With the first NFL Draft of the Howie Roseman-Joe Douglas decision making officially complete just a handful of minutes earlier, Roseman stood at a podium in the Eagles’ NovaCare Complex and was asked to reflect on how the previous three days went. Were there things he would change, philosophically? Could this be the right setup for the Eagles’ front office, long term?
“That’s pretty deep,” he said, glancing at Douglas to his right for a second. “I think we’ll go back, we’ll look at this process a little bit over the summer, probably over a beer and a cigar, and we’ll talk about it all.”
He turned to Douglas again, and asked his new right hand man how that plan sounded.
“That sounds great,” he said.
A little more than seventeen months ago, Roseman was dwarfed in organizational power by a football autocrat gone awry. After a few colossal moves and what he hopes are two misstep-free drafts, the 41-year-old executive has surrounded himself with people he enjoys working with — and, just as importantly, vice versa.
“It was outstanding,” Douglas said, of his first draft weekend with Roseman and the Eagles. “This is a great place, from the top down. There’s so many good people in this building, in every department. It was great just getting to know everybody.
“And the working relationship has been outstanding. The communication, daily, has been outstanding. Have we always agreed on everything? No. But at the end of the day, we’ve always been able to step back and do what’s right for the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s the number one thing.”
Douglas, in his first few public appearances with the Eagles, was reticent about conveying too much emotion, opting instead to play the straight man to Howie’s occasional lighthearted, if hammy, jokes. But on Saturday evening, when a pair of reporters went to ask the same question about Donnel Pumphrey, Douglas let out a laugh, pointed to them, and called jinx on the two.
That seems to be thanks, in large part, to the job Roseman’s done to make Douglas’s transition between jobs a success. Douglas had the pedigree, coming from successful stints in Baltimore and Chicago, but would he mesh in the front office? A lot of organizational success, or failure, stems from relationships.
Roseman was placed back in power last offseason as his boss, owner Jeffrey Lurie, preached emotional intelligence and a desire for a more collaborative operation after the cold Chip Kelly regime flamed out.
Roseman made it clear early and often last season that the team was looking for both players and decision makers who worked well together, seeking a harmony that would both lead to the right decisions for the Eagles, and create a pleasant path to those decisions.
He continued to look for “high-character” players this year, never saying but frequently intoning that Joe Mixon was left off the team’s board because of his disgusting assault of a young woman, opting instead to draft a player like Rasul Douglas, who worked through long, hungry days in crowded apartment buildings at Nassau Community College to reach his NFL dream.
It’s not exclusively a good-times club in the front office. Douglas said Saturday evening there were disagreements in the draft room. Disagreements happen, and disagreements are good.
Disagreements are healthy, even, as long as the ultimate solutions are ones everyone can swallow.
Exactly a year since introducing Carson Wentz as the new face of the franchise, the Eagles’ front office appears to be in a comfortable place. Whether that comfort will lead to long-term success remains to be seen, of course. The Eagles still don’t have an every down running back, something perhaps a less-comfortable draft room would have pursued with greater vigor. It’s hard to say.
At the very least, there is a decided absence of drama and distraction, a direction the franchise will welcome as they try to return to regular contention.