Eagles May Gain Multiple Draft Picks For Losing Top Assistant Coach

Duce Staley

Getty Duce Staley has been the associate head and running backs coach in Philadelphia for a few years.

The chances of Duce Staley leaving Philadelphia to be a head coach have always been strong. But if a new measure aimed at fixing the “eyesore-of-the-NFL minority coach issue” gets passed, then the Eagles might stand to benefit from their top assistant leaving town.

They could be rewarded in the form of a draft pick. According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, league owners are expected to vote on the controversial issue of compensation for teams in the hiring of minority coaches. The proposal includes giving multiple draft picks to the franchise credited for developing the minority coach.

So, for example, if Staley were to accept a head-coaching gig somewhere else, then the Eagles would receive third-round compensatory picks in the following two NFL drafts, per King. This also applies to minority personnel executives (see: Andrew Berry bolting Philly for Cleveland).

The details:

• A team losing an assistant coach who gets hired as a head coach, or a team losing a personnel executive to be a GM or primary football executive, will receive third-round Compensatory Picks in the following two drafts.

• A team losing both a minority personnel person to be a GM and an assistant coach to be a head coach—in the same year—would get three third-round picks, if they both last two years with their teams. A rarity, of course.

A similar rule was voted on and tabled in the spring, although that one proposed giving draft picks to the hiring team instead of the outgoing team. It is sure to be a hot-button issue that won’t pass without a lengthy debate. The main goal is to increase diversity in the NFL and up the number of minority head coaches (there are five: Mike Tomlin, Ron Rivera, Brian Flores, Anthony Lynn, Romeo Crennel) as well as general managers (there are two: Andrew Berry, Chris Grier).

“Clearly, we are not where we want to be on this level,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said prior to Super Bowl LIV, via USA Today. “We have a lot of work that’s gone into not only the Rooney Rule, but our policies overall. It’s clear we need to change and do something different.”

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Staley Talks ‘Secret’ Coaching Notebook

Staley had the opportunity to serve as the Eagles’ interim head coach for 10 days during training camp when Doug Pederson was forced to self-isolate due to his positive COVID-19 test. His official title is “Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach” so he was the one guiding virtual meetings and running practices.

He talked about the experience back on Aug. 19 and revealed that he had started a “little notebook” with “secrets in it.”

“When Doug was out of the building, he trusted me to step right in and take over and continue to deliver our message as a team and continue to deliver his message,” Staley told reporters. “It was awesome. I learned a lot and I have a little notebook up there with some secrets in it, so it’s been cool.”

The biggest things he learned from that week were the three L’s.

“I learned the three L’s, and the three L’s, are listen, learn and lead,” said Staley. “That’s what I got from that awesome experience.”

Eagles Assistant Not Disappointed, Overlooked

The 45-year-old has been the running backs coach in Philly since 2013 and interviewed for the head-coaching job in 2016. That gig eventually went to Pederson but he kept Staley on staff as one of his most trusted advisers. Still, the Eagles chose to promote then-receivers coach Mike Groh to offensive coordinator in 2018 after Frank Reich left for Indianapolis.

Two years later, the Eagles fired Groh and Staley appeared to be the front-runner for the vacant offensive coordinator position. He wasn’t hired, although to be fair the team decided to put together a “collaborative coaching staff” over naming a traditional offensive coordinator. No matter. Staley has a lot of input on game-planning in Philly, something he explained over the summer.

“I’m not disappointed at all. I don’t feel overlooked,” Staley told reporters on Aug. 2. “I said about two years ago how it’s a little different here with the Eagles. We’re not about titles. We’re about getting the job done, and that’s what we’ve been doing here for a while.”

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