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Weapon X Mailbag: Why do Eagles fans bash Howie Roseman?

Plus: Mailata or Dillard?

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TWO. MORE. WEEKS.

Let’s hit the questions from our loyal readers...

@andrewcat17: Why do fans bash Howie Roseman, when really it was the QB (and coaching staff) who took massive steps backwards. Howie went all in to maximize a cheap qb, got out ahead of the market to sign him, and gave him assets (great o-line, RB, and WR draft capital).

He’s had three-consecutive poor offseasons. The last four drafts have provided few positive returns, not continuing a pipeline of talented veterans players.

As for not blaming the quarterback, man, I blamed him relentlessly! Sure, there are Carson Wentz defenders, but it’s a divisive subjective and there are TONS of fans who are (rightfully) salty about how Wentz’s final year in Philly transpired.

Roseman signed that guy to a huge contract that was, yes, ahead of the market, but it became a problem as his play regressed from 2017 and a new quarterback came to town in Jalen Hurts. The Eagles are now left with a huge dead cap hit for him in 2021 because of that deal.

Yes, Roseman invested “draft capital” into the wide receiver position, but when none of those players produce, it doesn’t do shit to help the team and maximize whatever QB is under center.

Why do fans blame Howie? He, along with the increasingly meddling Jeffrey Lurie, have put the Eagles in an unenviable position as a franchise moving forward.

@BigB4142: What do you think about the Birds going for a pass rusher at 12 instead of a CB?

I wrote in last week’s mailbag that drafting a pass rusher might be the move that incites the most rage in the fan base.

In a vacuum, going defensive end over cornerback makes a ton of sense. It’s a more impactful position than cornerback (I’d even say that safety is more important as the modern “quarterback of the defense”).

It just so happens that this appears to be a weak pass rusher class with no clear-cut, top-10 prospect, whereas there may be one or two Day 1 starters at corner available in Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn.

I understand the rationale in going edge and it’s certainly been a hallmark of the Eagles’ philosophy dating back to the Andy Reid days, but passing on one of those two CBs (or the two Alabama receivers) for a defensive end would be a deflating result.

@JustinF_89: What 2021 NFL Draft outcomes would you be most satisfied and disappointed with, and where does the possibility of drafting a quarterback in the first round fit in with that?

This sort of bounces off the above question, right?

My dream Day 1 and Day 2 scenario:

1-12: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

2-37: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

3-70: Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech

3-84: Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

I’ll apologize to Howie in the following week’s mailbag if it plays out exactly like that.

What would have me acting like a down bad simp?

Trading down again Round 1 and selecting the offensive tackle from North Dakota State (doesn’t matter how good Dillon Radunz is, the optics kill me). Then, I don’t know, overdrafting a linebacker who doesn’t project well as an impact player in coverage like Nick Bolton.

As for the quarterback, the only realistic quarterback target I’d be down for is Justin Fields. I’m a Hurts guy, but it’s impossible to not be enamored with Fields’ game. If the organization was truly in on getting a new QB for 2021, I don’t believe they would’ve traded down from 1-6, but, hey, maybe Fields is the slider this year and falls into their lap at 1-12. It’s a cop out answer, but that would have me somewhere in between those two other options (though I’d lean closer to a very good scenario).

As the Wallflowers once said though, “There’s got to be something better than in the middle.”

@domnipotent38: Jordan Mailata or Andre Dillard at left tackle next year?

It’s pretty easily Jordan Mailata to me. Maybe Penei Sewell falls to the 12th pick or the front office loves Rashawn Slater, but I’d imagine it’s an internal answer for left tackle this year.

From all the whispers I hear, the organization has soured on Andre Dillard rather quickly. That might not necessarily fair given that he missed the entire 2020 season when he was in line to be the starting LT in camp, but those are the breaks of the game.

Dillard is a little over a year-and-a-half years older than Mailata. There isn’t a ton of precedent for a first-round pick to be a first-time legit starter in his age-26 season.

Mailata is someone the fan base has latched onto, but there’s reason for that. His developmental path has been exponential and played relatively well enough in 2020 to earn the gig for this upcoming year. He’s younger and he’s only getting better as he progresses in his knowledge of the game. I truly believe he has the makeup to be a future Pro Bowler.

Poll

Who should start at left tackle for the Eagles?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Jordan Mailata
    (2407 votes)
  • 6%
    Andre Dillard
    (163 votes)
2570 votes total Vote Now

@GloopGod: Since the Eagles have basically failed to develop any WRs since Jeremy Maclin, what type of impact do you truly believe DeVonta Smith makes his rookie year if we get him at 12?

We’re in an ol’ chicken or the egg scenario. Are the Eagles’ recently drafted receivers bad because they were poorly developed or were they just bad players to begin with? My gut tells me it’s more so the latter, but certainly development is a part of the equation.

It’s a plus that Nick Sirianni has a history as a wide receivers coach, so maybe the tide turns and the Eagles are able to turn into the Steelers and become a “receiver factory” (this is a half-joking comment). In all seriousness though, Sirianni should have an impact there both for any wideouts that are drafted this year and the dudes already on the roster.

What separates Devonta Smith from the other guys? Well, he’s just better, right? More productive. Played against better competition. Balled out on the biggest stages in the country. Has the Heisman on his mantle.

I’m not saying he’s going to automatically break records, but he can be uber-good right away.

There have been seven WRs to post 1,000-yard seasons as a rookie since 2014: Mike Evans (2014, seventh pick), Odell Beckham Jr. (2014, 12th pick), Kelvin Benjamin (2014, 28th pick), Amari Cooper (2015, fourth pick), Michael Thomas (2016, 47th pick), A.J. Brown (2019, 51st pick) and Former Future Eagle Justin Jefferson (2020, 22nd pick).

Why can’t he be one of those guys?

The team has a young quarterback with upside and a new coaching staff that would run their passing game through him. He could feast in the middle of the field in Sirianni’s system.

@BEickhoff: Can you picture a way this team competes for a Super Bowl in the next 5 years? Who under 25 is worth being excited about?

If I put on really, REALLY midnight green-colored glasses, sure.

Let’s say Sirianni unlocks Hurts and he’s a dynamic, dual-threat QB who has a sophomore season akin to the one Lamar Jackson had in 2019. Smith comes in and plays like Jefferson did last year. Day 2 and Day 3 picks solidify an improving defensive unit under Jonathan Gannon while Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox display no signs of aging.

Jalen Reagor breaks out and doesn’t resemble the player he was as a rookie in the slightest. Travis Fulgham is the above-average X receiver we hoped he’d be after that blazing streak he had in the middle of the 2020 season.

Are all those things going to happen? No, but if your quarterback flourishes and you inject youth into the defense, hey, lighting can strike as it did in 2017.

@EaglesNCapitals: Should I drink a bottle of Jameson or a case of Yuengling when they draft Kwitty Paye at 12?

You should drink an ice cold Kenwood, the best Philadelphia light beer.