Eagles Insider

For Eagles, evaluating draft prospects' physical traits isn't enough

Eagles Insider

There are some things a stopwatch can’t measure. Some things all the game tape in the world won’t reveal. Some things that even the most savvy football minds have no clue about.

Pre-draft player evaluations have evolved immensely in recent years. It's no longer enough for teams to get to know what kind of football players college prospects are. It’s just as important to know what kind of people they are.

We’ve all seen can’t-miss draft picks quickly fade out of the league, and sometimes it has nothing to do with their size, speed or ability.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, they’re just not meant to be professional football players. 

It’s up to the Eagles to identify them before they make big mistakes on draft day.

“Just like we do a player evaluation, we try to do a character evaluation on all these guys,” Howie Roseman said last week.

“Now, some of them are easy, right? Some of them are really easy. It's not too hard to figure out a three-time captain in the SEC. DeVonta [Smith] didn't take long to figure out. Landon [Dickerson] didn't take long to figure out.

“But some of these guys, they're complicated. So we spend a lot of time talking about them and getting as much background and talking to as many experts as we can to try to figure out the person as much as the player. … We try to dig deep into the background and the character.”


There are several layers of psychological evaluation as far as the Eagles are concerned, starting with the scouts. 

They’re the ones on the road, they’re the ones on the college campuses for practice, they’re the ones building relationships with coaches, trainers and school officials.

They're the first ones in the organization to spend time around potential draft picks.

“Really, the first credit to that goes to our scouts, all of the guys that are on the road all year,” Roseman said. “They do a tremendous job of being experts in their school and in their players. 

“They're the ones who really alert us to some guys that we may need to spend extra time with.”

Then it’s in the hands of Dom DiSandro, the Eagles’ VP of security. He’s the big dude you’ve seen for the last 20 years walking on and off the field on game day with Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson or Nick Sirianni.

But that's only a fraction of his role here.

“There’s nobody better in the National Football League than Dom DiSandro about getting to the bottom of guys and figuring out guys and talking to guys and understanding who are risks and who are fits for this team,” Roseman said.

“He knows our team backwards and forwards. He knows the players that are fits for our culture, for our team and our city. So very fortunate to have those two pieces.”

But on top of all that, the Eagles have a staff of professionals who are trained for this stuff. 

It’s their job to meet with prospects and try to determine which ones are draft risks because of personality traits, background issues or other red flags.

“We have experts who do talk to the guys that we have some questions on and try to get to the bottom of it,” Roseman said. “(Sirianni) and I can think we're good at interviewing players, but at the end of the day, we didn't go to school for it. We don't have that area of expertise.”

The bottom line is that drafting college football players is about as inexact a science as you can possibly have.

The more you know, the better equipped you are to make a decision.

And for the Eagles, that goes for their mental traits as well as physical.