Eagles news and notes for 1/25
The Eagles have holes to fill at other spots, most prominently at wide receiver, but with cornerback considered by many evaluators to be the position with the most depth in this year's draft, it is likely that the Eagles will have a plethora of corners ranked high among the 2017 class of prospects.
Roseman alluded to as much on Monday.
"As you look at it, there's always positions of strength in the draft," he said, "and a beautiful thing is when they match up with what your needs are."
Douglas, who Roseman said last month would be responsible for crafting the Eagles' draft board, joined his boss at WIP. The former Ravens and Bears scout spent much of the last five months visiting college campuses and watching and talking to players in person.
Asked what he looked for in prospects, Douglas singled out "confidence," "competitive makeup," and "how they persevere through adversity." He noted, however, that getting an accurate gauge on those traits was one of the more difficult aspects of his job. The Senior Bowl offers another opportunity to dig deeper.
"You put in so much time in the fall getting to know these guys, going to the schools, getting the work in, watching these guys practice, and then having them come down to Mobile to compete against each other - it's a great environment," Douglas said. "It's the best players in college football."
MOBILE, Ala. — A couple days ago, Tanoh Kpassagnon received a text message from one of his school’s most famous alumni, Brian Westbrook.
On Tuesday morning, as he readied himself for the week of Senior Bowl practices leading up to Saturday’s game, Kpassagnon kept Westbrook’s message at the forefront of his mind.
“Just embrace the moment,” Kpassagnon said, relaying Westbrook’s message. “Don’t take anything for granted, and I belong here.”
Kpassagnon, 22, has a chance to join an elite group in April. There haven’t been many Villanova football players taken in the NFL draft, especially recently, but the big defensive lineman has a good chance to join the list.
In addition to Westbrook, Kpassagnon has also received some advice to help him through the pre-draft process from Hall of Famer Howie Long, the most famous Wildcat to make it in the NFL.
“It would be really cool to represent my school like that,” Kpassagnon said.
The last Villanova football player to be drafted was OL Ben Ijalana in the second round of the 2011 draft. Ijalana is one of just three Wildcats drafted since the early '80s. Kpassagnon is listed as a third-round prospect by CBS Sports.
My advice: Chill out.
To begin, it would seem that many observers are forgetting that Rowe regressed from 2015 to 2016. At the start of OTAs last year, the Eagles had Rowe near the top of the depth chart. He was a quasi-starter, playing on the outside when the Eagles were in their nickel set.
However, after a downright bad showing in OTAs, minicamps, training camp, and the preseason, Rowe went from second or third on the depth chart at corner to sixth, as Howie Roseman explained while taking a second crack on 94.1 WIP at an explanation on the Rowe trade.
"It’s the first week of the season and we get this offer from the Patriots," Roseman explained. "And we’re not sitting there, thinking, ‘We’re getting over on Bill Belichick,’ maybe the best evaluator of defensive backs in the history of the NFL. What we were thinking about was where he was on our depth chart. At that time the starting three guys were Nolan, Leodis, Ron Brooks; Jalen Mills at that point in camp had beat him out, so he was the fourth guy. And then when we spoke with our coaches they said that Malcolm will be the next guy in the slot.
"So for where we were and for what his role was at the time, we thought it was pretty good value. For them to give up that kind of pick – a fourth that can become a third – we knew they had a role for him. We knew that there was going to be an opportunity. And we gotta do what we think is best for us."
Douglas, 40, a former University of Richmond offensive tackle, was asked how the Ravens operate under general manager Ozzie Newsome. Newsome and Roseman have contrasting backgrounds; Newsome was one of the best tight ends to ever play in the NFL, whereas Roseman started out as the Eagles' legal counsel.
"Ozzie's one of the most consistent people in the NFL, the way he treats people, just the way he goes about his business," Douglas said. "The biggest thing that he believes in is that if you do the work, if you put the time in on a player, everyone gets their say. So we have a great open forum in draft meetings. It didn't matter what level – personnel executive down to personnel assistant. You did the work, you have a say. He's a Hall of Famer.
"At the end of the day, he does make the final call, but it's such a collaborative effort, not only with the personnel guys but with the coaches . . . Everyone has an opportunity to speak their mind and give their opinion on a player. If there's a tie . . . He breaks the tie, but it rarely comes down to that."
Roseman has always valued Senior Bowl week, the opportunity to see draft prospects practicing and playing with and against other draft prospects, which isn't always the case during college football season. In the Eagles website preview, Douglas said he likes coming to Mobile because in the practices, "you get to see a person's competitive makeup."
"It's great to see how they prepare," Douglas said. "It's great to see how they take coaching. It's great to see them go through just the mundane things in practice. And then the game, to see them put it all together."
There is no magic formula for building a title contender. The Falcons have an elite offense. The Pats have arguably the best coach/QB combo in football history. Denver won with defense last year. We’ve seen great offenses and defenses win over the years.
The key is to look at what you have and what resources are available in free agency and the draft and then build accordingly. There are a lot of good CBs and DEs in this draft. The Eagles need to focus on those positions. They’ll get good value. That doesn’t mean you ignore other positions, but this is all about odds.
If there are 20 good CBs and 10 good WRs, the odds tell me that it is more likely that a good CB will be available when I pick. I’m just throwing numbers out there to make the point. Don’t take this to mean there are 2 good CBs for every WR. The point is that the Eagles should feel reasonably confident they can find some CB help in the draft.
I’m still doing research on the free agent class so I’m not completely sure what I want the team to do there and I’m also not sure what the smartest plan of attack is. Do you go after Alshon Jeffrey and pay him mega-bucks? Do you go get a top CB? Do you go for a talented LG? You can make a case for any of those options.