One of the biggest moments during the 2021 NFL Draft for the Philadelphia Eagles wasn’t about a pick they made but rather the reaction to it. By now, we’ve all seen the viral video of Tom Donahoe looking upset and reluctantly fist-bumping Howie Roseman in the Eagles’ war room after the Milton Williams selection.
On Tuesday evening, the senior advisor spoke out about the incident via NFL insider Chris Mortensen:
@Eagles sr. advisor Tom Donahoe was flabbergasted about viral video "fist bump" w/ GM Howie Roseman being spun as sign of discord.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 4, 2021
"That's silly. I didn't even know I was on camera. I thought Howie and Andy Weidl (VP, personnel) led as good a draft as we've had in my 10 years." https://t.co/KS7qlnB5kT
It comes as no surprise that someone involved in such a situation would try to downplay it.
We all saw the discontent with our own eyes, though. And based on what Jimmy Kempski recently mentioned on BGN Radio, Donahoe tends to run hot. This is to say that such a reactive moment isn’t out of character for him.
Further, Jeff McLane recently reported that Donahoe could soon be leaving the Eagles’ front office due to frustration:
Donahoe doesn’t have a leadership role with the Eagles, but the 35-year NFL veteran’s voice has carried significant weight in the front office for nearly a decade. But he has become increasingly despondent over personnel decisions and could be eyeing retirement as a result, sources close to the 74-year-old said.
Many saw the Donahoe-Roseman interaction as confirmation of the Eagles’ front office dysfunction. There’s no getting around that it wasn’t a good look, especially as it came on the heels of revealing reports by The Athletic and the Inquirer.
The read on this specific situation, however, is that it wasn’t about the Eagles being an internal mess as much as it was an ill-timed reaction by Donahoe. His preference for Philly to take Alim McNeill, which Roseman revealed on Tuesday morning, certainly could’ve been expressed in a way that didn’t garner national attention.
That being said, the Donahoe incident might speak to how the Eagles can still afford to improve when it comes to communication and collaboration. Previous executions of “collaboration” have seemingly been about taking turns. Jeffrey Lurie gets to step in and make a pick here (J.J. Arcega-Whiteside). The coaching staff gets to make a pick there (Jalen Reagor).
That’s just not real collaboration. There needs to be a more cohesive process where there’s one decision-maker at the top who is able to effectively gather information and act upon it in a way that everyone can at least understand. As opposed to having people wonder why certain decisions were made in different ways.
It’s quite possible the Eagles have reflected on how they’ve erred in the past and have worked to improve their methodology. As it currently stands, their 2021 draft class offers reason to be encouraged. Hopefully, a better process will lead to better results.