One the most interesting final four rounds of the NFL Draft in Philadelphia Eagles history concluded with the announcement that veteran running back and fan darling Darren Sproles is coming back.
This, after the team believed it maximized the four picks it had to work with on Saturday to set itself up with a promising future.
If Day 2 of the NFL Draft on Friday was all about the Eagles' offense. Day 3, brought defense back into focus, at least in the fourth round, in which they owned two picks.
With their first one, they added Pitt cornerback Avonte Maddox at 125 overall. Five picks later, they took Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat at 130 overall.
Later on Saturday, they added tackle Matt Pryor, a former teammate of Halapoulivaati Vaitai at Texas Christian in the sixth round.
But they made their biggest splash with their final pick, trading up in the seventh round to select 21-year-old Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata as a candidate for their offensive line — or wherever he may choose to play.
You see, Mailata is a moose, checking in at 6-foot-7 and around 350 pounds, down from around 370. And all muscle.
That's the only reason he's giving football a try in the first place. Told he was too large for top-tier rugby in Australia, he tried to lose the 40 pounds his coaches wanted him to but maxed out at 20 because, at 10 percent body fat, "I had nothing left to lose," he said.
Still, a highlight reel of his exploits in the mid-tier league reveals a wrecking ball who often couldn't be brought down by any combination of tacklers.
After the draft Howie Roseman, the executive vice president of football operations, said they were more than pleased with their haul, which included a lot more than just the five players they chose when the picks they lost in trades for productive veterans still on the roster now are factored in.
They also counted the drafting of injured cornerback Sidney Jones last year as a 2018 pick, according to Roseman.
"In fact, in our draft room, on our draft board, we used Sidney Jones as part of this," he said. "In the third round, [we traded last year to get CB Ronald] Darby, a starter, a guy who played for us, played in big games, had big moments. In the fourth round, [the trade last year for RB] Jay [Ajayi]."
Maddox is only 5-foot-9, but ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, and his production, when healthy, has been solid.
Here's his overview on NFL.com: "Maddox is sure to get a glowing review from his coaching staff as he has been a model leader and worker during his time at Pitt. While he plays with good toughness and has good athletic traits, his ability to stay connected in coverage has been problematic. Inconsistencies in man coverage combined with a smallish frame are a concern in my opinion, but his combination of long speed and short area quickness has him rising up the board."
Sweat also has had some injury issues, specifically with a bum knee. But that didn't prevent him from being a durable player in college who was cleared by the Eagles' medical staff as someone who should be ready to roll right away.
Here's NFL.com's overview on him: "Sweat has the length, frame and athletic qualities to fit right in as a 3-4 SAM or rush linebacker, but he needs to go to school with a position coach or a talented veteran to help unlock his pass rush potential. Sweat's initial quickness and issues with contact balance could hinder his ability to play with his hand down. He has the ability to become a decent NFL starter but there is a wide disparity between his ceiling and floor thanks to concerns surrounding the current and future health of his knee."
Joe Douglas, the Eagles vice president of player personnel, pointed to Sweat's explosion off the ball as a main strength. Because they play a four-man front, he will always have his hand on the ground here.
Sweat believes he would have gone a lot higher than the fourth round if there weren't still questions about his knee.
"That's probably why I didn't get selected until the fourth round," he said. "But just to keep it short, yes, I think without the injury … it would have been different. I think that is the biggest [reason] why I fell."
The Eagles, pardon the pun, aren't sweating it.
"We can only speak to our medical," Roseman said, "and we have a lot of trust in our medical staff, our doctor, Dr. [Peter] DeLuca has done a great job for us for a long time. You know, when he tells us that the guy's ready to go, we rely on them and we trust that. Then it goes down to the evaluation of the player, and we were very excited to get this guy into the system.
"Again, what a room to be going in — and talk about a room with pedigree. There may not be a better defensive line room in the National Football League."
Pryor is a similarly interesting choice with a tremendous upside.
He arrived at TCU grossly overweight, at nearly 400 pounds. He's down under 330 now. Still, there are questions about how much he wants it.
An NFC regional scout told NFL.com that Pryor is "talented but he's got the reputation for being a little bit lazy. If you knew he would keep his weight down and take the preparation seriously, I think you would have a pretty good player. You just don't know if he has that kind of football character."
In a conference call with reporters on Saturday, Pryor said he does.
"I've heard 330 would be a good weight but if I have to cut more, I'll cut more because I know in the NFL it's really about speed than being heavy and strong," he said. "Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do."
EAGLES DRAFT CHOICES
Second round (49th overall): Dallas Goedert, TE, South Carolina State
Fourth round (125th overall): Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh
Fourth round (130th overall): Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
Sixth round (206th overall): Matt Pryor, T, Texas Christian
Seventh round (233rd overall): Jordan Mailata, T, South Sydney Rabbitohs (National Rugby League, Australia)