Eagles

Howie Roseman explains why Eagles didn't draft a safety or linebacker

Howie Roseman explains why Eagles didn't draft a safety or linebacker

Nasir Adderley was there. Taylor Rapp was there. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was there.

When the Eagles picked Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round, they bypassed several highly regarded safeties, which certainly opened some eyes.

With Malcolm Jenkins turning 32 late this season and Rodney McLeod only signed through 2019, the Eagles have a clear need for a young safety. 

And with Jordan Hicks gone, and Nigel Bradham the only linebacker assured of a starting job, they have a clear need for a young linebacker as well.

The Eagles came out of the draft with neither, and Howie Roseman admitted the Eagles would have liked to address both before the weekend was over.

Yeah, I think it's fair to look at those two groups and say that it's probably something that we would have liked to have done. There were a couple times in the draft where we were deciding between a couple guys.

But Roseman and Joe Douglas were adamant about sticking to their board. And that meant taking Sanders at 53 and Arcega-Whiteside at 57. 

And it meant coming out of the draft without a safety or linebacker.

We had a couple of those opportunities where maybe we could have gone in a different direction,” Roseman said. “But I think when we sit back down and look at it, maybe that was an area we thought we'd address, but you can't go into a draft and just say you're going to address it.

What do the Eagles have at safety behind Jenkins and McLeod?

They signed Andrew Sendejo, who turns 32 before the season starts. They have former undrafted free agent Tre Sullivan, who played well last year down the stretch. Deiondre’ Hall is mainly a special teamer. Then there are corners who could presumably work in at safety, like Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, and even Jalen Mills.

What do they have at linebacker behind Bradham?

Kamu Grugier-Hill played 328 snaps on defense and played OK. Nate Gerry is mainly a special teamer. L.J. Fort and Paul Worrilow are 29-year-old veterans. And Dave Zangaro will kill me if I don’t mention B.J. Bello, who spent a couple months on the Eagles’ practice squad last year.

So there are some interesting names but very little proven depth.

We need some of our young guys to take a step up at both those spots,” Roseman said. “They have been here. We are hopeful that that's the case, and again, talent-acquisition season has not ended. We have a long way to go before we play a game, and then we have a long way to go before the trade deadline. We're not going on vacation now. We're going to continue to try to do whatever we can to support coach (Doug Pederson) and his staff.

Did Roseman and his staff handle this the right way?

They were certainly true to their philosophy of taking the highest-rated player on the board instead of addressing an obvious need.

And it just turned out that their highest-rated players at 22, 53 and 57 were on offense.

Only time will tell whether their evaluations will correct. But their approach sure was.

“At the end of the day, we didn't reach on any offensive players here,” Roseman said. “We do definitely want to support our quarterback and make sure that he's got the right line around him and the right skill position guys around him, but we also know the defense can help him.”

Think back to the 2011 draft, when the Eagles desperately needed a safety and they took one — Temple’s Jaiquawn Jarrett — in the second round while bypassing some pretty good players, like linebacker Justin Houston, receiver Randall Cobb and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.

Jarrett lasted two inconsequential seasons with the Eagles and was out of the NFL before his 27th birthday.

That’s why you can’t reach at a certain position. You end up without the best possible value at that spot.

Nobody knows what the future holds at any specific position, so you take the best player on the board and go from there.

Whether the Eagles did that we’ll know in about 2021.

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Erase Jay Gruden's name from your Eagles coaching wish list

Erase Jay Gruden's name from your Eagles coaching wish list

Another of the most qualified remaining candidates for the Eagles’ offensive coordinator vacancy is off the board.

Jay Gruden, recently fired after six mediocre years as the Redskins’ head coach, is close to joining the Jaguars to fill their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Assuming the deal is completed, Gruden will become the Jaguars’ third offensive coordinator in three years. He replaces former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, fired last week after just one year in Jacksonville. DeFilippo replaced Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired and spent this past year in the same position with the Packers. DeFilippo was recently hired by Matt Nagy as QBs coach of the Bears.

Ten teams were in the market for an offensive coordinator when the regular season ended.

Of those 10, the Eagles are one of only two still hanging a "Help Wanted" sign on their front door. 

The other is the Vikings, whose offensive coordinator this past year, Kevin Stefanski, was named last week as head coach of the Browns.

Gruden, whose older brother John was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Ray Rhodes from 1995 through 1997 and is now head coach of the Raiders, spent 2011 through 2013 as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator before replacing Mike Shanahan as head coach of the Redskins in 2014.

His teams went 38-57 in six years and reached the playoffs only once, losing a wild-card game to the Packers in 2015.

In Jacksonville, Gruden will presumably be working with 2017 Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, who was the Jaguars’ opening-day quarterback this past year but was hurt much of the season and then benched later in the year for rookie Gardner Minshew.

It’s not known whether the Eagles had any formal interest in Gruden, but he was certainly one of the most intriguing remaining candidates for the opening.

The Eagles fired Mike Groh 12 days ago after two years as offensive coordinator one day after head coach Doug Pederson said both would remain on his staff.

Among the candidates the Eagles have been linked with who are now expected to remain in their current position are Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka, Ravens QBs coach James Urban (who spent three years as Bengals WRs coach under Jay Gruden) and USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.

Other qualified candidates who are off the board include Chan Gailey, hired as Dolphins offensive coordinator; LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who was hired by the Panthers; Joe Moorhead, who was hired Tuesday as Oregon’s offensive coordinator; and former Eagles offensive coordinator and recently fired Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, who was hired as OC of the Broncos.

Earlier Tuesday, we outlined some of the top remaining candidates, including current Eagles position coaches Duce Staley and Press Taylor.

The Eagles also remain without a wide receivers coach, a secondary coach and a defensive line coach. The team fired receivers coach Carson Walch and d-line coach Phillip Daniels, and secondary coach Cory Undlin accepted the defensive coordinator position with the Lions.

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Here's a sneak peak of the 2020 NFL Draft venue ... and it's 100% Las Vegas

Here's a sneak peak of the 2020 NFL Draft venue ... and it's 100% Las Vegas

The blueprint for the 2020 NFL Draft venue has been revealed and it's just what you would expect it to be in Las Vegas.

The draft has become quite a production in recent years, but this has to top all previous attempts if it's executed the way they're saying.

Reportedly, players will be transported to the stage by a boat. Which could be an epic moment for the draftees ... but could also add a significant amount of time to the already long night of events.

The red carpet stage has a more traditional look when it comes to a draft setting, but since it's Vegas, it's go big or go home.

There are currently mixed opinions about it all, but here are some of the funniest:

 

 

 


The draft will be held from April 23-25 where the Eagles currently hold the 21st overall pick.

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