The Philadelphia Eagles sure did have Georgia on their mind during the NFL draft — specifically Bulldogs defensive players — and they took cornerback Kelee Ringo in the fourth round Saturday to make it three picks overall off the national champions’ roster.
Eagles general manger Howie Roseman had joked a night earlier when he passed on selecting more Georgia talent that he was worried the team would be relegated to the Southeastern Conference.
Who knows, maybe Alabama and Auburn could be added to the NFC champion Eagles’ schedule after all.
Many NFL teams make rookies sing their college fight song as a rite of passage in training camp. The newest Eagles could start a whole glee club.
Philly selected troubled defensive tackle Jalen Carter with the No. 9 overall pick, edge rusher Nolan Smith with the 30th pick, and then Ringo with the 105th pick. They’ll be reunited with two former Georgia teammates — linebacker Nakobe Dean and defensive tackle Jordan Davis — who were drafted last season by the Eagles.
Ringo plans to get by with a little help from his friends.
“Man, I definitely would say it’s a tight bond between all four of us or all five of us for sure,” Ringo said.
The Eagles are the first team to select five defensive players from the same school over a two-year span since the modern draft began in 1967.
Chants of “Go Dawgs, sic ’em! Woof! Woof! Woof!” might rival “Fly, Eagles, Fly” at the Linc this season.
“There’s a lot of things that they’re going to come into this league that are unfamiliar to them,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “There’s countless amount of things. So to have a little bit of sense of familiarity with some of the guys that you’ve gone to battle with and won a lot of games with, that’s huge. I think that’s a huge part for these guys to have each other.”
The Eagles have drafted 26 Georgia players since 1943.
The Eagles saved their biggest Georgia splash for a trade, acquiring running back D’Andre Swift on Saturday — with a seventh-rounder from Detroit — for a fourth-round pick in 2025 and a seventh-rounder this year. Swift, who played three seasons at Georgia, strengthens an Eagles backfield that lost Miles Sanders in free agency.
Swift is a Philadelphia native who attended Saint Joseph’s Prep, just a few miles away from Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles add Swift to a backfield that includes free-agent signing Rashaad Penny and holdovers Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott, Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks.
The Eagles also selected Alabama offensive lineman Tyler Steen and Illinois safety Sydney Brown in the third round. On Saturday, they picked Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee in the sixth round and Texas defensive end Moro Ojomo in the seventh.
No pressure, Ojomo. But former Eagles greats Irv Cross and Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael were seventh-round picks.
Roseman, who attended Florida, was quick to credit Phil Bhaya and Alan Wolking for the strong SEC connection.
Bhaya is Philadelphia’s director of draft management. Wolking is the Eagles’ director of player personnel. Both members of the organization put in the hard work in Athens, Georgia, and other SEC hotspots to scout the players the Eagles hope can help them win their second Super Bowl.
Once they recommended who they liked, Roseman was game for a visit.
“I went to Georgia last year at practice, and I remember coming back and (Sirianni) was like, ‘Who did you like there?’ And I’m like, ‘I like the whole defense,’” Roseman said.
No one could have guessed Roseman would draft all of them.
“Being with my teammates from the University of Georgia,” Ringo said, “definitely our bar is going to continue to grow.”