PHILADELPHIA – If you watched carefully this summer, you’d swear you were watching a rematch of an SEC championship game or even a national championship game.
On offense, the quarterbacks are Alabama starter Jalen Hurts, wide receiver Devonta Smith and offensive lineman Landon Dickerson and third-round draft pick Tyler Stein.
On defense, there are Georgia players in defensive lineman Jordan Davis and first-round picks in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, linebacker Nakobe Dean and cornerback Kelly Ringo in the fourth round.
You can also throw in former Georgia running back De’Andre Swift, whom the Eagles traded to the Detroit Lions on Saturday, and Alabama cornerback Josh Jobe, who signed with the Eagles last year as an undrafted free agent. .
Eagles coach Nick Siriani laughed, “We’re just trying to set up a good game on these scrimmages in the preseason.”
And, oh, the ability to fuck.
Ringo said, “It certainly depends on the different types of personalities on the field, but I don’t mind.” “I’m definitely a competitor, and I do what it takes to win.”
But there’s more to the Eagles’ strategy to reschedule a national championship game between two perennial SEC and national powers that have won the last three FBS championships.
All of these players have been drafted since 2020, with five Georgia players coming in the final two drafts — Carter, Nolan Smith and Ringo this year, and Davis and Dean in 2022.
Swift was drafted by the Lions in the second round in 2020. This was the same round in which Hurts, who played his senior year at Oklahoma, was drafted. Devonta Smith and Dickerson came in 2021, and Stein this year.
Prior to this, the Eagles had not drafted anyone from Georgia since Brandon Boykin in the fourth round in 2012, and no one from Alabama since wide receiver Freddy Mills in the fifth round in 2002.
Now, the Eagles can’t get enough of those Crimson Tide and Bulldogs players.
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for more than just schools
Many of the players taken from those schools play the two positions that hold the most importance in the Eagles’ draft – the offensive and defensive lines.
This draft was no different. The Eagles came in with three defensive linemen – Georgia’s two stars in the first round and Texas’ Mojo Ojomo in the seventh. They added another offensive lineman in Steen, who joins Dickerson, entrenched at left guard in the first of several Pro Bowl seasons.
“We want to build a team with an O-line and a D-line,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “And it was important for us to make a statement in this draft, this offseason, that this is how we believe we’re going to win.”
Sure, it sounds like Roseman just sent his entire scouting staff to Georgia.
“I’m not trying to overshadow (the scouts) because they do a great job, but I went to Georgia last year, and I remember coming back, and (Siriani) was like, ‘Who did you like there? “
“And I’m like, I don’t know — the whole defense.”
Then, comparing the Eagles to the English Premier League in soccer, Roseman said: “I was worried that if we take more guys from Georgia they’re going to put us back in the SEC.”
Roseman, anyway, traded for Ringo in the fourth round on Saturday, then minutes later with the Lions for Swift.
This is not an accident.
But that logic applies to success at the NFL level as well. Winning is winning.
Sidney Brown, the Eagles’ third-round pick from Illinois, has a lesson to learn at safety.
The Eagles have established that culture with veterans like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson, who have been Eagles for life and made it to two Super Bowls.
sacrifice is the key to victory
In fact, Kelce was in Kansas City attending the draft when Carter was selected. No doubt, Kelce had heard about the news of Carter’s poor Pro Day when he was not in top shape. It came just weeks after Carter pleaded guilty to reckless driving and speeding in a January car accident that killed a teammate and a football staffer.
Carter was asked what Kelce told him: “He’s glad I’m an Eagle. He can’t wait to meet face-to-face.”
One-on-ones between an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman are some of the most intense and highly anticipated drills in training camp. Let’s say Kelce was sending an early message to Carter that he better be prepared.
Players from Georgia and Alabama are used to that competition because that’s how they field national championship-caliber teams. And it’s also how they learn to be selfless, learn to sacrifice statistics to win.
The Eagles did this last season as well on their way to the Super Bowl.
Carter, Davis and Nolan Smith were not every-down players on the defensive line at Georgia. And Devonta Smith had to wait his turn behind a long line of NFL first-round receivers at Alabama, from Calvin Ridley to Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle.
This carried over to the Eagles, where Smith had to share receptions with AJ Brown, who set a franchise record with 1,496 receiving yards, and tight ends Dallas Goedert, Jalen Hurts (760 yards) and Miles Sanders (1,269). Combination not mentioned. Rushed for over 2,000 yards.
Needless to say, Smith made it work with 1,196 receiving yards.
The same could happen this year for Carter and Nolan Smith to work on a loaded defensive line. Ringo will certainly have to wait his turn behind veteran Pro Bowl cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry.
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Nolan Smith said, “That’s one thing we’ve learned at Georgia is that we’re unselfish, and everybody’s on the same page.” “I think if we take it and bring it into this type of culture, and from what I’ve heard from Nakobe and (Davis), that’s what we’re going to do here.”
Added Ringo: “I think in the SEC, the big thing is all good types of teams competing every day within their schedule. Wanting the best out of each other so practices are a lot tougher than games.”
Alabama and Georgia should also be among the best teams in the country next season. No wonder Nolan Smith was asked who the Eagles might pick next year in the draft.
“That’s the real question,” he said, laughing. “I don’t know, man. It’s going to be someone from Georgia, hopefully.”
Or Alabama. Or both.
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article was originally published on the Delaware News Journal: 2023 NFL Draft: How Eagles GM found the secret to making every pick the best