Eagles executive vice president of football operations and former general manager Howie Roseman was among those who spoke at the annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) this weekend in Boston. The former Eagles general manager had some especially interesting comments about the idea of trading up during the draft.
Howie Roseman at Sloan Sports Conference: "The history of trading up for 1 player, when you look at those trades, isn't good for the team...— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) February 28, 2015
"...trading up and putting a lot of resources into it. Because the guys who are really good at the draft,if you’re hitting on 60% of your...— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) February 28, 2015
...1st-round picks, that’s a really good track record." ... Roseman's sentiment was more lottery tickets, better odds.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) February 28, 2015
It's hard not to think about how Roseman's sentiment could apply to a potential Marcus Mariota trade given the recent rumors of such a possibility. If that's the case, it seems Roseman would not favor such a trade where the Eagles would have to give up a large bounty to acquire Mariota given the risk involved. He makes a fair point.
Then again, Roseman did note there are exceptions.
But Roseman said when trading up, "Board drops off so dramatically after that 1 player." ...Earlier in panel, spoke about trading for F. Cox— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) February 28, 2015
Look no further than the Eagles' 2014 draft to see how the "board drops off so dramatically." After last year's draft, Roseman admitted there were six players the Eagles were targeting at pick No. 22. Those six were all off the board by the time the Eagles picked, so Philadelphia traded down to No. 26. The team tried to trade up but the cost was prohibitive due to the precedent set by the Sammy Watkins trade (the Buffalo Bills gave up two first rounds picks and a fourth to move up five spots). The Eagles then considered trading down again, but ended up taking Marcus Smith. Due to the Kansas City Chiefs drafting Dee Ford at No. 23, Philadelphia feared there would be a run on pass rushers and that Smith would be gone by their next selection. Thus, the Eagles were presumably forced into a rough spot where they: 1) had to take a player they liked earlier than they would have liked and 2) missed out on one of the six.
Perhaps it was this undesirable draft situation that led to Chip Kelly wanting - and getting - full control over the team's player personnel department while Roseman has since been removed from that aspect entirely. Perhaps Kelly didn't get one of the six players he wanted, so now he wants the power in his own hands to ensure that he does get his guy this time around. And perhaps that guy is his former quarterback: Marcus Mariota.
I can't say I know for sure, but I can't help but wonder if a fundamental difference over Mariota is what ultimately caused the power struggle in the Eagles front office. There very well may have been other factors, but I wonder if a debate over Mariota could have been the fundamental difference. My thinking is that Chip Kelly isn't so concerned about mortgaging the future because if he doesn't find his quarterback and he doesn't win now, then there is no future for him. Roseman, on the other hand, would be more apt to play it safe because general managers are required to think about the long-term.
If that was the case, Jeffrey Lurie allowed both sides to get what they want by restructuring the front office the way he did. Kelly now has all the power and it's up to him and him alone to get the job done. Meanwhile, Roseman is left out the football decisions. If Kelly fails, Roseman can't be tied to the blame. Roseman could potentially then move back into power if the head coach gets fired.
I just don't see why Kelly would make such an aggressive play for power if he didn't plan on using it. If he didn't want to shake things up too much - meaning sticking with Nick Foles and building up the defense, just as example - why did he really feel the need for such a drastic change? Unless, in this case, your argument is that Roseman, who drafted Foles, didn't want to keep him for some reason.
The Eagles power struggle may or may not be related to the Mariota rumors. Only time will tell. In the meantime, we now know that, based on his comments, Roseman doesn't seem to favor such a move. But we also know that it won't be his call if/when the decision is made.