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Howie Roseman admits the Eagles tried to trade up even higher to get DeVonta Smith

Plus, the Eagles’ GM explains why Landon Dickerson is worth the risk.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Just a few days after the 2021 NFL Draft and Howie Roseman is talking about the Eagles draft class, including the unanimous excitement about DeVonta Smith and why Landon Dickerson is worth the risk. Howie spoke to Angelo Cataldi on the SportsRadio 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday, and also explained how they come up with the Eagles draft board.

Here’s what the GM had to say:


On DeVonta Smith

“DeVonta Smith has been on our radar for so long. He catches the game-winning touchdown pass in the National Championship as a true freshman. This is a guy who is just an unbelievable player, an unbelievable person and, you know, you don’t want to go into the draft and say ‘gotta have it,’ but when we saw this guy falling into the range we were picking, we said, ‘we gotta have it’.”

When they traded back from No. 6 weeks ago, there was other talent that they felt comfortable with other than Smith. Howie admitted that they tried to move up to No. 9 with a call to the Broncos because they didn’t want to lose out on the opportunity to get the wide receiver. He noted that after the way the 2020 season ended, it was important for them to come out of the first round with a guy they were high-fiving about, and a guy that would contribute in a big way.

“What’s not to love about DeVonta Smith? I mean, this guy’s work ethic is legendary.”

Howie went on to point out Smith’s route-running, his hands, his length, his speed, and Alabama had four first round wide receivers on their roster, and the guy with the most targets was Smith. He said that the team spent a lot of time talking about Smith’s size, but they looked at what he had done during his college career and wasn’t concerned. Howie expects Smith to be a big fan favorite and quipped that he expects to see a lot of No. 6 jerseys in The Linc for years to come.

On Landon Dickerson

“Landon Dickerson is a difference maker. He’s a difference maker as a player, he’s a difference maker as a person, and if you’re going to bet on a guy, he’s the kind of guy you bet on. You know, when we watched Landon Dickerson, Angelo, we kept going, ‘This guy’s mentality reminds you of Jon Runyan’. That’s what he is, he is that kind of enforcer that you have on your football team. And, he is such a good player.”

Howie went on to say that as they work to get back to that Championship-level, Dickerson is the kind of guy you want on your side. Ultimately, they know it is a risk, but they think it’s a risk worth taking. The GM also said that they have confidence in the medical team, and Dickerson is someone people are going to “love, not like”.

On trading back from in the 3rd round

When Carolina called Howie about trading back, he confirmed that they were taking someone on the offensive side of the ball, which meant that the Eagles were going to be able to get either Milton Williams or Alim McNeill at No. 73, and they were fine with that. He talked about Jonathan Gannon’s reaction to the pick and said that everyone in the building is that excited about Williams.

On the team’s draft board

“Every single person on our staff has their own draft board, that’s how we write up reports. So everyone in their system — Nick [Sirianni] has his own draft board, Andy Weidl has their own draft board, Tom Donahoe has his own draft board, I have my own draft board. That’s how we rank players. That’s how our system is set up to do that.

We have an Eagles’ draft board that reflects a lot of things, and my job is to bring them all together. My job is to get the coaches perspective, the scouts perspective, the medical perspective, the character perspective, as we do this process. So my job is to try and reflect all that.”

Other notables

  • Howie said that they are still expecting to win this year, referencing back to 2016 and people saying it would take five years to build to a Super Bowl team. It only took 12 months back then and Howie said they are expecting to do it even faster this go-around.
  • The GM quipped about Sirianni being full of energy — without even drinking caffeine —, and then laughed at the notion that the head coach was reported to be fine with just going along with Howie’s plans and direction for the team. Howie said it was ridiculous and Sirianni hasn’t worked his whole life to be in this position just to step aside, and the team wants his input.