The draft is nine days away, so that means it’s time to chat with Howie Roseman and then read between the lines and try to figure out what he really means.
Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations, and Joe Douglas, vice president of player personnel, met with the media for 45 minutes Tuesday morning, and while no breaking news emerged from the session, there were some interesting tidbits.
Here are five takeaways:
1. Roseman loves the current roster
Roseman is very high on the guys the Eagles have under contract right now and believes that gives the team the luxury of drafting best available player and not reaching:
Let’s not be biased toward a particular need, because that’s where we make mistakes. That’s one of the things that’s exciting where we are right now. We can go play right now. We think we’re a pretty good team. So we go into the draft knowing we don’t have anything that we have to fill at any position.
2. The Eagles haven’t soured on Sidney Jones
Jones, the second-round corner, enters his third year as a huge question mark. He barely played as a rookie as he recovered from his pro-day Achilles injury, and he was hurt much of last year as well. But he’s still only 22, and Roseman compared him to Brandon Graham and Nelson Agholor, who both took a few years to blossom as pros.
You’ve got to be patient with young players in this league. We’ve seen it with Brandon Graham, we’ve seen it with Nelson Agholor, we’ve seen that it doesn’t always click right away with everyone. We won’t judge that pick right now and we’ll let it play out.
3. Learning from their mistakes
After drafting world-class busts Danny Watkins No. 23 in 2011 and Marcus Smith at No. 26 in 2014, Roseman said he’s learned to evaluate prospects more on intangibles, personality and fit and not just physical ability. In his three drafts since returning to GM, Roseman has taken six players in the first three rounds, and all six are still with the team and while the jury is still out on some of them, none look like busts:
Environment’s a big factor and getting the right guy in the right scheme with the right personality to fit what you’re trying to look for. It’s all about fit, and a lot of times when you look back at some of the mistakes those are the reasons for it.
4. The Eagles love Nate Sudfeld
Carson Wentz is the only quarterback the Eagles have taken in the last five drafts, and when asked about getting away from his philosophy of drafting a developmental QB every couple years, Roseman brought the conversation to Nate Sudfeld, who the Eagles signed when the Redskins tried to signed him to their practice squad before the 2017 season:
When you’re able to find a guy like Nate and develop him, that’s like drafting a quarterback. That was just as good as any quarterback we could have taken certainly in the middle rounds.
5. Roseman rejects notion Eagles are getting old
There’s definitely a school of thought that the Eagles need to nail this draft and the next couple to replenish the roster with young talent. There are certainly some promising younger players on the team, like Avonte Maddox, Derek Barnett and Dallas Goedert, but other than Wentz, there are no proven elite players under 28. And productive younger guys like Agholor, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are all heading into the final year of their deals. But Roseman was firm when asked about the lack of young talent and strongly defended the way the roster is currently structured:
To get younger just for the sake of getting younger doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. We’re looking for good players and we have a lot of good players. I don’t think there’s any undue pressure on the picks that we have right now.
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