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May 13, 2018

Eagles rookie NFL player comparisons: The full series

All week long, we compared each of the Eagles' rookies to current (or retired) NFL players. In case you missed any of them, the full series can be found below.

TE Dallas Goedert

By now, you've already seen Goedert's impressive highlight reel catches, which he made routinely at South Dakota State, in addition to displaying good route running ability and YAC skills. In case you haven't, take a minute to check him out:

He reminds me of 
Greg Olsen, but with better speed:

Here's how Goedert compares to Olsen, athletically:

 MeasurablesDallas Goedert Greg Olsen 
Height 6'5 6'6 
 Weight256 254 
 Arm length34" 32 3/8" 
 Hand size10" 9 5/8" 
 Vertical jump35" 35 1/2" 
 Broad jump121" 114" 
 3-cone drill6.87 7.04 
 20 yard shuttle4.06 4.48 
 Bench press23 23 

As you can see, Olsen is an inch taller, but Goedert has longer arms, bigger hands, and better overall athleticism.

When Olsen was a rookie in 2007, tight ends with potential to make an impact in the passing game weren't as common as they are today. As such, a player like Goedert lasted until the 49th pick, when he would have been more of a rare commodity 10-plus years ago.

This may sound lofty, but the expectation here is that Goedert will have a more productive career than Olsen when it's all said and done. For his career, Olsen averaged a stat line of 58-687-5 per season. I believe that Goedert has the hands, athleticism, YAC ability, and route running skills to become a Greg Olsen-like receiver, with a higher ceiling.

CB Avonte Maddox

At 5'9, 184, Maddox projects to slot corner in the NFL. Despite his smaller size, Maddox is feisty and confident, with very good speed. The player he reminds me of is Orlando Scandrick.

First a comparison of Maddox's and Scandrick's measurables: 

Measurables Avonte Maddox Orlando Scandrick 
 Height5'9 5'10 
 Weight184 192 
 40 yard dash4.39 4.32 
 Vertical Jump37" 33 1/2"
 Broad jump125" 125" 

It's also worth noting that Maddox was in the 97th percentile among corners competing at the Combine since 1999 in the 3-cone drill and the 99th percentile in the 60 yard shuttle.

Scandrick has been in the NFL for nine years, all with Dallas, before they released him this offseason. He's now with the Redskins. Like Maddox, he is undersized, speedy, and feisty.

One thing that has stood out about Scandrick's game over the last decade is his ability to blitz from his slot corner position. In fact, in our Cowboys dumpster fire post a couple summers ago, we goofed on Dallas' pass rush because Scandrick was (at the time) their active leader in career sacks, but obviously, that wasn't meant to slight Scandrick.

Maddox has that in his game as well. In 2017, he had 4 sacks. In 2016, he had 2.5. The following is a breakdown by Fran Duffy and Greg Cosell on Maddox. The entire thing is good (and worth your time), but I have it set below to begin where they show Maddox's blitzing savvy:

If Maddox can carve out a career as solid as Scandrick's, I think the Eagles will be happy.

DE Josh Sweat

The player I came up with for Sweat's comp is Minnesota Vikings DE Danielle Hunter. First, a look at their measurables:

Measurables Josh Sweat Danielle Hunter 
 Height6'5 6'5 
 Weight251 252 
 Arm length34 5/8" 34 1/4" 
 Hand size10 1/4" 10 1/2" 
 40 time4.53 4.57 
 Vertical jump39 1/2" 36 1/2" 
 Broad jump124" 130" 
 20 yard shuttle4.28 4.47 

As you can see, Sweat and Hunter had almost identical heights and weights at the NFL Combine, with similar arm lengths and hand sizes. They also have very similar athletic measurables, with a slight edge to Sweat.

In 2015, Hunter dropped to the third round (88th overall), most likely due to a lack of college production. Similarly, Sweat's statistics in college weren't exactly eye-popping. A look at each players' college stats:

 Sweat vs. HunterTackles Sacks FF FR 
 Danielle Hunter, LSU (2012-2014)142 4.5 
 Josh Sweat, FSU (2015-2017)138 14.5 

In the NFL, Hunter blossomed into a productive edge rusher. In just three seasons as a pro, he already has 25.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. The Vikings were able to take his athletic traits and mold him into a disruptive player.

The biggest difference is that Hunter was medically clean entering the NFL, while Sweat has injury concerns stemming from a devastating high school injury in which he had surgery to repair his ACL, MCL and PCL.

If Sweat is indeed fully recovered as the Eagles say he is, and he can take the coaching he receives and incorporate it onto the field, he has a high ceiling like Hunter did three years ago.

OT/OG Matt Pryor

For Pryor, I came up with Cyrus Kouandjio, a former Alabama offensive lineman under Jeff Stoutland who was drafted by the Bills, but is now on his third team since entering the league in 2014. First, let's compare their measurables:

Measurables Matt Pryor Cyrus Kouandjio 
 Height6'7 6'7 
 Weight328 322 
 Arm length35 3/4" 35 5/8" 
 Hand size11 1/2" 10 1/4" 
 40 yard dash5.60 5.59 
 Vertical jump24 1/2" 27 1/2" 
 Broad jump96" 96" 
 20 yard shuttle4.90 4.84 
 3-cone7.87 7.71 
Bench 23 reps 21 reps 

The appeal of both players is their size. At 6'7 with nearly 36" arms, pass rushers are forced to take very wide angles to try to get around them. At weights of over 320 pounds, they are also capable of anchoring against power rushes.

The problem both for Pryor and Kouandjio is their lack of athleticism. Because Pryor did not go to the Combine, there's no spider chart of him on We'll show Kouandjio's, since his athletic testing measurables are so similar (though slightly better).

Kouandjio came in to the NFL with high expectations, but has been a bust as the 44th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was released by the Bills shortly after an odd incident on a farm. Pryor has no such lofty expectations as a sixth round pick, being drafted to a team that won't need him to play in a meaningful game anytime soon.

At one point, Pryor's weight was up near 400 pounds, but he got to 328 by the NFL Combine. In that respect, perhaps the Eagles see a player with ideal length who can become more athletic with better regular conditioning.

OT Jordan Mailata

Is finding a comparison for a 20 year old rugby player who is trying to become an offensive tackle in the NFL, and for whom there exists no football game film, a pointless exercise? Unquestionably, but hey, we have to finish out this series, soooooo... 


Anyway, I watched Mailata's rugby highlights again, and tried to envision some NFL offensive lineman doing the same, which was a futile exercise. Here's that video, in case you haven't seen it by now:

And then I wondered if I could maybe compare him to an offensive lineman who also lines up at fullback on occasion. Obviously, as you can see above, Mailata can run with the ball, and I'm sure he could figure out how to flatten defenders from the fullback position if he is able to make a team as a tackle. The player I came up with in regard was former Vikings OG Randall McDaniel, who did that regularly back in the day.

But obviously, to compare a 6'8, 346 pound tackle with no experience playing football at all to a 6'4, 287 pound Hall of Fame guard would be asinine.

So instead, I just tried to find an NFL offensive lineman who most closely matched Mailata's measurables. The closest match I could find? Former Eagle Stacy Andrews

Remember him? He was the brother of Shawn Andrews, and the guy the Eagles signed the day Brian Dawkins left for Denver. The Eagles tried to hold a press conference for Andrews, while expecting the media not to ask about Dawkins, lol.

Anyway, here's how Mailata's known measuarables compare with Andrews' measurables: 

 MeasurablesJordan Mailata Stacy Andrews 
 Height6'8 6'6 
 Weight 346 342
Arm length 35 1/2" 34 3/4" 
 40 yard dash5.12 5.07 
 20 yard shuttle4.67 4.81 
 Bench press22 reps 34 reps 

I'm sorry for wasting your time on this one.

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