The Eagles have been tight-lipped about their draft strategy and refuse to drop many hints or clues. That’s the standard operating procedure in the NFL.
On Thursday, GM Howie Roseman conducted a nearly 45-minute conference call with reporters to share some background on how the first round might unfold and address certain positions of interest. This year’s draft class boasts the best and deepest collection of receiver talent in many years and the Eagles seem destined to select one. Maybe two. Or none. Roseman wasn’t saying.
“Well, you know, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” Roseman told reporters. “Is that how the saying goes? We’ve been in this situation a couple times with strong classes and I think it’s come back to bite me to talk about it. I would just say what we are doing is we are trying to stack the board based on the quality of the player.”
The Eagles have been linked to virtually every pass-catcher in the draft, from staying put at No. 21 and selecting Jalen Reagor or Henry Ruggs III to trading all the way up into the top-10 for Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. Roseman didn’t provide any answers, only to double down on his desire to draft for talent over need.
“You just don’t want to get in a situation where then you force things,” Roseman said. “Obviously, it’s human nature to see a hole in your roster or see a position that you want to upgrade and feel like you just are going to use this opportunity to do just that, but you don’t want to compound the problem by making a pick that doesn’t really help.”
Don’t Read Too Much into Blazing Fast 40 Times
Henry Ruggs III stole the show at the NFL Scouting Combine when he posted a lightning-quick 4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the seventh-fastest time ever recorded. It quickly raised him up many draft boards.
The Eagles have been one of the teams projected to go hard after Ruggs in the first round. But GM Howie Roseman and Vice-President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl both cautioned against reading too much into 40 times. Sometimes those numbers don’t translate into “play speed,” not after the pads go on.
“I think it’s time speed and play speed,” Weidl said. “I think you talk about when you’re watching a guy play, sometimes the 40 times don’t match up with the play speed, but a lot of times you have to come back to what you see on tape, are they running by people consistently, do they create gaps of separation.”
Roseman took it a step further by making a comparison to current Eagles speedster DeSean Jackson. He didn’t run the fastest 40 time — although his 4.35 was ninth-best in 2008 — but somehow finds another gear in live game settings.
“We tell our scouts all the time, I don’t know that there’s a faster guy in pads that I’ve ever seen in my 21-year career than DeSean Jackson,” Roseman said, “and he didn’t run the fastest 40. So I think that we have to make sure that we are evaluating that.”
Roseman Says COVID-19 Won’t Affect Draft Trades
This year’s draft will be different in a variety of ways due to the novel coronavirus. For starters, the event won’t be held in a single venue with fans cheering — and sometimes booing — the picks. It will take on a fully virtual format with front-office executives hunkered down in their home offices.
But don’t expect too much to change, other than the vibe and feel. Eagles GM Howie Roseman confided that he’s had the same level of communication that he always does this time of year with rival executives. The alarming COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t dampen trades since everyone can be easily reached by phone or text.
“I know that we are having the same conversations around the league that we always do a week out from the draft and the communication,” Roseman told reporters. “We have a great group of GMs and guys that really do a great job communicating with each other, talking to each other. It’s a fraternity.”
Roseman also made a joke about Jets GM Joe Douglas. The former vice-president of player personnel for the Eagles is now the head guy in New York.
“When we are in our draft room, and we are talking to the Jets, that’s not face-to-face interaction anyway,” Roseman said. “That’s Joe Douglas picking up the phone and calling us. Joe, call us, we’re here.”
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