Just over a week until the 2022 NFL Draft and Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters about their scouting process and lessons learned over the years. Roseman took most of the questions on Wednesday and explained their decision to trade one of their first round picks to the Saints, and also talked a bit about the value of some specific positions.
Here’s what they had to say:
On the draft pick trade with the Saints
HOWIE ROSEMAN: “We were kind of looking at this year and next year, and the amount of picks that we had in this year’s draft, and trying to kind of balance it a little bit for a variety of factors.
When you look at having first round picks and a fifth-year option, having that many guys on a fifth-year option. Also, kind of balancing scouting all the players in this draft and next year’s draft, and having more options and more flexibility at all positions. Kind of getting a head start looking at next year’s draft and seeing that it’s strong, as well as this year’s draft.
We thought it made sense.”
Roseman was then asked whether the quarterback position had any impact on the team wanted more flexibility in 2023. He noted that they fully support Jalen Hurts and want him to the be the Eagles’ QB for a long time, so they want more options to build around him.
On drafting injured players
Roseman was asked about how his experience drafting players with injuries, like Sidney Jones and Landon Dickerson, may influence how they look at someone like David Ojabo.
“HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think the more time you have between the injury and the draft, the more information you get. So, for us, with Landon [Dickerson], the timing with that was a little different than the timing with Sidney [Jones]. And, it allowed for you to see more of the progress of where it was based on the testing.
Obviously, two different positions, different injuries. So you take that all into account when you’re looking at it. And then the value has to be right, you know, the value of the player, and how we kind of feel the player fits for us, and what kind of player we think that player was pre-injury — how we base on our performance and our medical staff, who we have a lot of trust in, how they project that player to come back.
The draft is guess-work as it is and you talk about taking guys and changing their environment, moving them from college to the NFL, putting money in their pocket, giving them more free time and changing schemes, and now you add another variable. You’ve got to balance that, as well.”
On Howie’s draft mistakes
Roseman admitted early on that some of the mistakes he’s made when it comes to the draft were because he was trying to force something, so he’s learned not to put too much emphasis on filling any one position and focus on best player available. There’s time after the draft and before Week 1 to address any other roster needs.
Later, he talked about what other mistakes he’s learned from over the years.
“HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think you’re constantly evaluating the things that you do wrong. And you also want to learn from the things you do right. And lessons that you have from that.
We discuss that a lot. About the scenarios we’ve done good things and, obviously, this is a hard process. You’re going to mess things up. But what can you learn from those picks that didn’t work out?
I would say, y’know … with Jalen [Reagor] … obviously I know he gets a lot of attention in this city. And I know he’s working his butt off. And, when you look back — we were having this conversation this morning with our strength and conditioning staff — that was a hard year for some guys because you have COVID, you didn’t have an offseason program. Sometimes the book isn’t necessarily written on all of those guys.”
On specific positions
Roseman was asked if he’s happy right now with Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps being their guys moving forward, and he noted that they have other DBs who can fill those roles, as well. But, they do feel comfortable with the guys on the roster, admitting they don’t think about the position needing as much work as others suggest.
With the booming WR contracts this free agency, Roseman was asked how that affects their value on the position through the draft. He said every year one position becomes the new big money makers, so they just have to make decisions about what makes sense for the team. Sometimes they have to take risks and do something different than the rest of the league — noting that if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re probably doing it too late.
The lack of attention around linebackers in this year’s draft was brought up, and Roseman was asked about their perceived value drop. The GM said he thinks this a good LB class, despite what may be in the media.
“HOWIE ROSEMAN: When you talk about off-ball linebackers, their value in the passing game is important. There’s different value in the pass game, obviously, pressuring the quarterback, being able to blitz and create pressure is an important part of that, too, but, being able to match mirror routes, being able to make plays in the passing game I think is an important part of that, too. Being instinctive. So you’re talking about really good players.”
The Eagles’ head coach didn’t get many questions thrown his way — answering only one in the first 20 minutes of the press conference — but he did address his scouting process and the team’s offseason program.
Nick Sirianni on his approach to the scouting process pic.twitter.com/KTfKUGtCbW— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 20, 2022
Nick Sirianni on the offseason program schedule pic.twitter.com/xNFBPvUiuz— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 20, 2022
- Roseman mentioned that there seems to be a consensus about the guys who will probably be taken with the first 20 picks, and that there’s a bit more uncertainty about what might happen from picks 21 to 51.
- The GM talked a little bit about their preparations and how they make most of the decisions and set parameters for decisions ahead of Round 1 that way they can work really fast on Day 1. After that, he pointed out that there would be too many scenarios for the rest of the draft to prep for each, so Day 2 and 3 decisions pretty much happen when they’re on the clock.
- Roseman also remembered how different things used to be when preparing for drafts. They’d have scouts going to smaller schools and teams were looking at different guys, so no ones draft board looked the same. Now, he acknowledges, in an age where information is so widely available, you have fewer surprises, and everyone knows who the Top 100 guys are, even if they aren’t ranked in the same order.