Eagles Add to Defense in Round 4
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Philadelphia Eagles began Day 3 of the NFL Draft with two selections in the fourth round, first adding a potential slot cornerback in Avonte Maddox before pivoting to bolster one of the best defensive fronts is football with Florida State edge rusher Josh Sweat five picks later.
Maddox, a Pitt product, was taken at No. 125 overall. He is a 5-foot-9 slot option with 4.39 speed. The loss of Patrick Robinson in free agency, and the subsequent release of Daryl Worley after a recent arrest in South Philadelphia put the Eagles in the market for a cornerback, especially one who can play inside.
"Hhe's primarily played outside [in college]," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "So we're going to get him in here, we're going to get him working with our guys, we'll get him with [Eagles defensive backs coach] Cory Undlin, we’ll get him with [Eagles defensive coordinator] coach [Jim] Schwartz, we’ll see where he's at. Will we give him reps inside? Yeah, we'll give him reps inside, just like we've done with several of our players. So right now we don't know where it’s exactly going to fall, but he'll have an opportunity to work in there."
Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas noted Maddox's competitiveness.
"This is a guy that fits in with our DB room," Douglas said. "It's a group of highly competitive guys, and he's going to blend in perfectly, and even stand out to a degree. Even though he's not the biggest guy, he will attack and support. He is a productive tackler for Pittsburgh."
Sweat, meanwhile, joins an impressive depth chart t defensive end that already features Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Chris Long and Derek Barnett.
Other than Barnett, however, the long-term viability of the others is in question so bringing in a player like Sweat, who has medical concerns due to three torn knee ligaments (ACL, MCL and PCL) in high school back in 2014, is a low-risk, high-reward prospect for 2019 and beyond.
"We can only speak to our medical and we have a lot of trust in our medical staff and our doctor, Dr. (Peter) DeLuca has done a great job for us for a long time,” Eagles VP of football operations Howie Roseman said. “When he tells us the guy is ready to go, then we trust that. Then it goes down to the evaluation of the player and we were very excited to get this guy.”