How the Philadelphia Eagles Built an NFC Title-Winning Roster
After a dominant 31-7 victory the Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl. We take a look at how they built their roster.
Throughout the season it’s been apparent that the Eagles have one of the best rosters top to bottom in the NFL. Position group by position group it’s clear they really don’t have a weakness and that’s why they have lost just one game with Jalen Hurts starting all season long.
Most important to their success this season has been Jalen Hurts. He has taken his game to another level this season as he has been an MVP contender and is now firmly in the group of elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
The supporting cast on offense is phenomenal and arguably the league’s best. The offensive line is exceptional and considered by many to be the best in the NFL. A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith form one of the best wide receiver duos in football. Plus, Dallas Goedert is one of the best tight ends in the league.
On the other side of the ball, they have one of the best defensive units in the league. The defensive line has stars who can terrorize quarterbacks and it’s very deep. They have a good linebacker duo in T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White. Plus, their secondary is one of the league’s best.
This stacked roster has been built by Howie Roseman who started off with the Philadelphia Eagles as an intern in 2000 and is now one of the league’s best General Managers. It’s been built primarily through the draft, with some valuable trades and free agent signings as well.
So, without further ado let’s go through the moves that the Eagles have made that have them one win away from a Super Bowl title.
All contract and trade information was found on Spotrac.
Building Through the Draft
Just like most great teams the Eagles have primarily been built through the draft. Howie Roseman may get a lot of criticism for selecting Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson, but even the very best player evaluators miss sometimes. Looking through how their roster was built Roseman has hit on impressive amount of picks in all stages of the draft.
Philadelphia Eagles: First Round Picks
ED Brandon Graham – 2010 Rd 1 No. 10
Brandon Graham is one of the most important draft picks in Eagles history. Graham has spent all 13 of his seasons in the NFL with the Eagles and at 34 years old he’s still playing at a high level.
Apart of mainly a 3 man edge rusher rotation for the Eagles, Graham has rushed the passer at elite level. He’s recorded 55 pressures to date and currently his 90.1 PFF grade is tied for the fourth highest in the league for edge rushers.
DL Fletcher Cox – 2012 Rd 1 No. 12
Fletcher Cox is also amongst the most important draft picks in Eagles history as he has had a hall of fame level career. Cox is a six-time pro bowler and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame all 2010s team.
He isn’t quite the player that he once was anymore as he’s 32 years old. However, Cox is still an important piece on the Eagles defense who has played 764 snaps and has recorded 42 pressures this season.
OT Lane Johnson – 2013 Rd 1 No. 4
In a 2013 draft class that saw a lot of top ten picks not work out, the Eagles came away with one of the best players in the class. The four-time pro bowler and two-time first team All-Pro has been one of the best tackles in the NFL since entering the league.
This season has been one of Johnson’s best as he was named first team All-Pro and is one of the reasons why the Eagles offensive line is considered the best in football.
WR Devonta Smith – 2021 Rd 1 No. 10
Devonta Smith lit up college football in 2020 winning the Heisman trophy and the national title. The Eagles traded up two picks to secure him on draft night and he has proved that to be an excellent decision.
Forming one of the best wide receiver duos in football alongside A.J. Brown, Smith has shown this season that he’s a number one caliber receiver as he’s one of the best route runners in the league and is eighth in the NFL in receiving yards (regular season and postseason) with 1,293 yards.
DL Jordan Davis – 2022 Rd 1 No. 13
On draft night in 2022 the Eagles once again traded up for an elite talent. This time it was for Georgia star Jordan Davis. Davis is a perfect fit for the Eagles interior defensive line rotation as he compliments the more pass rushing specialists Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox very well with run stopping ability.
Day Two Picks
QB Jalen Hurts – 2020 Rd 2 No. 53
The Eagles made a lot of important picks to make this team what it is today but none are more important than Jalen Hurts.
I outlined earlier how he’s had an MVP contender quality season, but even more than what he provides on the field, Hurts is special from an intangibles standpoint. He’s the type of leader that makes everybody else around him better and it’s impossible to quantify how important someone like that is to a locker room.
There’s a lot of good decisions that have the Philadelphia Eagles headed to the Super Bowl, but the drafting of Jalen Hurts is the biggest one.
RB Miles Sanders – 2019 Rd 2 No. 53
Miles Sanders has been a productive back for the Eagles over his career. This season he’s having his most productive year as he eclipsed 1,400 rushing yards on Sunday.
TE Dallas Goedert – 2018 Rd 2 No. 49
The Eagles selected Dallas Goedert out of South Dakota State in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft and he has developed into one of the league’s best tight ends. This season he’s hauled in 65 passes for 783 yards and four touchdowns.
G Landon Dickerson – 2021 Rd 2 No. 37
Landon Dickerson is another very good second round pick that is already paying dividends for the Eagles. In just his second season Dickerson is already grading out as the 16th best guard in the league on PFF.
G Isaac Seumalo – 2016 Rd 3 No. 37
The other starting guard along the Eagles offensive line was also a day three pick and that is Isaac Seumalo. He has been a good player for the Eagles throughout his career and is enjoying a good season this year as PFF’s ninth rated guard in the NFL.
DI Milton Williams – 2021 Rd 3 No. 73
One of the lesser known names along the Eagles defensive line is Milton Williams, but he has been important for them this season. He’s played 434 snaps for them and much like Jordan Davis he provides a good compliment to Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox as he’s very good against the run.
Day Three Picks
C Jason Kelce – 2011 Rd 6 No. 191
Jason Kelce is one of the most important draft picks in Eagles history. He will also go down as one of the best day three selections ever. Kelce has a compelling argument to go down as one of the best centers in NFL history as he’s been named first team All-Pro five times throughout his career.
Even at 35 years old he is still one of the best offensive linemen in the game as he is the very best player on the best offensive line in football.
OT Jordan Mailata – 2018 Rd 7 No. 233
As if landing one of the best centers of all-time in the sixth round wasn’t impressive enough for day three offensive linemen seven years later the Philadelphia Eagles landed a franchise left tackle in the seventh round in the 2018 draft.
Mailata is an incredible story as he was originally a rugby player in Australia before before trying out for the league’s International Pathway Program. Mailata was a big-time project when they drafted him and he’s learned the offensive tackle position very well and is incredibly one of the league’s best offensive tackles as he’s graded out as a top 10 tackle in each of the last two seasons.
ED Josh Sweat – 2018 Rd 4 No. 130
Josh Sweat has been productive over his career for the Eagles. He has improved every year of his career and he’s currently having his career best season.
This season Sweat is 12th ranked edge rusher in the NFL, which is quite remarkable considering how many superstar edge rushers there are. He’s apart of an edge rotation that consistently gets after quarterbacks and he plays a big part in that as he has 49 pressures.
CB Avonte Maddox – 2018 Rd 4 No. 125
Avonte Maddox is yet another good day three pick from the Eagles as he’s been a productive slot corner for them over his career. In November of 2021 he signed a three year extension for $22.5 million.
Unfortunately, this season Maddox hasn’t been able to stay on the field consistently due to multiple injuries.
RB Kenneth Gainwell – 2021 Rd 5 No. 150
As a fifth rounder out of Memphis, Kenneth Gainwell has been a solid complimentary back in the Eagles’ offense. This season he has 400 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, plus 205 receiving yards.
WR Quez Watkins – 2020 Rd 6 No. 200
Quez Watkins was a sixth round pick out of Southern Miss and is now their starting slot receiver. This season he has 354 receiving yards and three touchdowns through 19 games.
Undrafted Free Agents
LB T.J. Edwards- 2019 UDFA
T.J. Edwards was undrafted in 2019 coming out of Wisconsin and since developed into the Philadelphia Eagles’ best linebacker. He’s been a starter for each of the last three seasons and is having the best year of his career currently.
This season he’s the seventh highest grader linebacker in the NFL with a grade of 81.1.
S Reed Blankenship- 2022 UDFA
When Chauncey Gardner-Johnson went down in week 12 against the Packers and missed the next five games it looked like a big blow to the Eagles secondary. However, undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship stepped in played well in his absence.
It’s a small sample size at 347 snaps but Blankenship has played well for the Eagles, so they may have found a future starter as an undrafted free agent.
Claimed Off Waivers
S Marcus Epps
Marcus Epps was a sixth round pick in 2019 by the Minnesota Vikings, but was waived in November of his first season. He was picked up the Eagles and has since developed into a starting safety for them. This season he has led the defense in snaps with 1,185.
K Jake Elliott
Jake Elliott was drafted in the fifth round in 2017 by the Cincinnati Bengals and was waived in early September. The Eagles picked him up and he became the teams kicker for the season and has been ever since.
RB Boston Scott
Boston Scott is yet another player who was waived after being drafted by another team and has since been picked up by the Eagles and developed into a contributor. Scott was drafted by the Saints in the sixth round in 2018 and was on the Saints practice squad when the Eagles signed him in 2018.
Free Agent Signings
ED Haason Reddick
One of the best signings of the 2022 NFL offseason was Haason Reddick. That was made apparent in the NFC title game on Sunday and has been apparent all season long.
Reddick has emerged as one of the best edge rushers in football this season. He’s one of just five edge rushers this season who have recorded 80 pressures and he’s the best player on a defensive line that led the league in sacks.
Another thing to note is the value the Philadelphia Eagles got in the Reddick deal. He was signed to a three year $45 million contract, which obviously isn’t nothing but for an edge rusher who produced like him this year is a bargain.
DI Javon Hargrave
Another great value free agent signing the Eagles have made came in the 2020 offseason when they signed Javon Hargrave. Hargrave struggles in run defense but is one of the best pass rushers from the interior defensive line in the league.
Hargrave has had a 90+ pass rush grade in each of the last two seasons. To put into context how impressive that is, the only other interior defensive linemen who has done that is Aaron Donald.
CB James Bradberry
After the Giants were forced into releasing James Bradberry for cap purposes, the Philadelphia Eagles signed James Bradberry to a one year $7.25 million deal in May. This has proved to be an excellent signing as Bradberry alongside Darius Slay has formed one of the best corner duos in the league.
LB Kyzir White
The Eagles signed former Chargers linebacker Kyzir White to a one year $3 million deal. White has been a fine player for the Eagles. Not every signing needs to turn into a star, sometimes you just need to fill out your team with solid, starting quality players and that’s what White has done for the Eagles this year.
DI Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh was a mid season signing by the Eagles. Suh is in the late stages of his career, but he’s still playing around 20 snaps per game for them. Bringing in a veteran like Suh is also beneficial as he’s someone whose played in many big games in his career and can provide leadership.
WR A.J. Brown
The biggest moves for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason and one of the biggest moves for any team this offseason was trading for A.J. Brown on draft night.
It’s not often that players like A.J. Brown are available and the Eagles masterfully jumped at the chance to bring him into their offense.
The first three seasons of his career with the Titans, even in a more run heavy offense Brown had already emerged as one of the best receivers in the league.
With the Eagles this season he’s having the most productive season of his career. He’s been a focal point in vaulting their offense into one of the league’s best. Brown is fourth in the league in receiving yards with 1,496 in the regular season and 1,546 in regular season and postseason combined.
It’s not often that an addition of a non-quarterback provides a team with such a boost, but Brown is that special of a player.
CB Darius Slay
In the 2020 offseason the Philadelphia Eagles made a trade to land top player at a premium position in Darius Slay. They sent a third and fifth round pick to the Lions in exchange for Slay and immediately signed him to a three year extension.
The five-time pro bowler has been one of the Eagles’ best players and is a big reason their defense is amongst the best in the league.
S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Another big addition the Eagles made this offseason was Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. In an August trade with the Saints they brought him in along with a 2025 seventh round pick for a 2023 fifth and a 2024 sixth rounder.
Gardner-Johnson has been a starting safety for the Eagles this season. He missed five games after an injury in a week 12 game against the Packers, but returned in week 18 just in time for the playoffs.
Overall, the building of this roster has been brilliant. Just looking at how they’ve drafted so well at all stages, gotten excellent value out of their free agent signings, and have landed important pieces in trades for great value it’s not surprising that they’ll be playing in the Super Bowl on February 12th.
It also by no means ends here for the Philadelphia Eagles as they are in a phenomenal spot moving forward and look like they’ll be Super Bowl contenders for the next few seasons.