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Eagles have Two Dog Night

Nolan Smith

All good things happen to those that wait. Or how the Eagles embraced champions and won the weekend.

If you ever suspected the process of putting together mock drafts was a waste of time, an actual draft is proof.

Take the Eagles, for instance. Anyone scouring the hundreds or thousands of mock drafts in the days, weeks and months before last month’s NFL Draft would have been convinced that the Eagles were going to pick any of a hundred different college players as pick No. 10.

Everyone was wrong. Or at least partly wrong.

The Eagles didn’t even pick at No. 10, they took Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter one pick earlier at No. 9.

Carter was high on the Eagles wishlist and even a good percentage of mock drafts out there. But so was another Georgia player, Nolan Smith.

The pre-draft consensus was that in the chance that Carter wasn’t available at No. 10, the Eagles might consider choosing Smith with the 10th pick. Instead, Smith inexplicably fell all the way down to the Eagles’ second pick of the day, No. 30.

So the Eagles came away with two players who were not only at the top of their big board of prospects, but mentioned in mock drafts across the board.

The Eagles made a minor trade to move up one spot then resisted the opportunity to make any of 100 trades for their second pick and came away with more than anyone could have expected.

They weren’t done.

While the Jets and Packers finally sorted out the Aaron Rodgers situation and the Ravens ended Jalen Hurts’ time as the NFL’s highest-paid player by signing Lamar Jackson to a contract for $1 million a year more than Hurts, the Eagles had all their attention focused on making their team better.

They did it their way.

They picked Alabama offensive lineman Tyler Steen, Illinois defensive back Sydney Brown, Georgia D-back Kelee Ringo, Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee and Texas defensive lineman Moro Ojomo.

For those paying attention, Ringo gave the Eagles five Georgia defensive players who were major factors on the last two national championship teams. For good measure, Steen made it three ‘Bama offensive players from a team that won in 2020. Brown, McKee and Ojomo fit into the Eagles’ well-established development pipeline.

Will every one of these players become important Eagles players? Of course not. No one hits on every single draft pick. That’s why it’s important to have an ear to the ground for opportunities to trade for undervalued players.

And yeah, the Eagles did that, too. When Detroit chose running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 pick, Howie Roseman saw a chance to pry former St. Joe’s Prep running back D’Andre Swift away with a trade. The Eagles sent a 2025 fourth-round pick to Detroit and switched places with the Lions in the seventh round. For that, the Eagles got some help in the running back room to join former Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny, who was picked up as a free agent to help offset the loss of Miles Sanders.

The Eagles did well for themselves. Better than any mock draft could have anticipated.

Still, there are no guarantees, except there will be plenty of mock drafts out there to sort through.

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy, Georgia corner Kamari Lassiter and Miami offensive lineman Zion Nelson are among the players to watch this fall. Each player has already been selected in 2024 mock drafts. ••

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