Whether you want to refer to the town as Athens North, the fans as the Bird Pound, or the team as Howie’s Puppies, the Philadelphia Eagles roster has been deliberately infiltrated by that of the Georgia Bulldogs. From Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean in the 2022 draft, to the three new additions from Athens in 2023, Howie Roseman has made his draft strategy abundantly clear: take the best players from the best team in college and plug them in together in the pros.
There may or may not ever arise a situation that will challenge the legitimacy of said plan. For now, it’s a really fun prospect that is making the reigning NFC champs a whole hell of a lot better.
Eagles draft grade: A+
It all started with the birds picking in the top-10 for no reason other than Howie Roseman’s absolute finesse of the Saints last year. It ended with them adding surplus value on prospects in positions of need to round out a roster that is geared up for another Super Bowl run. More on that in a minute, for now, let’s look at the two first round picks that the Eagles made.
Jalen Carter (DT1, Georgia) was drafted at No. 10 overall, and Nolan Smith (ED3, Georgia) were taken on night one and are each likely to play a significant role in year one. Carter will slot in alongside veteran Fletcher Cox and will share the line—in rotation—with his former college trench mate Jordan Davis. By 2025 it will likely be Carter and Davis atop the depth chart and fully reunited. Nolan Smith will be in rotation as a rookie, and could realistically see snaps alongside Nakobe Dean as the strong side linebacker as well as shoulder-to-shoulder with Carter as a base end. Regardless of how it shakes out, we will be seeing four national champion teammates in the Eagles box in the near future.
Without a second-round pick, the Eagles strayed away from drafting exclusively Georgia Bulldogs in round three and took two more spectacular athletes in positions of need. Tyler Steen (OT9, Alabama) and Sydney Brown (SAF8, Illinois) don’t come from the most recently successful programs, but each bring a unique level of prestige. Steen was the anchor of the Alabama offensive line in 2022 after spending three years at Vanderbilt. While his career with the Tide was short, his SEC career was full, and he earned his way to the starting left tackle job under Nick Saban—no small feat. Sydney Brown is another piece of the extremely physical Illinois secondary which burst onto the scene last year. He comes from the same room as Kerby Joseph and Quan Martin, and brings a similar level of energy to the field as his former teammate Devon Witherspoon. Both of these guys scream Philadelphia Eagle, and fill holes on a championship caliber roster.
In the fourth round, Howie Roseman returned to his comfort zone and drafted Kelee Ringo (CB5, Georgia) with pick No. 105. For reasons unbeknownst to us, Ringo fell outside of the top-100, and landed gently with all his boys in Philly. Howie might just be the greatest opportunist in the land of NFL execs, and that was personified with this pick. Ringo wasn’t ever CB1 here, but he was also never outside of the top-50 in our rankings and there is little to no explanation for him falling as far as he did. Also, somehow, it makes perfect sense because of where he ended up.
For a lot of these draft grades and recaps, the sixth and seventh rounders get kind of rolled through. As far as we are concerned, though, the Eagles executed this thing flawlessly from end-to-end, so you’ll get a little extra flavor on the punctuation of their draft week. Tanner McKee (QB7, Stanford) was selected by the Eagles with the 188th pick and will immediately compete for back-up duties behind Jalen Hurts. For some, McKee was the most slept on prospect in the cycle, and many a talking head proclaimed him as a cleaner prospect than Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. You’ll never hear that grandiose of praise here, but he’s got a strong arm and threw for over 5,000 yards in the past two seasons.
With their final selection, the Eagles took Moro Ojomo (DT12, Texas) with pick No. 249. With Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Marlon Tuipulotu, and Milton Williams already in the fold, Philly’s DT room is jam packed, but they’ll find some room for Moro. He is an actual bowling ball of a human and adds value as a run stuffer up front to mix in the rotation. There will always be fresh legs on this defensive line; a scary thought for NFC East contenders.
In conclusion, this Eagles class was somehow even better than their last. It will help extend the current championship window for another four years, and will be one of the most enjoyable to keep tabs on throughout rookie contracts.