Eagles CB Avonte Maddox is that breakout candidate everybody’s missing

Avonte Maddox #29, Josh Reynolds #83 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Avonte Maddox #29, Josh Reynolds #83 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Write it down. Tweet it. Do whatever you feel is necessary. Big things are coming for Avonte Maddox in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform.

There’s a difference between hopeful expectations and heaping a ton of credit on someone unnecessarily. There’s a difference between hoping someone will be good and knowing someone will be good. The Philadelphia Eagles took Avonte Maddox in the fourth round of 2018’s NFL Draft (125th overall). In doing so, they were saying two things simultaneously.

First, they didn’t know how good he’d be, and second, the hope was he’d grow into someone that could contribute effectively and do so consistently.

Here are a few things that we know are true about the NFL Draft. Guys who are drafted in the first round are expected to be stars. Guys who are taken in round two come into the league knowing that some of them will be expected to start, and even if they don’t, they’ll be expected to play key roles in their team’s success.

Here’s what isn’t often said about the NFL Draft that’s also true. Prospects taken in rounds six or seven aren’t always expected to make the team. You’re hoping to get some steals at that point. That brings us to rounds three and four.

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That’s where championship rosters are built. You don’t really know what you’re getting in the mid-rounds, but teams who are consistently successful do well here. If what we’ve seen so far is any indication, and most people think it is, Avonte Maddox will wind up falling into the category of ‘steal’.

As injuries began to ravage the Eagles’ secondary in 2018’s regular season, Maddox was asked to step in and play cornerback and safety. He did, and he did well. Maddox didn’t look like he was a rookie. He looked like he had been in the lineup for several seasons.

He forced turnovers (he had two interceptions but could have easily had a couple more), he made tough tackles (35 of them), and the passes that he didn’t intercept were often knocked away. Add four pass deflections to his resume, but again, he came inches away from making several more.

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Who would have thought that a five-foot-nine, 184-pound defensive back from the University of Pittsburgh would have popped like this? Expect more fireworks in 2019, especially with Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills out for a while. People don’t mention him much when they discuss potential breakout stars, but they should. This one that Joe Douglas and Howie Roseman got one-hundred percent right.