.

While none of these moves were particularly ‘splashy’, they were necessary and set the team up to go ‘best player available’ in the 2018 NFL Draft, a make-or-break year for a team with a number of pieces that were about to get very expensive.

Spoiler alert, that didn’t happen.

After entering the weekend with eight picks, Roseman did some wheeling and dealing and came away from the draft with five players and the Baltimore Ravens‘ 2019 second round pick: Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, Josh Sweat, Matt Pryor, and Jordan Mailata.

Sure, a particularly generous grader could also include Josh Adams on the list, as he led the team in rushing as an undrafted free agent, but he received exactly one carry for 2 yards over the course of the Eagles postseason run and didn’t even play in the team’s Divisional Round bout against the New Orleans Saints. Running back will in all likelihood be a priority for the Eagles this offseason, and Adams will, in turn, revert back to a rotational power back, as opposed to a true lead rusher.

Which brings us to the problem with the Birds’ 2018 draft haul: a lack of star power.

Of the Eagles five draft selections, only two saw the field with any regularity, with Goddard recording eight starts in 18 games of action, and Maddox spending his time between cornerback and safety in 11 starts over 15 games.

In theory, their combined production should be encouraging, as any time a team can pick up starters in the draft is encouraging, but it’s hard to imagine either player becoming a full-time starter anytime soon, let alone an eventual Pro Bowler or All-Pro selection.

When the Eagles traded up to select Goedert, it was with the intention of forming a Patriots-esque one-two punch alongside current stalwart Zach Ertz. So far so good, but multiple draft picks including a second-rounder is a pretty steep price for a rotational player who may never earn more than 50 percent of the team’s offensive snaps over his rookie contract.

The same sentiment could be said for Maddox.

While Maddox played surprisingly well as a spot-up outside cornerback down the stretch after a, shall we say, inconsistent transition to safety, it’s hard to imagine him ever becoming a long-term starter on the outside or at free safety. That leaves only one true long-term landing spot, but there’s a problem; Cre’Von LeBlanc.

Maddox may have the prototypical size and measurables of a starting caliber slot cornerback, but LeBlanc, a mid-season waiver-wire addition, played so well down the stretch in 2018 that it’s hard to imagine that changing at any point moving forward.

Though the duo will go to all-out war over the spot during training camp and the preseason, at this point, it’s hard to imagine LeBlanc seceding the role to anyone, be that Maddox, Sidney Jones, or even Jalen Mills.

As for the Eagles’ other three draftees, well, what can you really say about them?  Outside of a few snaps here and there for Sweat, they mostly didn’t impact the team either way as rookies and look like long shots to become long-term starters.

Could Mailata make the unprecedented transition from gigantic rugby star to starting-caliber left tackle? I guess anything is possible, but that seems like a pretty big jump for someone who never played football before two years ago. Really, any production out of a seventh-round pick should be considered a bonus, but expecting a gigantic turnaround from such a massive project is pretty optimistic.

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So going into the 2019 offseason, exactly three members from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2018 offseason haul appear to have long-term futures with the team, with more question marks than designated contributors from the remainder of the class. Though this isn’t the end of the world, as the Doug Pederson’s squad was still able to make a playoff run, if the team wants to finally take a step forward, and attempt to recapture their crown from the Patriots, procuring top-tier talent has to be a priority over the next six months