Eagles’ All-Georgia NFL Draft weekend capped by D’Andre Swift trade
Howie Roseman has that dog in him. That Georgia Bulldog to be exact.
The Eagles GM drafted and traded for two more former Georgia standouts on Saturday’s final day of the NFL Draft: fourth-round corner Kelee Ringo and Lions veteran running back D’Andre Swift.
That makes six former Georgia players on Philly’s roster, including five draft picks the past two years. The NFC’s Super Bowl representatives have had a huge weekend, albeit while leaning in a strangely heavy way towards one college program.
“I’m sure I’m out of the Florida alumni association as we speak,” Roseman cracked of his SEC alma mater on ESPN.
Roseman has picked three Bulldogs in this weekend’s draft alone, including first-rounders DT Jalen Carter and edge Nolan Smith and Ringo. He stacked them on top of last year’s two Dawg draft picks: first round DT Jordan Davis and LB Nakobe Dean.
The Eagles GM traded a 2024 third-round pick to the Houston Texans on Saturday to charge up to pick No. 105 to take Ringo. Then he swung another deal with Detroit for Swift, 24, who was expendable after the Lions drafted Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round.
Roseman gave up a 2025 fourth-round pick and 2023 seventh (No. 219) to the Lions to get Swift and a 2023 seventh (No. 249) in return.
In doing so, he reunited two former high school teammates at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep in Swift and wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, a Falcons free agent that Philly recently signed.
“Philly kid,” Roseman said of Swift, a dual-threat who can catch out of the backfield. “We knew him playing in high school at St. Joe’s Prep and followed him in college. Tremendous player and person, and we’re excited to get him to Philly.
“He’s got big playability as a runner and a receiver, which we saw first-hand last year in Detroit. He has vision and tremendous character. We liked our running backs and didn’t come into the draft feeling we needed to upgrade, but we felt he could really add to the culture and success of our team.”
Philadelphia lost Miles Sanders in free agency to the Carolina Panthers, but Roseman now has acquired Swift and signed former Seahawk Rashaad Penny to pair with incumbents Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott.
The bigger story, though, is how heavily Roseman has leaned into Georgia’s program during its back-to-back national championship run.
And as much as he praised the Eagles’ scouts, Roseman also said he saw the talent jump off the field with his own eyes last fall.
“I went to Georgia last year at practice,” Roseman said Friday. “And I remember coming back and coach [Nick Sirianni] was like ‘Who’d you like there?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know, the whole defense, you know?’ And it’s kind of amazing to think of all these guys that we got.”
Roseman said his group of Georgia players was “lobbying for like three more guys,” foreshadowing Saturday’s additions.
And the Eagles GM joked that he’s glad the NFL isn’t the English Premier League where “they relegate teams,” because “I was worried they would relegate us to the SEC if we took more Georgia guys.”
It’s clearly a trend, however, that Roseman’s plan now is about not overthinking the draft: take players from the best teams.
Alabama used to be his training ground.
Four drafts ago, his second-round pick was Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, a former Alabama standout.
Three drafts ago, his top two picks from Alabama stars from that year’s national championship team: wide receiver DeVonta Smith and guard Landon Dickerson.
And on Friday, he did take another Alabama player, offensive tackle Tyler Steen, in this year’s round three.
Now he’s loading up on Bulldogs.
It’s a fascinating case study, particularly in a business where scouts travel all over the country to gather information, only to see a draft focused so exclusively on one team.
Someone is going to have to knock the Eagles off their NFC pedestal, though, before they can prove this strategy is unwise.
THE BROCK PURDY EFFECT?
Twelve quarterbacks were drafted in the first five rounds this weekend, which set a new record for the NFL’s common draft era.
Two things happened last season to cause this surge of QB picks: a record 68 different quarterbacks started at least one game in 2022, and rookie Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy had unexpected success with the San Francisco 49ers in relief despite being the final pick of last spring’s draft.
This weekend, only five QBs came off the board in the first three rounds, including Kentucky’s Will Levis to the Tennessee Titans in the second and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker to the Detroit Lions in the third.
But then seven QBs went in the fourth and fifth combined, highlighted by Georgia’s Stetson Bennett to the L.A. Rams, Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell to the Las Vegas Raiders, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson to the Cleveland Browns and Penn State’s Sean Clifford curiously to the Green Bay Packers.
The Minnesota Vikings’ selection of BYU’s Jaren Hall at No. 164 overall in round five broke the common draft record.
THEY SAID IT
“We were going to take Levis or trade down. I think we’d take Will Levis… We liked him.” — Colts owner Jim Irsay, who drafted Florida QB Anthony Richardson at No. 4 overall, telling reporters he would have taken Kentucky’s Levis if Richardson had been gone