PHOENIX -- For months, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has trumpeted the importance he placed on getting a franchise quarterback last April, when the team moved up to select Carson Wentz.
There was an echo in Arizona on Tuesday night. And Jeff Lurie wasn't even standing in a cavern.
"I'll say it to you this way: Howie and I thought identically on this situation, in terms of we've both been in the league a long time and when we sat down and said, where are we without a quarterback?" the Eagles' owner said on Tuesday, speaking for the first time to reporters in over a year. "We can be good. We can figure out a way to be 10-6. We can be the team that was in the playoffs against the Saints a few years ago. We can be that.
"But we were both mutually obsessed if the time came that there was a quarterback, we would be willing to do a lot because I don't know, Howie and I completely agree on this, as do probably most of you, what do you do when most teams who are 2-14, 3-13 at the top of the draft, they need the quarterback. So you are blocked, basically. That was the conundrum. That was the puzzle."
They identified the puzzle last spring and then it was up to Roseman to solve it. He used two moves -- the trade from 13 to 8 and the trade from 8 to 2 -- to make the pick happen.
Lurie on Tuesday admitted the team tried very hard to trade with the Titans to pick up the No. 1 overall pick. When the Rams moved into the first spot, the Eagles made sure they knew the Rams were going to take Jared Goff, which left their desired target, Wentz, available at No. 2.
Lurie detailed a little bit of the pre-draft process that led to the pick of Wentz a little less than a year ago. He said the team collected 80 pages of reports and tested Wentz physically, athletically and psychologically before determining he was worthy of trading up for a top pick.
"It was a very detailed and involved process," Lurie said. "Someday we can write a book about this if it all works out."
Less than a year after the Eagles drafted Wentz, it's pretty clear the entire organizational plan revolves around getting the quarterback talent. In fact, that's why Lurie -- 23 years and counting without a championship -- seemed so accepting of being patient. It takes time to build around a franchise quarterback and the most important piece of the next puzzle is drafting talent to surround Wentz with.
Lurie tried to be cautiously optimistic on Tuesday -- "He's had a very good first year. That's it," he said -- but the Eagles' owner really seems to think Wentz can be the player that leads the team where it's never been before.
In fact, Lurie listed four reasons why he thinks Wentz can be that guy:
1. Physical talent
2. Personality and leadership
3. Football intelligence and obsession to be good
4. How he works with his teammates
"I think we've seen guys come into the league that have that and you hope he's one of those because the best quarterbacks in this league lead from hard work and being humble and they're very smart," Lurie said. "And you obviously have to have the physical talent. He's got that. Can he stay healthy? Can he continue to grow? Can he perform as we go forward, the way the curve should go? It's a hope. That's all it is. It's a hope."
While Lurie pointed out Wentz's workout before the third preseason game (when he was injured) as a defining moment in telling if he was ready to play, Lurie knew long before then that Wentz might be special.
Speaking on Tuesday for the first time since Wentz was drafted, Lurie said he remembered sitting in a room in North Dakota while Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo grilled Wentz repeatedly. And Wentz had an answer for everything.
After Wentz left the room, the three asked each other the same question: Have you ever seen anything like this?
"The answer was yes, but extremely rarely," Lurie said. "I won't mention who but it's somebody who we all hope he becomes and it was one of those defining moments."
And it just fueled the obsession that led to the Eagles' getting their franchise quarterback.