After moving around on the first two days of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Eagles kept it simple in the fourth round on Saturday and allowed the draft to come to them. And five picks after selecting University of Pittsburgh cornerback Avonte Maddox, the Eagles stayed on the defensive side of the ball and selected end Josh Sweat from Florida State.
Despite healthy depth up and down the defensive line, the Eagles couldn't pass up the best player on their draft board with the 130th overall selection.
"That's what he was, the best player on the board," Eagles director of college scouting Ian Cunningham said. "Physical player, aggressive, athletic, extremely long, and talented. We think there is a lot of upside in him. A great kid, a red-star type of kid, captain, leader, all of the above. He was able to play outside and inside, so they were able to rush him on third down from inside, first and second down he played outside. He's physical, strong. This guy is on the come."
Sweat had some injury concerns coming out of high school in Chesapeake, Virginia as a five-star recruit after suffering a knee injury, but he was productive in his three seasons with the Seminoles, posting 14.5 quarterback sacks and 29 tackles for loss. The Eagles want to see what he can do working in Jim Schwartz's aggressive, downhill scheme off the edge. At 6-5 and 251 pounds, Sweat has the long frame and long arms that will help him at this level.
He's got work to do to develop, but Sweat is in a perfect situation where he can learn from some of the very best, technically sound defensive ends in the game.
"I think he can kind of learn from Michael (Bennett) and Chris (Long) and BG (Brandon Graham), all the guys that we have here. He's going to fit in the room well. Great kid, great character kid, and he's going to work his tail off.
"We love his motor, we love his aggressiveness. He's our kind of guy."
Cunningham said that there is still work to be done to improve Sweat's game, as there is with every player transitioning to the NFL. He'll need more than one or two moves and he'll need to add some strength. But that is just part of the maturation process for Sweat, who gives the Eagles defense another edge presence to develop, nurture, and then unleash on NFL offenses.
"We've done our work researching him, talking to his coaching staff, talking to him and we feel real comfortable about having him here," Cunningham said.
Take a look at the Eagles 2018 draft class.