5 takeaways from Howie Roseman's pre-draft chat with the media

5 takeaways from Howie Roseman's pre-draft chat with the media

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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Possible trouble brewing in Cowboys land with reports about RB Ezekiel Elliott possibly holding out

Possible trouble brewing in Cowboys land with reports about RB Ezekiel Elliott possibly holding out

Off the field issues aside, Ezekiel Elliott is clearly one of the top running backs in the NFL. The problem for the Cowboys is that he wants to get paid like it.

According to PFT’s Mike Florio, Elliott has “privately said that he will hold out of training camp unless he gets a new contract.”

Since the Cowboys report to training camp on July 25, this could be a problem very soon.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! reporter Charles Robinson says Elliott hasn’t made a decision about a holdout yet.

But it’s clearly on Zeke’s mind. And he clearly wants a contract extension.

For a team that still has to pay Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper — both more pressing since they’ll be free agents after the 2019 season — this could be tricky. It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys giving Zeke a big contract before figuring out Dak’s new deal.

Elliott, 23, might have a problem staying out of trouble off the field, but he creates a whole lot of trouble for opposing teams on it. There’s really no denying his talent. In his first three NFL seasons, he has rushed for over 4,000 yards and has over 5,000 in all-purpose yards. Just 11 players in NFL history have more all-purpose yards in their first three seasons.

And because of that success and because he knows the Cowboys will rely heavily on him this season and next, Elliott is trying to maximize his value. He’s trying to get some coin in his pocket now before that value potentially plummets because usage or injury. That part makes sense.

The problem for Elliott is that the Cowboys probably don’t feel highly motivated to pay him just yet. With his fourth contract year in 2019 and his fifth-year option year in 2020, the Cowboys hold his rights for the next two seasons at cap numbers of $7.9 million and $9 million over the next two seasons. Based on his rookie contract AVY, Elliott is the 10th highest-paid running back in football. That’s a steal and based on recent history, no team should be rushing to pay top-tier money for a running back.

Elliott won’t become a free agent until after the 2020 season, so I definitely get why he’s trying to secure his financial future before the Boys run him into the ground over the next two seasons. He doesn’t seem to have a ton of leverage because of how far he is from free agency — he’s not going to sit for two years — but we saw how his suspension sort of wrecked the Cowboys’ entire 2017 season. Now, the Cowboys are coming off a division title and have serious championship hopes this year; if they’re going to be a great team, they’re going to need Zeke to do it.

The Eagles don’t play the Cowboys until Oct. 20 and it would be pretty shocking if Elliott isn’t playing by then. The Birds obviously don’t have a running back as good as Elliott, but they have cost controlled options and they already figured out how to pay their franchise quarterback.

The messier this gets for Zeke and the Cowboys, the better it is for the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East.

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Eagles receive top Madden 20 team rating despite Carson Wentz snub

Eagles receive top Madden 20 team rating despite Carson Wentz snub

It’s that time of year again. 

Today, the good people of Madden released their full rankings for Madden 20, available on Aug. 2. Here are some notable items from how they see they see the Eagles looking this year.

The Best Team in the Game

That’s right, Madden believes in the Eagles. With an overall rating of 89, the Philadelphia Eagles are the highest rated team in the game. They edged out the Dallas Cowboys (88), New Orleans Saints (87), New England Patriots (87) and Green Bay Packers (87).

The lowest ranked teams in the game are the Miami Dolphins (74), followed by the New York Giants (77).

Carson Wentz Snubbed in Madden 20

Carson Wentz will begin the season as an 82 overall, dipping three points from where he was to start the year last season. The rating places Wentz tied for 13th at his position behind guys like Baker Mayfield (83) and Jared Goff (83) and tied with Deshaun Watson (82). After an incredible season last year, Patrick Mahomes (97) is the top-rated QB, followed by the ageless wonder, Tom Brady (96).

The Top Bird

It should come as no surprise that Fletcher Cox is the highest ranked Eagles player at an overall ranking of 96. His ranking makes him the 15th highest ranked player in the NFL and the top defensive tackle (Madden considers Aaron Donald an end). His combination of speed, acceleration and strength make him an unstoppable force in both the video game and in real life.

These Birds Can Fly

One of the more important aspects in Madden often times is speed and the Eagles have 13 players with a rating of 90 or higher in that category. Five players, Ronald Darby, Shelton Gibson, Josh Hawkins, DeSean Jackson and Avonte Maddox, are tied for the highest speed rating on the team at 93.

According to Madden, the fastest player in the NFL is Tyreek hill, with 99 speed and 99 acceleration, the only player with a 99 in either category.

Top of their Class

There’s a number of Eagles players that are ranked very highly at their position. 

Fletcher Cox: 96, 1st among DT

Jason Kelce: 94, tied for 1st among C

Zach Ertz: 93, 2nd among TE

Malcolm Jenkins: 92, 2nd among SS

Brandon Brooks: 90, 4th among RG

Brandon Graham: 89, 3rd among RE

Lane Johnson: 89, 2nd among RT

Lowest Rated Eagle

Sorry Rick Lovato, for the second straight year you’re the lowest rated Eagles player. Actually, Lovato’s ranking lowered from a 43 in 2019 to a 41 in 2020. Lovato, the long snapper, certainly didn’t do anything wrong from a snapping standpoint last season, but he’s listed as a TE in the game and they probably want to make him as unusable at that position as possible. 

Other notable Eagles that received poor ratings are Clayton Thorson (56), Nate Sudfeld (57) and Jordan Mailata (58). 

Click here to see the Madden ranking for the entire Eagles roster.

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