Just a few months after the Eagles won the first Super Bowl in franchise history, the team drafted several players who have ultimately become key pieces for the team.
Back then, the team was still buzzing from the parade.
“S—, I felt like I missed out,” Josh Sweat said this week. “I was like, damn, I just missed it.”
Five years later, Sweat and the rest of his draft class finally have a chance to play in the big game. And those guys will play major roles when the Eagles face the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12.
Dallas Goedert remembers June 14, 2018 very well. It was the final day of the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp that season and he was still just a rookie finding his way. But that practice preceded a giant party later that evening when the entire 2017 team received its Super Bowl rings.
That day at practice, the Eagles even altered their playlist, playing Kap G’s “Rings” followed by “Big Rings” by Drake and Future.
The veterans celebrated that night at a party with a performance from Meek Mill, while the rookies went home.
“Everybody is like ‘Are you going?’ And I’m like, ‘What the heck am I going for? I didn’t do nothing, I’m not on that team that’s going there.’ That was probably the one thing,” Goedert said. “They brought back the old players. Obviously, the old players that were there had an incredible weekend, where I was just sitting at home, dreaming, wishing that I could be there, hoping that I’d be there one day.”
Sweat remembers that night too.
“And I’m just sitting at the house,” he said. “For real, everybody was flexing. And I’m like, damn, we just missed it.”
Goedert said later that night a few of his veteran teammates texted him so he went out with them later in the evening.
“And I felt a little man out there because they all had their sweet Super Bowl rings,” Goedert said.
But finally, the Class of 2018 will have a chance to earn their own rings in a little over a week.
Despite being a smaller draft class, the group from 2018 has become a really key component to this Super Bowl roster, boasting four very important starters. As a reminder, here’s a look back at that class:
2-49: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
4-125: Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh
4-130: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
6-206: Matt Pryor, OT, TCU
7-233: Jordan Mailata, OT, Australia
All four of those starters were locked up with long-term deals last year. And it’s one of the best draft classes we’ve ever seen from general manager Howie Roseman.
Maddox said his entire rookie season feels like a blur five years later but he remembers that most of the team in that 2018 season was just focused on trying to get back to the big game.
“That was the last thing I was thinking about was them coming off the Super Bowl,” Maddox said on Friday. “I was trying to establish myself.”
Getting to the big game is always the goal but hearing about the Super Bowl he missed gave Goedert even more incentive.
“It just made me even more hungry to get there and now here we are,” he said. “Looking forward to it.”
While Goedert, Maddox, Sweat and Mailata weren’t around for that Super Bowl run in 2017, they heard plenty of stories about it. And they saw how tight that group was.
Mailata back in 2018 was still learning about the game of football. He grew up watching Super Bowls on Mondays back home in Australia but that was more about seeing the halftime show.
What he learned upon his arrival in Philly is just how galvanizing a playoff run can be for a team.
“I think the brotherhood that was in that locker room,” Mailata said, “you could feel it from the day you walked in here as a rookie. And then they embraced me. The O-line embraced me and so did the D-line. I remember Chris Long and [Brandon Graham], they were awesome to me, the vets, and I had no idea what position they played, to be honest.
“But I slowly learned when I started playing football what they do and who they were and what they get paid for. It’s been a journey so far.”
The Eagles can write another impressive chapter soon. And then maybe the Class of 2023 can be the ones who feel left out.
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