ITB: Potent Birds Offense Built Through NFL Draft
When the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, it will be a showcase of two of the NFL’s most talented rosters.
In a recent ITB, Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher looked back at how each team was built.
Adam Caplan: “Ten starters drafted. Everybody talks about how great Howie Roseman is in free agency, and he generally is, but he didn’t have to because they’ve done so well. Isaac Seumalo took a couple of years, but he developed, Miles Sanders has had a career year, Jalen Hurts had a breakout year, Dallas Goedert had a breakout year before he got hurt, Landon Dickerson’s on his way, he’s a Pro Bowler, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson have a very good chance at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Jordan Mailata came out of nowhere to be a top 10 left tackle. That’s why they’re great.”
Geoff Mosher: “There was so little pressure on Howie after the A.J. Brown trade to do much more on offense. The only way the number gets skewed to make it two starters who are not drafted is if they come out in 11 personnel with Zach Pascal as the slot receiver, that would be two. But in general, 10 of the 11 starters were drafted by the Eagles.”
Mosher: “A lot of these players were brought in, whether it’s C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Darius Slay, James Bradberry, or Kyzir White, to make up for either not drafting or the inability to draft good players at those positions for quite a long time. The reason why I say this was one of the most unique offseasons in history is because look at how many of these guys were only available because of a contract dispute, like Bradberry getting cut or Gardner-Johnson wanting more from the Saints.”
Caplan: “Josh Sweat was drafted in the fourth round, 2018, Haason Reddick signed as a UFA (unrestricted free agent), those are their two edge rushers. Fletcher Cox is still there. Linval Joseph doesn’t play a ton of snaps, but when they play their true 5-2, they come with three defensive tackles: Cox, Javon Hargrave, signed in 2020, and then Joseph. T.J. Edwards signed as a UDFA (undrafted free agent) in 2019, Kyzir White signed as a UFA this year. Darius Slay, acquired via trade in 2020, Bradberry was acquired as a street free agent who was released by the Giants and is now second team All Pro. C.J. Gardner, traded by the Saints right before the season started. Marcus Epps, what a waiver claim, this is his fourth season with the Eagles. Only three players were drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent by the Eagles, eight via free agency, trades, or claimed off of waivers. They’re comprised of five UFAs, two via trade, and one via waivers.”
Caplan: “Patrick Mahomes, first rounder in 2017, is going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s not just the physical gifts that he has, his ability to find holes in the defense to be able to throw the football is something I’ve never seen before; it’s just super-special. Isiah Pacheco was a seventh-round pick this year, what a surprise out of Rutgers. He has a very unique run style, very explosive. They’re one of the few teams that still use a fullback, Michael Burton, who is sort of a journeyman, signed as a UFA. Juju Smith-Schuster and Marques Valdez-Scantling were signed this year at the receiver position. Travis Kelce, their tight end, was drafted in 2013. And then at guard, Joe Thuney was the highest paid guard in NFL history at one point, Trey Smith was a draftee last year at the other guard, and then Creed Humphrey, second rounder in 2021, is already one of the best centers in football. Andrew Wylie was a street free agent, he’s their right tackle. Orlando Brown Jr. was acquired via trade last year from the Baltimore Ravens. So only five starters were drafted by the Chiefs, six were in free agency or trade.”
Caplan: “George Karlaftis is their starter, he’s what they call a power end. Frank Clark is not quite the player he once was, he was acquired via trade in 2019 after the Seahawks didn’t want to pay him. At defensive tackle, both were drafted. Chris Jones is on a Haason Reddick roll, he’s been great. Derrick Nnadi is an unsung guy, a 2018 draftee. At linebacker, Willie Gay was drafted in 2020 and Nick Bolton in 2021. (CBs) Jaylen Watson was a late round pick drafted this year and Trent McDuffie, drafted this year, was a first rounder. L’Jarius Sneed was drafted in 2020. Juan Thornhill, their safety, was drafted in 2019, and Justin Reid was signed as UFA this year. When you look at it, it’s pretty special; nine players on their starting defense were drafted. Overall, 22 starters and 14 were drafted.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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