Eagles GM Howie Roseman hopped on Jon Marks & Ike Reese on 94WIP Monday afternoon, and went into more detail about the Jalen Hurts draft pick, why it was so important to take the QB in the second round, and Carson Wentz’s reaction.
Here’s what the GM had to say:
Roseman was asked if he was expecting the one-sided reaction and confusion toward the Jalen Hurts pick, and he said wasn’t.
“The one thing, I think it’s okay to question me, it’s okay to question our thought process — and we’ll get through that a little bit here —, but I don’t want to get lost in the fact that Jalen Hurts is an Eagle. And, he’s ours. And this is one of the great college football players of the past four years. This is one of the great character guys, in this draft. This is one of the great leaders, in this draft. This is an asset to any football team.
And, I want our fans to take a minute and just watch that guy, and see that this is a talented guy that we added to our football team. It’s okay, you can be upset at me and the round resources, but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water.”
He talked about how it all started with scouting the quarterback and not finding much not to like. Roseman said two weeks ago, he was watching the Baylor-Oklahoma game on NFL Network, and watching Hurts come back for the overtime win — he was someone that Roseman and Doug Pederson spent a lot of time looking at.
On Friday morning, ahead of Rounds 2 and 3, Roseman was looking at all the guys still available that they had a first-round grade, but he quipped to Andy Weidl that they would come off the board one right after the other — and then there was the next tier.
Roseman also talked about his “quarterback factory” remark during the video call with the media that followed. But then emphasized that when Doug Pederson came to the Eagles in 2016, they made a commitment to having a strong quarterback group. There’s been plenty of evidence to this since then, also, Roseman pointed to re-signing Sam Bradford, and paying Chase Daniel big money to be a back, and then using all those draft picks to get Carson Wentz.
“I feel like I have two jobs. My job is to do everything I can to make Carson Wentz successful — we’ve got so much invested in him. I think I’ve shown it by my actions, whether it’s trading up all those picks, to signing him to an extension and what we believe in him, and how talented he is. We can win a Super Bowl with him.
We have an exceptional group of tight ends. We got these two young backs. We got an o-line that we are continuing to put resources in. Obviously we invest in the receiver position. I think, offensively, from the game we played in Seattle in the playoffs, we’re different. And that’s a good thing.
I also think it helps Carson Wentz when you go and acquire Darius Slay who can go and get the ball back. When you get Nickell Robey-Coleman. When we add to our safety position. When we add some speed at linebacker. When you add Javon Hargrave. So that’s the first part of my job for this year.
But, I also got a responsibility to the organization. I have a responsibility that’s different than just this year. And, listen, I love being part of this city. I love the passion about the Eagles. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I feel so fortunate to be the GM of this team, and I understand that I have to make difficult decisions. I don’t want anything more than to bring happiness to our fans, but the bottom line is they’re happy when we’re winning games.”
Roseman then went through past years, even back to the Andy Reid era when Donovan McNabb went down and how their seasons have been affected by quarterback injuries in the past, and when backups have come in and kept their playoff hopes alive. So, his job is to protect the team.
The GM also talked about sometimes when you hedge your bets, it’s expensive, but when they looked at some of their later-round QB draft picks in past years, they don’t have a great success rate.
He went a little further, and mentioned how they have spent about $32 million on backup quarterbacks the past 4 years, which is about $8 million a year — $9 million with salary cap inflation. And, now, that’s money that they can spend on other positions.
Roseman was asked about how much the team plans to utilize Hurts in gadget plays, but the GM deferred to the coaches and didn’t want to “give up the answers to the test” regarding his role.
He also went into Carson Wentz’s reaction to the QB draft pick.
“I talk to Carson a lot in the offseason. He’s about to have a baby, so checking in on him all the time, and talked to him about the thought process. I spoke to him on Friday and told him about some of the guys we were looking at, including Jalen [Hurts]. Carson is the ultimate team-guy.”
Roseman continued to say that his reaction was first-class, and they told Wentz that if they went that direction, he’d also be surrounded with playmakers. Wentz was excited about the young wide receivers that were added as well.
Later on, the GM said that COVID-19 was not at the forefront of the Hurts pick, and probably more prominent was the growing number of games players are being asked to play each season — especially into the postseason.
On Jalen Reagor
“Jalen is a unique guy. He’s so strong with the ball in his hands, you get it to him on quick screens, on jet sweeps, in the backfield as a returner. He can run every route. And, certainly, he can play outside and inside, he can separate vertically.
And it’s funny, because of all this time on our hands, and watching all this tape, and it’s been really unique, I had a chance for like the 4th time to go back on our games. I was watching our Redskins game, our first Redskins game, and there was a play when DeSean [Jackson] caught his second touchdown where he and Nelson [Agholor] were streaking down the field — and what caught my eye, was Zach Ertz in the middle of the field holding his hands up, wide open.
And I think when you get guys like this — not only are they good players, because this guy’s a good player and we’re excited about him —, but they also help accentuate the skill sets of those other guys. Guys who work the middle of the field. Guys who are intermediate route runners.”
Roseman also said that he remembers last offseason when they were getting ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft class and seeing Raegor’s tape from 2018 and being blown away. So, he was someone they had their eye on for awhile.
On the rest of the draft class
The GM said fans are going to love K’Von Wallace — and along with Will Parks, they really added some energy to the safety position.
He mentioned that fourth round pick Jack Driscoll is a guy they think can fill the Big V role and be able to jump in for a starter whenever he’s needed, and be developed into a starter in his own right. Driscoll is someone who can play inside and outside, and is tremendously versatile.
Roseman thought they got good value with their Cowboys’ trade, but he admitted that he got a knot in his stomach when making the move. They were fortunate that two of the guys they were looking at, at that pick, they ended up getting anyway.
John Hightower is a guy that has tremendous vertical speed, has lower body flexibility to get in and out of his cuts, he’s been a kick returner, and the Eagles scouts thought he was the best receiver in the East-West Shrine Game. And, he’s got a skillset where he can play inside or outside.
Shaun Bradley is “Temple tough” and is super athletic and someone who could play all three linebacker spots. History has also shown them that there have been good fifth round drafted linebackers who have the talent and skills to develop into starters. Bradley and third round pick Davion Taylor add some youth to the linebacker position — one they haven’t invested a lot in during the draft the past four years.
Quez Watkins is another one that has tremendous speed. There are very few guys that have that kind of speed and average that amount of yards after the catch.
Prince Tega Wanogho has a skillset that is hard to find, and he was excited to get the right and left tackle from Auburn.
And then getting Casey Toohill, there were some scouts who felt strongly that his skills fit their system extremely well.