Eagles Brass Looks at New CB Avonte Maddox as ‘Extremely Competitive’
On the second day of the NFL Draft, Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president of football operations, Howie Roseman reiterated a core philosophy of the team: "we love our defensive linemen here in Philadelphia," Roseman said when he was discussing the teams selection of defensive end Josh Sweat.
Evidently they love their defensive backs too.
The Eagles added to an already deep position, selecting Pittsburgh cornerback Avonte Maddox, who allowed just a 48% of targets completed and compiled a 84.2 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus), fourth best in the ACC in 2017. Draft analysts cite his size as an issue, but the Eagles liked his versatility, and competitiveness.
“This is a guy that fits in with our DB room," Eagles vice-president of player personnel Joe 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.”
The Eagles brass did not indicate whether he expected Maddox to become the Day 1 starter in the slot, but noted that he would be given a look inside.
"Will we give him reps inside?" Eagles head coach Doug Pederson asked rhetorically.
"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."
While the fact that Pederson's team does not have a locked-in nickel corner would lead to speculation about Maddox moving inside, he pointed out the challenge of a rookie to start in the slot.
"I think when people see his measurables they automatically move him inside," Douglas explained. "But like Coach said, he played a lot outside. One of the things that's great about our defense is the versatility that each guy brings."
Maddox does not have a great deal of experience playing inside, but has a very good college career while at Pittsburgh. While he was undersized at 5-foot-9, his height didn't prevent him from starting 38 of 46 games and being names a two-time all ACC selection for the Panthers.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock suggested that if Maddox was taller, he'd be a first round pick with his speed and toughness.
Here's what Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman had to say about how Maddox has been overcome his lack of height.
"He had excellent instincts," Roseman said. "He's always stayed in the hip pocket of receivers at the breakpoint. Again, highly competitive. So he could find the ball and he could play the ball."
Sounds like the Eagles found a good one in the fourth-round.