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Anonymous scouts weigh in on the Eagles’ 2018 NFL Draft picks

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Insight from actual NFL personnel people.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite post-NFL Draft activities is looking at what actual NFL scouts think of the players that the Philadelphia Eagles selected.

This post features quotes from real football executives by way of ESPN In$ider, Bob McGinn’s annual draft series, and NFL.com’s draft profiles (written by Lance Zierlein).

Let’s take a look at what insiders had to say about the Eagles’ five picks from the 2018 NFL Draft.

DALLAS GOEDERT

The Eagles’ second-round pick was the second overall tight end in McGinn’s rankings. Goedert was only behind Ravens first-round pick Hayden Hurst.

DALLAS GOEDERT, TE, South Dakota State: 6-4 ½, 256. Played nine-man football in Britton, S.D., before walking on. “He’s got some Jason Witten-like qualities,” said one scout. “People think of Witten now as an annual Pro Bowler but he slipped in the draft (third round, 2003). Goedert has the size, the athletic body control, the hands. He’ll improve as a blocker.” The most complete tight end in the draft, according to another scout. “Small-school product with immense size and soft hands,” a third scout said. “He’ll have to learn how to block more and be more explosive. He can go vertical. He’s going to have to learn to take the next jump to the pros but he’s got a lot to work with.” Wonderlic of 34, improving nine points from his first attempt. “I’m sure he can get better than he is (blocking) but he doesn’t have much interest in it,” a fourth scout said. “He’s got a brain where he should be able to block.” Finished with 198 catches for 2,988 yards (15.1) and 21 TDs.

Former walk-on started three seasons at a lower level of competition. “He’s the most complete tight end,” said one scout. “He’s big and can run. Catches the ball well. Makes an effort to block. More of an athletic blocker than a strong blocker. Runs OK after the catch. I compared him to Hunter Henry.” Scored 25 in his first attempt at the Wonderlic intelligence test. “He’s getting a lot of hype but I don’t quite understand why,” said another scout. “I guess it’s just because there is nobody else. He’s just kind of a small-school guy.”

Here’s what the executives who talked to ESPN had to say.

“[Goedert] is an elite receiving talent,” an insider said. “Doug [Pederson] learned from Andy [Reid], and they had the kid in Kansas City [Travis Kelce]. They know how to use that talent. This guy is tall and lanky and a mismatch. He is coming to the NFL at a perfect time, when blocking is pretty much an afterthought for tight ends.”

I’m definitely reminded of the younger Kelce brother when I watch Goedert. As far as his blocking goes, PFF indicates he showed improvement in that area last season. It seems like he at least has the potential to be average there, which is fine.

Overall, seems like the Eagles got a good player here.

AVONTE MADDOX

This quote comes from an NFC executive:

“He’s really shooting up the board in our building. Great tester but he shows it on tape with how athletic he is in coverage. I know our position coach thinks he can get a lot better with some work on his technique.”

Maddox projects to be a slot corner in the NFL but expecting him to make an instant impact might be too ambitious. BGN’s Benjamin Solak notes Maddox has some things he needs to work on. Not to mention Maddox only played 40 snap slots in his last two years at Pitt, per Pro Football Focus.

Maddox might need some time but he has the potential to be a good nickel CB.

JOSH SWEAT

Sweat ranked 12th overall in McGinn’s edge rusher rankings.

JOSH SWEAT *, DE, Florida State: 6-4 ½, 251. Four scouts discussed Sweat’s left knee first when his name was mentioned. “He’s got (knee) problems,” said one scout. “He’s going to fall. Big time. He could only practice once a week in college. He’s a talented dude. Good player.” Suffered a knee injury as a senior in high school that almost required amputation. Third-year junior with 31 starts in 37 games. Led edges in vertical jump (39 ½) and was second in the 3-cone (6.95). Arms were 34 5/8. “Super high measurables,” said another scout. “Very, very big recruit. Had that knee and I think it will end up holding him back a little bit. He’s got the traits, for sure.” Finished with 138 tackles (29 for loss) and 14 ½ sacks. “Reminded me of the guy from there who went to the Ravens. Built like him. Peter Boulware,” said a third scout. “Got that type of take-off. Really like him (Sweat). He can flip (his hips) and burst around the corner.” Five-star recruit from Chesapeake, Va.

Sweetened his credentials at the combine with a fast 40 (4.53), a 39 ½-inch vertical jump and a 10-3 broad jump. “He reminds me of the guy from there who went to the Ravens. Peter Boulware. Built like him. He’s got that kind of take-off,” one scout said. “Best pass rushing off the edge. He can flip and burst around the corner.” Arms measured an impressive 34 5/8 inches. Third-year junior with 12 sacks. “He’s kind of small but he flashes some edge rush stuff,” another scout said. “Plays hard. Not very strong, not very big.”

From ESPN:

Another exec called fourth-round defensive end Josh Sweat a “freak of nature” who could be a “grand slam” if healthy. ”It is like what they did with Sidney Jones last year,” this exec said. “They have that aggressive mentality. They make aggressive decisions.”

From an AFC East Coast scout:

“I wish I could just hang onto my draft grade until after we saw how he does with combine medicals. If he checks out medically then I see a coachable player with a ton of upside as a pass rusher.”

That “he could only practice once a week in college” line is a concern. Sweat’s talent is intriguing but his medical situation will be monitored closely in the NFL.

MATT PRYOR

From an NFC regional scout:

“Talented but he’s got the reputation for being a little bit lazy. If you knew he would keep his weight down and take the preparation seriously, I think you would have a pretty good player. You just don’t know if he has that kind of football character.”

Here are some notes on the Pryor pick that I didn’t get around to posting over the weekend.

JORDAN MAILATA

Here’s what an NFC executive had to say about the Eagles’ seventh-round pick:

“Big dude, athletic. Someone will draft him late and he’s a project, but very much a freak athlete for his size.”

More notes on the Mailata pick that I didn’t previously share:

JOSH ADAMS

I’ll have a separate post on UDFA scouting reports but I wanted to include Adams here since McGinn had him ranked as the 12th running back in this year’s class.

Third-year junior ran the fastest short shuttle (6.78) by an RB. “Strong, aggressive runner,” said one scout. “One-cut downhill style. Effective receiver out of the backfield and a good pass blocker. Efficient guy.” Two-year starter with 481 carries for 3,198 yards (6.6) and 20 TDs to go with 41 receptions for 336 yards. One team is close to removing him from consideration because of his long injury history (knee, foot, head). “He is super stiff,” said a second scout. “Not elusive, can’t make cuts. Willing in pass pro but his stiffness hurts him. He’s an upright runner that runs fast and hard. I don’t see a very long career. There’s a place for him because he’s big and fast and he’s a one-cut guy.” From Warrington, Pa.

The injury thing is definitely worth noting here. Adams dodged questions about his health status at Notre Dame’s pro day.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who attended Thursday’s workout, hinted at an impending surgery for Adams.

”He’s got a foot problem that’s apparently going to need some surgery. That’s going to hurt him a little bit,” Mayock said. “I thought he was a third-day prospect, and I think the foot thing is going to hurt him a little bit, but with his height-weight-speed ratio, he has a chance.”

When asked about the need for surgery, Adams stiff-armed the question into the future.

”We’re going to see on that,” Adams said following his workout. “None of that was on my mind today. Just getting this over with and making sure that all of my focus was on today, and tomorrow I’ll get back checking on my health and checking on certain things that might need to get worked on.

”I’m going to talk to my people and see the next step forward. I’m going to just enjoy today and soak it in a little bit.”

Adams has the potential to contribute to the Eagles’ running back rotation if he stays healthy and performs well in camp this summer.