PHILADELPHIA -- For a moment, it appeared the stars had aligned and tight end Dallas Goedert would realize his destiny by joining the Dallas Cowboys. Then the Philadelphia Eagles swooped in and smashed that storyline to smithereens, just in case.
Goedert was named "Dallas" because of his father's affinity for the Cowboys, he said Friday night, adding that he nevertheless rooted for the Green Bay Packers growing up thanks to his stepdad's influence. But here he was, Dallas, potentially in line to be drafted by Dallas in a draft held in Dallas. The Cowboys had announced the retirement of Jason Witten earlier in the day, heightening speculation that Goedert could be a target at 50 overall.
"That was definitely something that was in the back of my head when Jason retired," Goedert said, "that they need a tight end to fill his spot."
Per ESPN's Todd Archer, the Cowboys didn't have their sights set on Goedert. But the Eagles weren't taking any chances, so they dealt the 52nd and 169th picks to the Indianapolis Colts to move one spot in front of the Cowboys to snatch him up.
"For us, we just wanted to make sure that we came out of [Friday] with one of the group of guys that we had from [Thursday's] list," said executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, who noted they had Goedert as a potential pick at No. 32 overall but moved out of that slot to acquire more assets. "When those guys started to go, we wanted to make sure that we felt really good about our first pick and so we started making calls."
The discussions fruitful, they were able to land Goedert, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end out of South Dakota State with a highlight reel filled with one-handed grabs and long streaks down the sidelines. He averaged 82 catches for 1,200 yards with a combined 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons while playing against FCS competition.
"This is a guy that we felt dominated at that level of play," vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said.
His new quarterback, Carson Wentz, knows something about tearing it up in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Besides their Dakota ties (Wentz, a North Dakota State product, faced off against Goedert at the collegiate level), they also share the same agent. According to Roseman, Wentz had been talking up Goedert in the building during the pre-draft process, and let the front office know that this pick had his stamp of approval afterward.
"He's excited. And I know just from the texts some of us have gotten and the conversations, the quarterbacks are excited," Roseman said. "Joe said it best: This is a friend for the quarterback."
Wentz shared his enthusiasm with Goedert directly. Immediately after the pick was in, Wentz shot off one text message after another to his newest weapon.
"The first one was, 'Let's go, homie!' with sunglasses and a pound fist," Goedert said via conference call, drawing laughs. Wentz added, "Get ready" and "We've got some business to do," to which Goedert replied, "I'm excited. I can't wait to get out there and play with you."
A fellow Missouri Valley Alum hailing from the lesser Dakota 😏.... @goedert33 welcome to the squad bro! Big things comin. We gotta represent the FCS, MVFC, and the Dakotas well my man. Let's go!— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) April 28, 2018
"I compare myself to the best in the league and Zach Ertz is one of the best in the league," Goedert said, "and I like a lot of the things that he does and I think I do well: using his leverage, finding soft spots in zones, just the things he does with the ball downfield, I have a lot of the same similarities."
The addition of Goedert to an already loaded offense is sure to create matchup headaches for the opposition, assuming his transition to the NFL goes as expected. The roster currently lacks a traditional in-line blocking tight end, but the Eagles will have the ability to move their TEs just about anywhere in the formation and present looks that will be hard to handle.
"He's a tremendous player, a tremendous asset, a weapon for us that I think we can utilize with some of the things you saw last year with Trey Burton and having him on the field as well with Zach," coach Doug Pederson said. The Eagles parted with Burton, the thrower of the "Philly Special," and Brent Celek this offseason, creating a void at tight end that Goedert helps to fill.
Goedert's Senior Bowl week was cut short because of a hamstring injury, which kept him from running the 40-yard dash at the combine and his pro day. He said the hamstring is now fully healed.
A three-time all-state selection in basketball at the high school level, Goedert ultimately chose to play football at the urging of his mom, who reasoned that he had a better chance to make it given that there are 22 starters in football and only five on the court in basketball, though he gathers that was her gentle way of telling him that 6-foot-5 is too short to play forward or center in the NBA. Asked who his comparison is as a basketball player, he joked, "I would have to say LeBron."
Unlike James, Goedert doesn't have an affinity for the Cowboys, even though he was named after them. And while it might have made for a tidy story if Dallas got Dallas in Dallas, Goedert is just fine with how it worked out.
"The first thing [the Eagles said on the call] is ... 'Would you be all right if we traded up to get you?'" Goedert recalled. "And I said, 'Man, that'd be the most incredible thing ever.'"