Eagles Put Rookie QB Through Ridiculous NFL Combine Interview

Sam Howell

Getty Sam Howell lines up to fire a pass for UNC during a 2021 game against Pitt.

Imagine going into a job interview and being asked to shoot a basketball through a mini hoop. Weird but competitive, right? That’s what the Philadelphia Eagles were going for when they asked Sam Howell to perform the carnival act at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

Howell, a young gunslinger out of North Carolina, is expected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the upcoming draft. He told Senior Bowl reporters that he has the “best arm in the class” while most mock drafts have him slipping into the second round. On Wednesday, Howell joked that he failed the mini-hoop competition so he’s likely off the Eagles’ draft board.

“That was probably the craziest thing I’ve had to do so far,” Howell told reporters, via Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus. “I only made like two out of five, so probably not high up on their board right now.”

Head coach Nick Sirianni is fond of using unconventional methods to interview prospective players. He ran guys through a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” last year as a means to personalize Zoom calls. They played Jeopardy and endured other brain teasers.

“I’m competitive. I’m going to be talking trash to them,” Sirianni said after last year’s NFL Combine. “Did you talk trash back to me? It was awesome, though, because it did — anything you compete at, when you compete with somebody that’s competitive, they’re going to go at you no matter what game you’re playing.”

To double down on that point, the Eagles have a ping pong table inside the practice facility – don’t challenge Jake Elliott – as well as a basketball hoop for three-point contests. And players competed in back-pedal races last season.

“When you practice competing, just like you practice those plays, you’re going to get better and better and better at it,” Sirianni said. “That’s the main philosophy behind it.”

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Eagles Land WR in Mel Kiper’s Mock Draft

It’s mock draft season and Mel Kiper Jr. wrote the book. His latest installment has the Eagles scoring three positions of need: cornerback, edge rusher, receiver. He has them taking Trent McDuffie (CB, Washington) at pick No. 15 before landing David Ojabo (DE, Michigan) at No. 16 and Treylon Burks (WR, Arkansas) at No. 19. Ojabo is listed as an outside linebacker but he will play edge rusher at the next level. He had 11 sacks and five forced fumbles last season.

Meanwhile, NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks has Philly drafting Kyle Hamilton (S, Notre Dame) at No. 15 followed by Chris Olave (WR, Ohio State) at No. 16 and Jermaine Johnson II (DE, Florida State) at No. 19. The latter has been rising up draft boards as an “athletic pass rusher with a non-stop motor.”

Howie Roseman Mentions Super Bowl, Draft Strategy

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with team reporter Dave Spadaro where he discussed the upcoming draft. Philadelphia has a lot of flexibility to make a splash, but it’s a double-edged sword when looking ahead at the future. There are a ton of NFL rosters, loaded with young talent, that only win one Super Bowl. Or maybe never win one at all.

“It’s really hard to win a Super Bowl,” Roseman told Spadaro. “Right? You see all of these great players who maybe have one Super Bowl win and you look at those guys and you go, ‘Man, how do those guys only have one Super Bowl win? These are great, great players.’ Well, it’s hard. It’s hard to be that last team standing. You need so many things to go right.”

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