Buddy Ryan famously said: “If you listen to the fans, you’ll be sitting up there with them.” While it’s nice to show appreciation for the folks that fill the seats, you might not want to always take their advice on personnel decisions. The Philadelphia Eagles have never worked that way and the franchise isn’t going to start doing it now.
So, yes, there are several positions the Eagles should address in next week’s draft (see: receiver, cornerback, safety, linebacker, edge rusher); however, head coach Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman don’t sound ready to pigeon-hole themselves into needs over wants. They have a whole scouting department working hard to find the best available players, guys who fit the Eagles’ culture as much as their scheme. Talent is important, but it’s not the only factor when it comes to drafting foundational pieces.
“But one thing that is very important is obviously the talent of the player, but then also the characteristics of the player,” Sirianni told reporters on April 20. “Those are things that are there for you to find out in the scouting process. Do they have high football IQ? Do they have good character? Are they tough? Those are things that you really can see and find out. And then in addition, do they love football and are they competitive?”
If that sounds like coach-speak, well, it is. Sirianni was responding to a question asking him “which side of the ball needs the most improvement?” He acknowledged he had sort of danced around the question before he answered it, then continued his waltz.
“I think I’ve said this before, in my experience, guys that have those five traits,” Sirianni said, “they maximize their potential. So, that’s what we want. We want to be able to get guys in here that can maximize potential both offensively, defensively and special teams wise.”
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Roseman: ‘Do What the Board Allows You To Do’
Roseman didn’t add much clarity when he was asked about which specific positions he might target. Again, the media and fans keep pointing out what the Eagles didn’t do in free agency. They missed out on several receivers, plus a slew of safeties. Those perceived holes in the roster won’t dictate Roseman’s draft board.
“You can’t really predict what other teams are going to do and you can’t be in a situation where you have to do something,” Roseman said. “Certainly, when you look at some of the mistakes that I’ve made personally, it’s because you try to force something.
“So, you can only do what the board allows you to do. There’s obviously a lot of time between now and the time the first game starts for us to continue to address the needs of this team.”
Lane Johnson Nominated for Major Award
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson has been nominated by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) for the George Halas Award, an honor bestowed upon the “NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.” He is competing against Joe Burrow, Maxx Crosby, Dak Prescott, and Ron Rivera for the award.
The winner will be announced on May 9. Alex Smith took home the hardware in 2021.