NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 02: Tight end Grant Calcaterra #80 of the Oklahoma Sooners catches a pass for a touchdown against the UTEP Miners at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma.

By Dylan MacKinnon

Praise has been heaped on Howie Roseman in the aftermath of the 2022 Draft. It’s an unusual feeling for many Eagles fans, who are used to hating nearly everything Howie does. But not only local fans, but the national media, praised the Eagles for having one of the best drafts of all 32 teams. And that is despite the fact they only ended up making 5 picks. He kicked off the first night of the draft landing Jordan Davis and then trading for AJ Brown. The second night started with some doubt after he used a 2nd round pick on a Center (Cam Jurgens). But then he won the fans back in the 3rd Round by getting a steal with Nakobe Dean, who many fans would have been happy with in the first round. But how did he do on Day 3?

The third day of the draft can often be hard to judge. It is full of names most fans, and even media, are not as familiar with. Which is why each pick is often followed with furious googling to determine if we like the pick or not. The Eagles did not even have a pick on Day 3 until the 5th round, and then they traded back from that to acquire two 6th round picks. They ended up trading their 7th-round pick to move up from one of those 6ths.

In the end, they made just two draft picks on Day 3. Kansas LB Kyron Johnson, and SMU TE Grant Calcaterra. But they followed that up with perhaps the busiest, and most expensive, UDFA class in the league. Let’s get to know all these names a bit better.

 

  • 6th Round Pick-LB-Kyron Johnson-Kansas

    The Eagles landed their second LB of the draft when the traded up to select Kyron Johnson. He racked up 6.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss, and forced 4 fumbles last year at Kansas. His 40 QB pressures were the 9th most in the nation. What allowed him to be so proficient at rushing the passer is his speed. The former track star runs a 4.4 40 time, which would have been the second fastest time among edge rushers at the Combine. He also put up all that production, while not committing a single penalty.

    What caused him to land in the sixth round though is his size. At just 6’0″ scouts do not think he will be big enough to play on the line. But just because he is smaller, does not mean he lacks play strength. He made that clear when he pushed around 1st Round Pick Trevor Penning at the Senior Bowl.

    But with that said, he can be overwhelmed at times when engaged in blocks. He will likely start this season on special teams, and maybe grow into a rotational weak side linebacker. Now that the Eagles have Nakobe Dean, Kyzir White, and even Hassan Reddick who can play DE and LB, the Eagles need at LB is no longer pressing. They can more than afford to let someone like Johnson focus on special teams for a year, and hope he grows into someone who can play a part on defense too.

  • 6th Round Pick-TE-Grant Calcaterra-SMU

    Get ready for more Two TE Sets. The Eagles used their final pick of the draft to land Grant Calcaterra out of SMU. He reeled in 38 catches this past season, for 465 yards, and 4 TDS. This is what Lance Zierlein of The NFL Network had to say about him before the draft.

    “An athletic tight end with quality ball skills and receiving acumen, Calcaterra has a concussion history that will be flagged by some teams. He retired from football in 2019 and spent 2020 preparing to become a firefighter before transferring to SMU, where he showed he still had it as a two-level pass-catcher. He plays with good football IQ versus zone coverage but might benefit from more pattern breaks to help him uncover against tight man coverage. He won’t make a difference as a blocker so he needs to shine as a pass-catching threat. The medical evaluations will be the biggest determining factor in where he might be drafted.”

    The firefighter thing will surely give Eagles fans flashbacks to Danny Watkins. But the difference here is that he is a 6th-round pick, not a 1st like Danny was. And also Calcaterra is not expected to step in and start. The Eagles already have a great TE in Dallas Goedert. That will help hide the biggest weakness in his game, which is that he is not a blocker. Calcaterra can focus solely on catching the ball. It’s not unreasonable to think year one he can be used in two TE sets, especially in the Red Zone. He may not turn into a star, but he doesn’t need to be.

     

  • UDFA-QB Carson Strong-Nevada

    The one thing you need to know about Carson Strong is he has a cannon for an arm. He can boom the ball down the field and does so fairly accurately. Strong threw for  4,175 yards with 36 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 2021. The arm talent is not up for debate with him. While he was not expected to be a high pick, it was a surprise that he went undrafted. Once the draft ended a bidding war began to earn his services, and the Eagles won out, giving him a staggering $320k in guaranteed money. Which is one of the largest guaranteed contracts ever given to a UDFA.

    What caused him to fall is that he also moves like a cannon on the field. Immobile would be an understatement. That issue is multiplied by a knee injury that raised major medical red flags. It could be tough for him to last in a league that increasingly asks its QBs to be able to scramble, even if it is only to give his WRs time to get open. His tendency to hold onto the ball makes his lack of mobility to move even worse. Still, for a UDFA, it is certainly worth a roll of the dice to see what he can do.

  • UDFA-CB-Mario Goodrich-Clemson

    The Eagles did not land a single defensive back in the draft. But once UDFAs started signing, the Eagles scooped up a handful of them. The one that stands out the most is Mario Goodrich. Another player the Eagles gave a massive contract to by UDFA standards. He got $217k guaranteed. But was he worth that investment?

    The on-field production would suggest so. In 16 starts at Clemson, he racked up 15 pass breakups and 5 fumbles. He is a physical corner, who is not afraid to tackle or play the run. Goodrich also possesses exceptional field vision, especially when playing in zone. Some scouts gave him as high as a 4th-round grade.

    What led to him falling is concerns about his athleticism. Goodrich is not the quickest player on the field. He lacks downfield speed, which will stunt his ability to play man coverage at this level. But he is a smart player who was able to overcome these issues and play at a high level in the ACC. He is likely not ready to be a starter, but he can certainly be used as a role player in Zone Coverage situations.

  • UDFA-CB-Josh Jobe-Alabama

    Goodrich was not the only corner the Eagles landed after the draft. They also landed Alabama’s Josh Jobe. Jobe like Goodrich, is a physical corner, who is not afraid to make a tackle or play vs the run. In 12 starts this year he logged 38 tackles (1 for a loss), 4 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions. He fits better in a zone defense, which works out since Jonathan Gannon runs a zone scheme. He has plus length which is what lets him get his hands on the ball so often to break up passes. Many pegged him as a 4th round pick before the draft.

    What holds Jobe back is his average speed and quickness. He struggles with change of direction moves, which will hold him back from excelling in man coverage. He can also be too aggressive, leading to penalties, or mistakes in coverage. He played with a turf toe injury his final season at Bama, which may have been what led to it being less impressive than his junior year where he led the team in many defensive categories.

    But he certainly has the potential to make it in the NFL. ESPN’s Jordan Reid praised Jobe’s ability to play with physicality.

  • UDFA-WR-Britain Convey-Utah

    What makes Covey intriguing is not his production at WR, although with 132 receptions for 1,497 yards and eight touchdowns he certainly was productive. However, it is his ability in Kick and Punt returns that gives him a legit chance to make the Eagles roster. It is no secret the Eagles KR/PR team has been subpar the last couple of years. Jalen Reagor rarely ever showed burst, spent too much time going backward, and made bad decisions. He may not even still be on the team come September let alone be the Return Man.

    Covey averaged almost 15 yards per punt return and took 2 to the house. He also scored on one kick return. He’s speedy and shifty, and hard to take down. I don’t know what he can do for the Eagles on offense, but with their WR group, they don’t need a pass catcher. They desperately need a return specialist and Covey just may fill that role.

  • UDFA-RB-Kennedy Brooks-Oklahoma

    We have seen the Eagles have success with UDFA RBs before. Boston Scott continues to produce for the Eagles. Corey Clement’s career was derailed by injuries, but he was a big part of their Super Bowl run. Can Kennedy Brooks be the next undrafted RB to carve out a role for himself in a deep Eagles RB room? He will be behind Sanders, Scott, and Gainwell, but the Eagles have kept 4 RBs in the past and he has a chance to be that 4th guy.

    He had 3 straight years at Oklahoma with over 1000 yards, with one year off when he opted out due to Covid concerns. In those three years, he scored 31 TDs. He doesn’t have a great burst, be he is a smart patient back who follows his blockers. A good trait to have behind this offensive line.

  • UDFA-CB-Josh Blackwell-Duke

    The keyword here is speed. He ran a 4.33 40 time, and that speed shows up on the field. But his coverage skills still need to develop. With a lot of young corners competing on this roster, to go with Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, and hopefully another veteran to start alongside Slay, it could be tough for him to crack the roster. But the athleticism certainly makes it worth giving him a chance.

  • UDFA-Reed Blankenship-Middle Tennessee

    A hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety. Blankenship has his issues in coverage, but his knack for big hits, garnering 110 tackles, 10 for a loss, could have fans falling in love with him in camp. In a currently shallow Safety room for the Eagles, he may be able to compete for a job. His struggles in coverage may limit what he can do. But his tackling ability could at least make him an asset on Special Teams. he also had a knack for grabbing interceptions while at Middle Tennessee.

     

  • The Rest of the UDFAs

    OT-Josh Stills-Oklahoma

    There is not a lot of room for competition along the Eagles line. It is by far the Eagles’ deepest position, with several backups who now have starting experience due to various injuries along the Line. Cam Jurgens, Jake Driscoll, and Nate Herbig are locks to grab a backup spot, Driscoll may even push Isaac Seumalo for the starting RG spot. Andre Dillard may eventually be moved, which could open up a spot for someone like Stills. Stills is a big mauling O Lineman with experience all along the line but is still a bit raw at all of them. he fared pretty well as a run blocker, and if he is going to make the team it will be because of his skill in that area. Eagles love versatile linemen, so that could help too. But he is likely behind the guys already on the roster.

    OG-William Dunkle-San Diego State

    Dunkle is in the same position as Stills, except he lacks the versatility having only played at RG. As unlikely as it is they keep Stills, it is even more unlikely they keep a backup who only has experience at one position. But he is big and strong, and maybe that is enough to grab a spot on the practice squad like Kayode Awosika did last year. 

    QB-EJ Perry-Brown

    Perry is the opposite of Carson Strong. He is a very mobile QB, with questions about his arm. From afar, he probably makes more sense as a backup to Jalen Hurts just because he could slot in and play the same type of scheme, whereas there is zero chance Strong can do the same type of plays Hurts does. But it is hard to see him sticking at QB. But perhaps he can follow the path of Tyree Jackson did and switch positions. His athleticism makes him an intriguing prospect. But if he makes the team it will be as a practice squad player.

    DT-Noah Elliss-Idaho

    DT may be the only position that will be harder to crack than O-Line. After adding Jordan Davis to a DT room that already included Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Milton Williams, at most there is one open spot at DT. Last year they kept just 4 DTs to open the season. Elliss will have to really stand out to make the cut. One thing he has going is they gave him a pretty big contract for a UDFA, with $240k guaranteed. He played the run pretty well in college but registered just a single sack. he is a big strong guy, with some upside, but he looks more like a developmental player. A spot on the Practice Squad may be his most realistic outcome.