This sure was beautifully symmetrical. The Eagles made a trade to move in front of Dallas … in Dallas's stadium … to take a tight end named Dallas.
The Eagles on Friday shipped their second-round pick (No. 52 overall) and a fifth-round pick (No. 169 overall) to the Colts to move up three spots and draft South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert with the 49th pick.
The Cowboys, who lost future Hall of Famer Jason Witten to retirement earlier in the day, were expected to take Goedert with the 50th pick.
Goedert, a friend of Carson Wentz, was a backup his first two years at South Dakota State, then caught 164 passes for 2,404 yards and 18 touchdowns over the last two seasons playing on the NCAA Football Championships Subdivision level (formerly NCAA Division I-AA).
The Eagles traded out of the first round on Thursday and moved from 32 to 52 before moving back down to 49. They don’t have a third-round pick, so Goedert is the only player they’ve taken through two days of the draft.
“When you make your head coach wait 49 picks for a player, it’s nice to make him happy,” Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said.
“His reaction when we made that trade, his excitement, that makes us really excited to get a guy like this, to see his reaction and his staff’s reaction.”
This is the second time in six years the Eagles have taken a tight end in the second round.
Zach Ertz is among the NFL’s best and made his first Pro Bowl this past season. But the Eagles love to play a lot of 12 personnel, with two tight ends on the field, and they believe Goedert is NFL-ready.
“It’s exciting thinking about the matchups,” Roseman said. “We have a Pro Bowl tight end right there, and you think about the combinations, it’s exciting to think about what they can do together.”
Roseman said the Eagles expected to get a player at 52 that would have made sense at 32, and he said Goedert is that guy. And they added a 2019 second-round pick along the way.
“We’re really excited about him and his fit as a player and as a person for our program,” Roseman said. “He’s a guy we had our eye on. Coach and his staff are really excited about the way we can utilize him.
“The more weapons we have for our quarterback and our head coach, the better we think we’ll be. It’s a great opportunity for us. He’s among the players we had grouped at 32 and we wanted to make sure we got one of those guys, and that’s why we made the move up. We wanted to make sure we felt good about our first pick.”
The Eagles lost Trey Burton to free agency and released Brent Celek this offseason.
“It’s going to add some depth and competition to the position,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Tremendous player. Tremendous asset to our offense.
“I think we can utilize him much the same way we did the past two years with Trey Burton having him on the field with Zach. Exciting to have a player like this, a pick like this, that can add to our roster. Shouldn’t take him long at all to get into the mix.”
Goedert was a two-time Football Subdivision All-American. He finished 10th in Subdivision with 1,111 yards last year and 15th with 72 catches
“Dallas is a blue-collar kid that works extremely hard and for him specifically — this is a guy we felt dominated at that level of play the last two years,” Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said.
“Excellent production. He got hurt at the Senior Bowl but before he got hurt he showed a lot of really promising trends.”
Goedert stands 6-foot-5, 260 pounds. He’s considered a decent blocker, but Pederson said the Eagles don’t really demand a ton of in-line blocking from their tight ends, and Goedert’s explosiveness is what really stands out.
“What you’re seeing with tight ends, it’s changed since I was in the league, where they were more big, physical guys, in-line physical guys,” Pederson said.
“Guys today are route runners that can block in-line, but [receiving] is their primary job, and this kid is one of those guys.
“He’s elusive, runs good routes, has great running ability, route skills. He’s got some refining to do, but we’ll get him caught up. How we block, how we use our tight end in schemes. We’re not a big in-line tight end scheme team, so this will benefit him like it benefited Zach and Trey and Celek, so it’ll be a good fit. Zach will be a good mentor for him.”