Eagles

Eagles

It’s unlikely most Eagles fans could pick vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas out of a lineup, but Douglas might be the single most important person inside the NovaCare Complex.
 
If Howie Roseman lets him.
 
The Eagles hired Douglas in May to head up their personnel department, but his success hinges on his working relationship with Roseman. So far, so good, it appears.
 
Douglas has been with the Eagles for nearly nine months and Roseman on Wednesday said the team is already feeling his impact.
 
“[Douglas has] a way of looking and evaluating players that is different than what we’ve done in the past and, quite frankly, we needed that,” Roseman said at his end-of-season press conference Wednesday morning. “He has full rein to set the draft board. He’s involved in every discussion we have about building this team. And I think we’ll start seeing dividends.”
 
Just because Douglas is the person who will set the draft board, it doesn’t mean he’s the person who will decide who they draft. Roseman, as his boss and as the highest-ranking person in Eagles football operations, still has final say.
 
“It’s a collaborative effort when we talk about who we’re picking,” Roseman said, “and at the end of the day, the responsibility is mine.”
 
While Roseman still has final say and is still the ruler of the empire, Douglas’ role in the organization is huge and shouldn't be understated. Not only will he set the team’s draft board, he’ll also be charged with assembling the team’s free-agent board.
 
Since he was hired, Douglas has been playing catch-up as he tried to divide his time between learning the Eagles’ roster, watching college football and the NFL. After a few weeks, he developed a rhythm that he was able to use for the rest of the year. Now, things are about to really ramp up in the pre-draft and pre-free agency process.
 
Douglas spent 2015-16 season as the Bears’ director of college scouting. Before that, he was with the Baltimore Ravens from 2000-2015 in various roles, most recently as a national scout. In Baltimore, he worked under renowned and revered general manager Ozzie Newsome. For the Eagles, Douglas was the answer to a lengthy search for a personnel head after Roseman was reinstated as the team’s de facto GM around this time a year ago.  
 
“I think when we look at the success the Ravens had, and certainly they won two world championships since the start of the century, what they’re looking for and the traits they’re looking for in particular positions, fits the way this city is built too,” Roseman said. “We want to find whatever ways there are to improve this team and to improve the quality of players on this team. And I’m really confident that we have the people in our scouting staff to do that.”
 
As far of the specifics of the traits Douglas looks for in certain positions, Roseman declined to divulge them. Instead, he evaded the question by saying the two of them look back at the types of players the Eagles had when they went to five conference championships and the types of players the Ravens had when they were winning Super Bowls.
 
In any case, with Douglas in house, it seems like there will be a departure from the thinking of the past in Philadelphia, at least in some cases.
 
In addition to having a new personnel head in Douglas, the Eagles also have a relatively new head coach in Doug Pederson, who was kind of thrown into the pre-draft and free-agent evaluation process last year. Recently, Pederson said he was too busy implementing an offense to really get involved in the personnel side last year. He’s interested to see if that will change this offseason.
 
“[Pederson] asks a lot of questions about things that we’re doing. We ask for his input,” Roseman said. “We funnel down the information for him and his staff. But we need to know what they need. We need to know what it looks like for them at each position. They do a great job of giving us that insight, starting with Doug and then funneling down to the rest of his staff.”
 
According to Roseman, he and Douglas meet several times per day. Douglas isn’t alone in his job, though. One of the first things he did after being hired was bring in Andy Weidl to be his assistant director of player personnel. Douglas and Weidl worked together for many years with the Ravens. The two of them will be charged with leading the Eagles' offseason.
 
“Our job, and really my job, is to help make decisions,” Roseman said. “I think that’s something I can help with, with the experience I’ve had, good and bad. And really excited for him to put his own spin on it and I think that’s already started.”
 
Maybe Douglas will eventually make a difference. If Roseman lets him.