Eagles

Doug Pederson's biggest victory came off the field

Doug Pederson's biggest victory came off the field

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — In his public appearances, Doug Pederson remained stoic. On Dec. 11, just after he announced that Carson Wentz had a torn ACL and was out for the season, he was asked if his team could overcome the loss. 

He emphatically said yes, it could. And he meant it. 

But initially, of course there was a little bit of doubt, a little bit of self-pity. The Eagles were rolling through the season but lost the most important player on their team. They lost the NFL MVP. 

There had to be at least one "Are you kidding me?" moment, right? 

“You know what … maybe in here somewhere," said Pederson, tapping his chest. "But not out here. I would never do that out here. I would never do that in front of the team. I would never do that in front of [reporters]. 

"But, inside, you’re kind of going, ‘Dang, we’ve got this thing going.’ Look at what Oakland did a year ago … they were riding along, and Derek [Carr] went down at the end of the year. You know what I’m saying? But, even for me at that time, it didn’t take long to fire back up, quite honestly. 

"We’ve got a tremendous defense, we use our running game, Nick [Foles is] a veteran quarterback. We had a lot of things going for us at the time … we just won the NFC East, we bought ourselves a ticket to the postseason, we were still in good shape."

On Monday night, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie remembered back to a phone call he had with VP of football operations Howie Roseman in the offseason. Roseman found a way to basically trade in Chase Daniel for Foles, but it meant allocating $12 million this season to the backup quarterback position. Lurie acknowledged that's a little unusual, but he agreed with the idea of bringing back Foles to back up Wentz. 

Lurie called Foles a "big-time, big-game player" and Foles has looked like it in the playoffs after a somewhat rough stretch at the end of the season. 

Wentz's injury and how the team recovered from it were clearly the defining moments of the 2017 season. In hindsight, the Eagles obviously still had a great chance to win without Wentz, but in December, you could understand why that might have been a tough notion to believe. 

Pederson had to sell it to the team. While some guys didn't need the sales pitch, others were understandably a little mopey that Monday morning, when the team's worst fears were confirmed and it found out it was going to be without Wentz for the rest of the season. 

It didn't take long for just about every player to come around, though. It started with Pederson and his veteran leaders taking control, not letting there be any time for self-pity. 

Did Pederson have to sell it to himself a little bit too? 

“It wasn’t a perception. That was real," he said. "That part was an easy sell for me.”

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade up to take OT Andre Dillard

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade up to take OT Andre Dillard

With the 22nd pick in the draft, the Eagles on Thursday night selected Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard.

They couldn’t wait to take him. The Eagles traded up three spots to take Dillard. They gave up a fourth-rounder (127) and a sixth-rounder (197) to make the move from 25 to 22. 

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Dillard gives the Eagles an NFL-ready offensive lineman who can back up Lane Johnson and Jason Peters this year and presumably compete for a starting job next year assuming Peters retires.

Dillard is a smooth, polished three-year starter with terrific footwork and strength. Any question about whether he was a top-25 pick went out the window when he crushed it at the combine, where he ran 4.96, had the second-fastest cone drill and the fastest short-shuttle drill among linemen.

The biggest question about Dillard is his run-blocking ability, since Washington State basically throws every down — the Huskies had 4,859 passing yards and just 1,096 rushing yards last year. But he’s athletic enough that getting up to par shouldn’t be a problem. And the way the NFL is these days, pass blocking is far more important.

The Eagles have some questions along the offensive line, with Peters nearing the end, Stefen Wisniewski gone, Jason Kelce openly mulling retirement on an annual basis and Brandon Brooks coming back from an Achilles injury.

Jordan Mailata is an intriguing prospect but remains untested, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been a Super Bowl starter but has been very inconsistent as he moves into his fourth season and Matt Pryor hasn’t played.

Dillard is the third offensive lineman the Eagles have drafted in the first round since 2011 and the first Washington State player the Eagles have drafted since receiver Brandon Gibson in the sixth round in 2009.

The only Washington State player the Eagles have ever taken in the first three rounds is linebacker James Darling, a second-round pick in 1997. Darling spent 10 years in the NFL, the first four with the Eagles.

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Social media reacts to Giants taking Duke's Daniel Jones at No. 6 in 2019 NFL draft

Social media reacts to Giants taking Duke's Daniel Jones at No. 6 in 2019 NFL draft

Everything was falling in line for the Giants to draft an elite pass rusher at No. 6 who was supposed to be a top-three player.

Then Dave Gettleman did Dave Gettleman things.

The Giants reached for their quarterback of the future, taking Daniel Jones out of Duke. The G-men tabbed Jones as Eli Manning’s eventual successor when he’s done, whenever that finally happens. (If it ever happens.)

It also means that the Giants are one team now out of the Josh Rosen sweepstakes. Washington would be a prime landing spot for him.

Anyway, Giants fans this offseason have watched their franchise ship away talented players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon. Now, they watched their team take a QB too early.

They weren’t happy about it, but the rest of the internet was:

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