Each Eagles pick analyzed: Making best of limited picks

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The Philadelphia Eagles did as well as can be expected in the draft for a team that had just five picks and only one in the first three rounds.

They traded out of the first round and picked up a second-round pick in the 2019 draft. They got one of the draft's top two tight ends - Dallas Goedert of South Dakota State -- in the second round. They got potential help for their defense in the fourth round with the selections of cornerback Avonte Maddox and defensive end Josh Sweat.

And they traded up 17 spots in the seventh round and took an intriguing 6-foot-8, 346-pound Australian rugby player (Jordan Mailata).

The Super Bowl champions didn't come into the draft with a lot of pressing needs. Goedert is a potential replacement for Trey Burton, the backup to Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who was an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Chicago Bears.

Goedert led all Division I tight ends in receptions and receiving yards over the last two years. He has soft hands and a quick release off the line.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he is excited about the ways that he can utilize the 6-foot-5, 256-pound Goedert.

"He's got some refining to do," Pederson said. "We move our (tight ends) around a lot. He's going to be a good fit for us, a good fit for the (tight-end) room. Zach's going to be a great mentor to him."

Besides adding Goedert, who along with Ertz is going to cause major matchup problems for defenses in two-tight end sets, the most significant move of the draft for the Eagles probably was picking up the 2019 second-rounder from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for their first-round pick.

Executive vice president Howie Roseman is trying to stockpile draft picks to help the Eagles deal with the salary-cap challenges they are going to be facing the next few years.

They had nine players on their roster who will have cap numbers of $9 million or more in 2019, including defensive tackle Fletcher Cox ($22 million), tackle Lane Johnson ($15.3 million), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery ($14.7 million) and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan ($14 million).

And that doesn't include franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who is going to be getting a big, big raise in the next year or two.

"Going forward, we have to make sure we have the resources in place where we have more draft picks, more guys who are making rookie-level salaries to balance the higher salaries," Roseman said. "We have a lot of guys on our roster who are making real money. We want to keep those guys. The best way to do that is to try to balance that with some young salaries."

The selection of Sweat, an edge rusher with long arms and 4.5 speed, could be yet another indication that this is going to be Brandon Graham's final year with the Eagles.

Graham, 30, who forced the critical Tom Brady fumble in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, is entering the final year of his contract.

The Eagles have two other thirty-something defensive ends on their roster - Chris Long and Michael Bennett - who probably won't be here beyond 2018. So the Eagles need Sweat to play up to their expectations.

A closer look at the Eagles' picks:

Round 2/49 - Dallas Goedert, TE, 6-5, 260, South Dakota State

Backup tight end Trey Burton signed with Chicago. Goedert is a much less expensive replacement who will be another matchup problem for defenses when he is paired with Pro Bowler Zach Ertz in "12" personnel packages.

Round 4/125 - Avonte Maddox, CB, 6-0, 184, Pittsburgh

Undersized corner who will be a candidate for Patrick Robinson's vacant slot corner job. Probably too small to play outside. Has special teams value.

Round 4/130 - Josh Sweat, DE, 6-5, 251, Florida State.

Talented edge rusher with long arms and 4.53 speed. With Chris Long, Michael Bennett and possibly Brandon Graham out of the picture after the 2018 season, he could be a big factor going forward.

Round 6/206 - Matt Pryor, T, 6-7, 358, Texas Christian

Nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters is 36. With Peters near the end of the line, Pryor will give them depth on the outside.

Round 7/233 - Jordan Mailata, T, 6-8, 346, South Sydney Rabitohs

Mailata is a big, athletic 20-year-old rugby player from Australia with 35 1/2-inch arms. Pencil him in for the practice squad in 2018.


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