If Howie Roseman has learned one thing over his relatively short time as Eagles general manager, it's to trust his board.
"You get your board right, you don't pick for need. If you do that, then you have the opportunity to come away with a heck of a draft. We're excited about the class we had last year. We think we build on that, add a couple more and we can get a core group of players that are Philadelphia Eagles that can be here for a long time."
This is a point I mentioned in the Linc a few days ago. LeSean McCoy was once the highest rated player on the Cowboys board and they passed on him because they felt they had other needs. Obviously that was a mistake. In 2011, everyone knew the Eagles needed a guard and they went and took a guard in the first. Everyone knew they needed a safety and they took one in the 2nd.
So far Danny Watkins hasn't worked out and Jaiquwan Jarrett is no longer with the team. The 2011 draft in general seems to be a disaster. However, at least if you believe Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman, that draft was more on Reid while the more promising 2012 draft was the first where Roseman had the responsibility.
Will Howie trust his board this year and resist drafting for need? The answer will probably become apparent in the later rounds. One of the things about being a bad team with a top 5 pick is that you've got a lot of needs and if you look at virtually any big board floating around out there, you could make a decent argument as to why any of the top 10 ranked players would fill a need on this team.
Of course, just as important, if not more important than trusting your board is building your board. In year's passed, the Eagles have put a lot of stock in combine and all star game performances. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim put up impressive combine numbers and jumped up the Eagles board. He didn't work out here, although his solid play in Tampa Bay may somewhat vindicate Reid's approach there...
But as we've said many times this offseason, Andy Reid is gone, so we can no longer assume that his tendencies are part of the organization. Howie Roseman has said that he doesn't expect his board to change much at all as a result of the combine. This is an approach that former scout Russ Lande agrees with.
When I have spoken to scouts and personnel executives over the years, one thing I have constantly heard is that if you helped the Draft before the Combine and Pro Days you would see fewer mistakes drafting. This time of the year is when the teams that draft well are able to separate themselves from those that do not because teams that draft well do not put as much stock in the Combine workouts and fall in love with certain prospects.
My question to all of you is this, what would you see as a reach for need in the first round this year? For me, it would be a guy like Dee Milliner, the CB from Alabama. I have a hard time believing that he would be among the top 5 players on the Eagles board, but he does play a position of big need.