Shortly after the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft on Wednedsay afternoon, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman met with media to answer questions about the trade. Roseman largely emphasized the importance of investing in the quarterback position and the projection of weak/uncertain quarterback classes in upcoming years. His entire press conference was pretty insightful so here's a full transcript of what he had to say.
"It's rare for us to be in the top 10 in the draft but that was our number one goal in the offseason. We knew when we got there there were going to be some unique opportunities and we had to take advantage of them. This trade is a decision we made with a great degree of research and conversations between our head coach, all our scouts, our coaches, and our owner. All of these groups contributed greatly to this decision. In the end, based on all the evaluations over the last several weeks, and even months, we decided that moving up to the second pick was the right move for our franchise. Let me be clear: Sam Bradford is our starting quarterback. We've told Sam that. We intend to support him and the moves we've made this offseason, we believe, will give us a chance to compete this season."
ARE THE EAGLES COMFORTABLE WITH BOTH QUARTERBACKS?
"Yeah, that's the only way you can make this trade, is to be really comfortable with both of those guys. We've spent a ton of time investigating these guys. Looking, as well, as what's out there going forward. Looking at the quarterback market not only this year, next year, in 2018 ... and understanding that, although this [trade] doesn't fit an immediate need, that this is a rare opportunity that we're in.
DO THE EAGLES KNOW WHO THE RAMS ARE TAKING?
ARE THE EAGLES SURE THEY'LL GET WHO THEY WANT?
"We're very sure we're going to get the player we want."
WHY SPREAD OUT THE PICKS OVER MULTIPLE YEARS?
"Well I think first of all we still have some things we want to do in this draft and it was hard for us to give away every pick on Friday because we saw some opportunities there. And when you look at a pick in the 2018, you can prepare for that better. It's a hard pill to swallow, we understand that. It's a tough price to pay. Congratulations to the Browns and the way they handled it was first class. But that was the reason we felt we could do this trade because we had some time to prepare for the loss."
HOW CAN THE EAGLES BE CONFIDENT THEY'LL GET WHO THEY WANT IF THEY'RE NOT SURE WHO THE RAMS WILL TAKE?
"It's like Inspector Clouseau. You're going to have to connect the dots there, Les."
ISN'T IT KIND OF ODD THE RAMS ARE DETERMINING THE EAGLES' QB?
"It goes to the point you have to be very comfortable with both of those quarterbacks and believe that they have a shot to be great and Pro Bowl caliber. If you felt really strongly about just one, and you didn't feel like you knew the direction you were going in, then you'd wait until you were on the clock to make this trade."
WHY DO THIS DEAL AFTER RE-SIGNING SAM BRADFORD?
"We're going to invest in quarterbacks. When you go back and study â and I know I've said this a lot this offseason â but the reality is I had a lot of time to do that. And we as an organization had a lot of time to go back and study what are the keys to winning? What're the keys to being championship caliber over a long period of time? And I don't think I'm saying anything that no one in this room doesn't believe in. It's quarterbacks. So for us we have a unique situation where we have our head coach [Doug Pederson], our offensive coordinator [Frank Reich], our quarterback coach [John DeFilippo] who we're extremely excited about [and] have a great history with quarterbacks. A unique luxury in this league to have those guys. Who knows how long that's going to last. And then when we went and researched and saw what the quarterback classes are going to look like going forward, next year, two years out, that's a daunting proposition. Now a lot of things change. There's no question. What we see now is probably not what we see a year from now or two years from now. But it's also going back and looking at the history of the last 15 years. And picking in the top 10 once and the year we picked in the top 10, there was no quarterback there to pick. So if you commit that you're going to invest in quarterbacks, and you have people here who we think can teach quarterbacks as well as any in the National Football League, sometimes you've got to put your money where your mouth is."
WAS THE GOAL ALWAYS TO GET UP TO ONE OF THE TOP PICKS?
"It was hard to envision that scenario at 13. That we would be able to get this high because of the resources that we had at our disposal. So our first goal was kind of in steps. Our first goal was to try to get into the top 10, because we did think there was a difference between being 13, for us, and in the top 10. Once we got into the top 10 and had some time to evaluate what was there at the top 10, and then go back on our research and look at the uniqueness of this moment, we felt that we had to take advantage of it."
HOW WAS COMPENSATION DETERMINED?
"It goes back to what I said two years ago when we were trying to trade up. Once a trade is made it's something that you have to go off of. It's kind of dictates a lot of the compensation. We're in position to give up that kind of compensation because we didn't have any second round picks. So we had to get creative and for us it was weighing the risk of losing out on an opportunity that we thought was unique for our team."
DO THE EAGLES PREFER ONE QB OVER THE OTHER?
"It's like vanilla or chocolate, Roob. It's like pepperoni pizza or sausage. What do you like better? And that's the best part about this. They're not the same guy. They're different. They're unique in so many ways, and at the same time they both have some really great traits that gives them a chance."
WHICH FLAVOR DOES HOWIE ROSEMAN LIKE BETTER THEN?
"I like vanilla and chocolate."
WILL THE EAGLES TALK WITH THE RAMS TO FIGURE OUT THEIR PICK?
"We have a good relationship with the Rams so we'll talk to them. Maybe they'll fly us out to L.A. for a day just to hang out. The weather here is probably nicer."
IS CARSON WENTZ RISKY GIVEN THE I-AA COMPETITION HE PLAYED AGAINST?
"It's hard to be great if you don't take some risks. When you look at it, there's very sure things at any position in the draft. You go back and you research it, and whatever position you're talking about, let alone with the quarterback position. But it's a great opportunity for not only the coaching we have here the support they have here, but the time and the benefit of time. We saw that with Doug being here with Donovan [McNabb], you saw that in Green Bay, you saw that in San Diego with Philip Rivers, you certainly saw that in New England with Tom Brady and the benefit of sitting and watching and observing. These are young guys. The [NFL] is big jump from any level. I think that's one of the things that we also looked at it. We're not positioned where anyone has to come in and play this year, conceivably next year."
WHY MAKE THE TRADE NOW?
"I think it goes back to being comfortable with either outcome. You have to be comfortable with either outcome, which we are. And then the second part is the unknown about the ... is there something laying in the weeds? Is there something that changes from other teams? The compelling thing for us is when we looked around and did this research that what the landscape looked at. Not only in the college market and the NFL market, but the possibility that a lot more teams are needing quarterbacks. Or that you'd go forward and you'd need a quarterback three years from now and even if you're picking in the top five, the teams that are at one or two, wouldn't trade out. For us, it was a bigger risk of all those factors going forward. And maybe the certainty of it cost a little bit more. But the upside of that from our franchise and our position was not worth the risk [of missing out.]"
IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING A THIRD ROUND PICK IN THIS YEAR'S DRAFT
"It was important. It was important for us to come out of Friday with a player that we thought could help us. When we kept looking over our draft board and having our discussions, we felt like we had a chance to get a player who can come in and contribute to our team. The strength of this draft matches some of the things we're looking for. So not that we'll draft for need, but it kind of matches up for where we have guys slotted."
HOW INVOLVED WAS DOUG PEDERSON?
"Heavily. Heavily involved. Obviously, you know you're talking about someone who has an expertise in quarterbacks. Going out there and working all these guys out. Having their hands on them. Him being around great quarterbacks. We relied on ... it was a collaboration of a lot of coaches, and scouts, and opinions, and looking at analytics. But certainly we're not making this decision without Doug saying ‘Let's go.'"
DID DOUG REALLY WANT A ROOKIE HE COULD DEVELOP?
"Yeah, the model for him was that when he looked at that. But I think it goes back to our conversation, you can't invent one. When you look at the history of it, there's not a large history of guys in the third, fourth, fifth round who end up guys who give you the ability to compete for championships year after year."
DO THE ROOKIES HAVE A BIGGER UPSIDE THAN BRADFORD?
"[Bradford] still could be [our franchise quarterback.] For us, we at it as investing in the quarterback position. When we were were really successful, we invested in quarterbacks and turned around some being in trades that got us assets. That was part of the research we did, looking at the market as a whole. Looking at the lack of quarterbacks in the [NFL]. I think it goes back to the first press conference that I had. When we look at the depth chart at our quarterback position, we're extremely excited about what we have."
WHEN SAM LEARNED ABOUT THE TRADE
"We talked to him before practice. We all had a conversation with him. Jeffrey [Lurie], myself, and Doug."
WORRIED ABOUT BRADFORD'S REACTION?
"He's a pro. I have no concerns about Sam's professional and his competitiveness."
HOW MUCH HAS LURIE BEEN INVOLVED COMPARED TO THE PAST?
"Jeffrey's always been involved when you talk about this kind of magnitude of this decision. I don't know any organization in sports, not certainly in the [NFL], where the ownership isn't involved when you're trading up of this magnitude."
CAN ROOKIE QB WIN THE STARTING JOB?
"I think that goes for any position. I think that's a better question for Doug. I'm not deciding who's starting. But competition is going to bring out the best of everyone. I think that goes for the quarterback position, wide receiver, that goes along the d-line. So I make that blanket statement."
HOW WILL ROSTER HOLES BE FILLED?
"What we did in free agency was, to the best we could, try to fill a bunch of holes. By getting guys like Brandon Brooks, and [Rodney] McLeod, and [Leodis] McKelvin, and Rueben Randle, and [Stefen] Wisniewski, and I'm forgetting guys not purposely ... we felt like those were young guys that were almost for us like draft picks. Second and third round draft picks. No one's sitting here thinking we're a completed picture, but for us we want to get into a position where in the near future we have an opportunity to compete every year. That starts at the quarterback position and with us having the depth chart that we have, we feel stronger at that position than we have in a very long time."