Eagles Executive Shockingly Ranked Higher Than Patriots’ Bill Belichick

howie roseman

Getty Howie Roseman.

The Eagles have long been praised for the way they manipulate the salary cap and backload contracts. Agents across the league credit one man: Howie Roseman.

In a recent poll conducted by The Athletic, the Eagles GM was voted the smartest front-office leader in football. Ben Standig surveyed 30 NFL agents to determine the best contract negotiators and talent-seekers. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, Roseman took top honors.

He finished one vote ahead of the Patriots’ Bill Belichick and two in front of the Colts’ Chris Ballard. One agent wrote the following in his drool-worthy praise for Roseman:

If I was gonna go into the lab and build a GM, it’s a guy that can deal with the media, a guy that knows personnel and a guy that knows money. Those are the three things. Howie Roseman is a guy who I think is very good with the media from what I can tell. I know that he knows the money game very well. And I’ve known him for 15-18 years and he’s worked incredibly hard to learn football and how to evaluate to the point now where he’s really good. I give him a lot of credit that he can handle all three parts of the job.

While Roseman’s recent drafts have been harshly criticized, there’s no denying that he’s a likable personality in a no-nonsense city. And the way he was able to stealthily secure team-friendly deals for Carson Wentz and Darius Slay was genius. Roseman also built the roster that ultimately led to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl.

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Have Roseman’s Drafts Really Been That Bad?

The one knock on Roseman has been reaching on draft picks or sometimes trying to be the smartest guy in the room. He was heavily involved in some bad drafts when Andy Reid was still the head coach. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s limit the evaluation to the post-Chip Kelly era: 2016 and beyond.

This year, he was heavily criticized for taking Jalen Hurts in the second round and even his first-round selection of Jalen Reagor drew mixed reviews. But he stuck to his well-known plan of getting younger and faster all over the field. The stories of the 2020 draft have yet to be told.

However, there is a certain track record to look at when talking about his ability to evaluate talent. His 2016 draft was a home run as it netted impact players like Carson Wentz (first round), Isaac Seumalo (third round), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (fifth round) and Jalen Mills (seventh round).

Wentz is arguably a top-5 quarterback in the league while Seumalo has developed into one of the best left guards in football. Vaitai left in free agency but was a valuable starter over the past three seasons, plus the versatile Mills looks like a late-round steal.

The 2017 draft class isn’t quite as impressive, though. Derek Barnett (first round) is a work in progress and Sidney Jones (second round) could be an outright bust. Rasul Douglas (third round) was benched down the stretch last year, although he has been turning heads so far this offseason in private workouts.

Mack Hollins (fourth round) and Donnell Pumphrey (fourth round) were reach picks who are no longer on the team. Shelton Gibson (fourth round) and Elijah Qualls (sixth round) are gone, too. There are two other interesting names on the list: Nathan Gerry (fifth round) and Corey Clement (undrafted). Both players have flashed potential and remain on the roster.

Evaluating the 2018 & 2019 NFL Drafts

Dallas Goedert (second round) looks like a certifiable stud, a guy who could force Zach Ertz out of town if the money gets tight. Other than him, it’s a ton of talent that hasn’t put it all together yet. Avonte Maddox (fourth round) has held his own at the slot corner spot and could win a starting job on the outside at training camp in 2020. Josh Sweat (fourth round) is an extremely athletic edge rusher who broke out with four sacks down the stretch in 2019.

Then, there are over-sized offensive linemen Matt Pryor (sixth round) and Jordan Mailata (seventh round). Pryor was in line for a starting job until the Eagles signed Jason Peters. Mailata? The potential is there but unfortunate injuries and a bad learning curve has slowed his progress. Mailata has to turn the corner this summer or he’ll be out the door.

One more name to consider is Joe Ostman. The undrafted defensive end tore his ACL last year in the preseason but there was a buzz around him. He’s aggressive and quick off the edge.

Andre Dillard (first round) is the elephant in the room from the 2019 class. He’s projected as the starter at left tackle this season and the future of the franchise on the blindside. The jury is still out after an up-and-down 2019 campaign. Miles Sanders (second round) looks like the real deal, a game-changing feature back with enough shake to evoke images of LeSean McCoy. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (second round) has a lot to prove in Year 2 but apparently he wowed the coaching staff during virtual workouts.

The rest? Shareef Miller (fourth round) couldn’t get on the field in 2019 and finds himself in a prove-it sophomore situation. The Eagles do need help at edge rusher so the opportunity will be there. Clayton Thorson (fifth round) was cut after training camp and signed with Dallas.

Lastly, T.J. Edwards (undrafted) was impressive in limited snaps last year and has the inside track on the starting middle linebacker job in 2020. He’s one of the most intriguing players on the roster.

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