This is the first in a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BleedingGreenNation.com.
The Draft Room is the Forbidden Entry in the NovaCare Complex. Located on the second floor within the coaches' wing of the building, it is a room into which only those who are invited enter. It is not a room in which to peek, nor fiddle near with loud tones.
It is the Room Of Secrets at this time of the year.
Between now and very late into the night on Saturday when the 2014 NFL Draft concludes, only a select few will step foot into the Draft Room. I will not be one of them. I've known interns who have trembled at the thought of being summoned into the draft room to deliver some information, fearful (and this was years ago) that a misstep would cost him a job.
In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually stepped foot inside the draft room, and not one of those times occurred before or during a draft. As recently as 2009 I was in the room, sharing snacks and looking at each team and the list of players they picked, asking questions of the Eagles' personnel staff of their opinions on which teams did well and why.
Other than that, Idon'tknowathing.
And that's the way it should be. Draft weekend is the most important three days for every NFL franchise. It is the time when rosters are made or broken. A team's long-range success is predicated largely upon the "hit" rate from the draft. Only a small number of people within the Eagles truly know who the draft targets are, what plans are in place, and the various scenarios in place to improve the roster.
The rest of us are just like you. We talk about it over breakfast. We name names over lunch. We are tempted to walk up to general manager Howie Roseman and lay it out there: "Howie, WHO ARE YOU GOING TO DRAFT IN THE FIRST ROUND!!??"
But we don't. The game is played the way it's been played for as long as I've been here (covered every game since the strike of 1987, joined the team in 1997): Only those who need to know, know. There have been years, however, when everyone was clued in to the first-round pick. We all knew Donovan McNabb would be the selection in 1999, to the point where we prepared McNabb video highlights and an elaborate content plan upon the official announcement. That year was in stark contrast to a couple of years earlier, 1997, when then-head coach Ray Rhodes selected defensive end Jon Harris from the University of Virginia. It was a shocking name to hear in the first round, and the immediate aftermath was Rhodes doing a whirlwind media tour trying to explain - without much success, as it turned out - why Harris was the right player to pick.
The NovaCare Complex is in full-blown draft buzz right now. The energy is always off the walls in the building, but there is a special feeling now. The momentum from 2013 has carried over. Head coach Chip Kelly inspires a lot of confidence. Reaching the playoffs after two tough seasons in 2011 and 2012 provided an appetizer of what's to come for this football team. The players have totally bought in, and the 100 percent attendance rate for the offseason conditioning program is encouraging.
But there is lot of work ahead for the football team. There are needs on the roster on both sides of the line of scrimmage. How many of them can the Eagles fill in the three days of the draft? Roseman has said repeatedly that he wants to stay true to the draft board and bring good players aboard, without being specific on positions.
Thursday can't get here fast enough. The Eagles have the 22nd pick in Round 1 and I don't see them moving way, way up to draft earlier, so it's going to feel like forever until the team is on the clock. Once they are, we'll see the plan unfold, one that truly, honestly, only a few people know at this moment.