Eagles

How critical is mystery man Tom Donahoe to the Eagles?

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AP Images

How critical is mystery man Tom Donahoe to the Eagles?

He doesn’t even have a bio.

Tom Donahoe has spent nearly 30 years running NFL scouting departments, and he’s been with the Eagles for over seven years now. He’s a legend in the scouting community.

Yet when you try to click his name on the Eagles’ on-line front office directory, you can’t.

When you click every other notable front office staffer’s name on the team's web site, it leads to their bio.

Tom’s doesn’t click. Nothing happens. There’s no link. There's no bio.

This speaks volumes about Donahoe. 

He doesn’t want attention. He doesn’t want credit. He doesn’t want accolades. He just wants to quietly do his job and stay safely hidden, deep in the shadows.

And he’s been doing that for the Eagles since 2012.

A little background: Donahoe spent 1991 through 1999 as the Steelers’ general manager, a span where they won four straight AFC Central titles, went to the playoffs six straight times and reached three AFC title games and a Super Bowl.

After a power struggle with Bill Cowher left him briefly unemployed, he landed with the Bills, where he served as general manager until 2005.

Donahoe joined the Eagles’ front office as a “senior advisor” before the 2012 season and survived Andy Reid’s firing and the Chip Kelly Era, earning a promotion to senior director of player personnel on Dec. 29, 2015 — the same day Kelly was fired and Howie Roseman’s power was restored.

In the years since, he has been a crucial yet hidden voice in the Eagles' front office.

Donahoe is rarely seen. He’s been made available by the team for one interview — in the NovaCare Complex cafeteria in April of 2015, along with all the team’s scouts — and he was entertaining and insightful, regaling the media with stories of his career, including the role he played in converting Jason Peters from an undrafted tight end into a Hall of Fame offensive lineman while both were in Buffalo.

That was four years ago. For the most part, you don’t hear about Donahoe. You don’t read about him. But make no mistake about it. He is a huge part of this franchise. 

Donaohoe is a valued sounding board for Roseman, and a trusted adviser for owner Jeff Lurie.  

Donahoe grew up in the South Hills neighborhood of Pittsburgh and played football at South Hills Catholic, where one of his teammates was George Weidl. 

George Weidl's sons? They would be Andy and Casey, who are both now key members of the Eagles’ scouting department. Andy last week was promoted to vice president of player personnel, with Joe Douglas becoming Jets GM, and Casey was just promoted to director of scouting operations.

Donahoe evaluated film for Roseman and Douglas when they were building a Super Bowl roster. He was on Lurie's search committee that recommended Pederson. He’s single-handedly responsible for two of the team’s highly regarded young scouting administrators.

Donahoe’s fingerprints are all over this franchise.

Donahoe is so uninterested in promoting himself or taking credit for the success the Eagles have had under his watch that he won’t even let his picture be taken for his bio. 

Go to Google Images and search for a picture of Donahoe. You can’t find one. At least nothing recent.

But I feel likes that’s exactly what you need at the heart of your scouting department, at the heart of your front office.

Donahoe is not in this business to get promoted or to gain notoriety. He’s doing this for the right reason. He likes to win. 

Donaohoe won his first Super Bowl with the Eagles 16 months ago, and I’m just guessing here but I’ll bet he doesn’t wear his ring.

He’s not about drawing attention to himself. He’s about doing whatever he can do to support Lurie, Roseman and now Andy Weidl, his high school teammate’s kid.

Douglas was the same way. Howie’s the same way. Weidl is the same way. 

That’s how you build a winning culture. A championship culture.

When you have a group of people working together that way – disinterested in who gets the credit, working solely with team goals in mind, operating without ego – you have a chance to do some pretty special things.

The best part of all this? If I made a mistake in this piece, nobody would ever know.

Because how do you look something up in a guy’s bio if he doesn’t have one?

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NFL trade deadline: 8 cornerback targets for Eagles with Jalen Ramsey off the board

NFL trade deadline: 8 cornerback targets for Eagles with Jalen Ramsey off the board

After Eagles fans had hoped for weeks that Howie Roseman would pull the trigger and land Jalen Ramsey, the Pro Bowl cornerback was dealt to the Rams for two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick on Tuesday night. 

We can all debate whether or not the Eagles should have paid that price — and that is a fun debate — but it won’t change anything. Ramsey is off the table and the Eagles have less than two weeks before the trade deadline on Oct. 29. 

Here are several other cornerbacks who might be available in a trade: 

CB Patrick Peterson (Cardinals) 
Peterson is 29, but it somehow feels like he’s been a rumored trade target for the Eagles for about 15 years. The former first-round pick has truly been a great player for a long time. He’s been in the league eight years and is an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Peterson missed the first six games of the year because of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, but he’s back now and ready to play. The Cardinals have been hesitant to trade him, but they’re 2-3-1 and rebuilding with a rookie quarterback. Peterson has one year left on his deal after this season. The price would be relatively high for him, but maybe the Eagles can get a few years of Peterson at a high level. 

CB Chris Harris Jr. (Broncos) 
Harris is 30 and in the final year of his contract, so he might just be a rental. The Broncos don’t seem eager to trade away players and they have won two straight games (2-4), but they should probably still sell. Harris worked his way from being an undrafted rookie to a four-time Pro Bowler. He’s been at his best as a nickel, but can play outside too. 

CB Xavien Howard (Dolphins) 
I don’t think Miami is going to trade Howard, but I’d at least make a call. He’s still just 26 and had seven interceptions in a Pro Bowl season last year. Howard has a knee injury right now too, which would be another hurdle. And the Dolphins did sign him to a big contract in May, so they seem to view him as a piece for the future. 

CB Desmond Trufant (Falcons) 
The Falcons fooled me again this season. I thought they were going to be good and they stink to the point where they probably should be selling. Trufant is 29 now and under contract for three more seasons. He’s pretty expensive, but he would help and Roseman can figure out the numbers. 

CB Josh Norman (Redskins) 
No, Norman isn’t what he once was with the Panthers, but he’d be an upgrade for the Eagles. There are some reasons not to make this move, though. He’s 31, has a loud personality and a bloated contract with another year on it after this season. But if the compensation is right, it wouldn’t be a horrible idea. 

CB Janoris Jenkins (Giants) 
Not sure how the Giants would feel about trading Jenkins in the division, but the 30-year-old is having a good season with three interceptions in six games. He has one more year under contract after this season with a salary of over $10 million next year, but the Eagles could get out of it or restructure. 

CB Trumaine Johnson (Jets) 
Johnson has a ridiculous salary after signing a five-year, $72.5 million deal last March and the Jets should be eager to dump that off. Heck, they benched him earlier this season. But maybe a change of scenery would do the 29-year-old good. 

CB Artie Burns (Steelers) 
The former first-round pick hasn’t played up to that status and has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh. He’s also in a contract year, so the Steelers might want to get something for him before he walks as a free agent. It probably wouldn’t take much to get him to Philly. 

If the Eagles don’t trade for a cornerback, there are other positions that would make sense, too. Here are a few names I’d at least call about: EDGE Von Miller (Broncos), EDGE Vic Beasley (Falcons), EDGE Carson Dunlap (Bengals), DT Geno Atkins (Bengals), DT Leonard Williams (Jets), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos), A.J. Green (Bengals), WR DeVante Parker (Dolphins). 

Roseman has pulled off significant moves in each of the last two seasons: for Jay Ajayi in 2017 and for Golden Tate last year. He has less than two weeks to get one done this year. 

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Doug Pederson on Jalen Ramsey trade: 'I'm happy for the Rams'

Doug Pederson on Jalen Ramsey trade: 'I'm happy for the Rams'

Doug Pederson said Wednesday he’s not disappointed the Eagles did not land Jalen Ramsey, the 24-year-old All-Pro cornerback traded Tuesday from the Jaguars to the Rams.

The Jaguars shipped two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to the Rams in exchange for Ramsey, who had, according to published reports, been a target of the Eagles since it was clear he was unhappy in Jacksonville and wanted out.

“There’s no disappointment,” Pederson said. “It’s hard to comment on that because he’s obviously not on our team, but we have a lot of respect for him — good player, I’m happy for the Rams, obviously, he’ll be a great addition, they have some corners that are banged up, traded one, so he’ll fit in well there."

The Eagles are 3-3 and coming off an 18-point loss to the Vikings in which they allowed four touchdown passes. They’ve allowed 13 TD passes this year, fifth-most in the league.

Their last Pro Bowl cornerback was Asante Samuel in 2010. They are one of six NFL teams that hasn’t had a single Pro Bowl cornerback over the last eight seasons. The other teams are the Ravens, Steelers, Raiders, Redskins and Rams.

The Eagles have been using 2017 draft picks Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones as starters. Both struggled Sunday, although Douglas has played fairly well much of the season.

When asked about the Eagles not landing Ramsey, Pederson pointed out that corners Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, who have started 28 and 22 games in an Eagles uniform, will be back soon.

Mills hasn’t played in a year because of a foot injury and Darby has been out three weeks with a hamstring injury, but both are expected to be at practice on Wednesday. There’s a chance one or both could play against the Cowboys Sunday.

“Listen, we’re getting guys back too on our team, and I’m excited about the guys we have coming back and getting in the mix,” Pederson said. “We’re starting to get healthy as well, so that’s the encouraging part from our side.”

As of now, Douglas, Darby, Jones, Craig James, Orlando Scandrick and Avonte Maddox are on the 53-man roster, and Cre'Von LeBlanc is on Injured Reserve.

There's still 13 days until the NFL trade deadline. 



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