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‘Celebration’ is just the first step for Mario Goodrich


Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

Partner Lockup
Partner Lockup

PHILADELPHIA – It was time to celebrate on Tuesday for Mario Goodrich when the first-year undrafted cornerback out of Clemson broke through and made the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster.

“I was excited,” said Goodrich. “I was with my family. We went out to eat. I ended up going to the Lil Baby concert with the DBs. It was a good time. I enjoyed it.”

Dinner and a concert at the Wells Fargo Center as the desert for a 53-man roster spot is as good as it gets for a fledgling 23-year-old cornerback, who spent most of last season in anonymity on the Eagles practice squad.

Goodrich was very popular in the lead-up to Doug Pederson’s return to Lincoln Financial Field as the head coach of Jacksonville due to his familiarity with Trevor Lawrence, the emerging star quarterback for the Jaguars who was a superstar at the college level while playing with Goodrich at Clemson.

After that, Goodrich receded to the background but he kept learning his craft under former secondary coach Dennard Wilson and D.K. McDonald, now his position coach after Wilson departed to Baltimore in the offseason.

In many ways, Clemson is a big reason why Goodrich decided to sign with the Eagles after going undrafted in the 2022 process.

“Brian Dawkins,” Goodrich told JAKIB Sports when asked why he chose Philadelphia. “He’s a Clemson guy. I used to watch his highlights. Then I looked at the depth chart. I had seen that they had (Darius) Slay and Avonte (Maddox), guys who had been in the league, and who had success in the league. So, I wanted to learn from guys like that.”

Dawkins, of course, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a stellar career in which 13 of his 16 seasons were spent with the Eagles but the latter reason is the bigger aspect to Goodrich’s quick development. Veterans like Slay, Maddox, and James Bradberry could help any young corner.

The odds are always longer for undrafted players but three from Goodrich’s undrafted class in 2022 — safety Reed Blankenship, receiver Josh Jobe, and offensive lineman Josh Sills — made a Super Bowl-level roster and another UDFA, receiver/punt returner Britain Covey spent the majority of the season on the roster after being elevated from the practice squad for the first three games.

Blankenship is locked in as a starting safety this season while Jobe is the top backup on the outside at CB behind Slay and Bradberry. Sills was waived and claimed by Indianapolis and old friend Shane Steichen while Covey will again start the season on the PS.

“I’d say they like undrafted guys,” said a smiling Goodrich. “I’d just say they value the work the guys put in. I’m grateful to my teammates and the coaches for giving me this opportunity. I feel like it speaks for the work the guys put in.”

At 6-foot and 186 pounds, Goodrich has inside/outside versatility at CB and will also need to help on Michael Clay’s special teams units.

“Wherever they need me, I feel like I can put my best foot forward and help the team,” Goodrich said.

With Week 1 in Foxborough approaching, Goodrich understands that making the initial 53 is just the first step of many to staying on it.

“Just stay grounded, keep working, do the little things day in and out,” he said. “Stay humble and keep going.”

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