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Howie Roseman talks NFL Draft strategies, Eagles’ priorities, and how valuation can vary

The Eagles GM explains how they value first round picks, fifth-year options, and whether or not to trade up or back.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman — along with head coach Nick Sirianni — spoke with reporters on Thursday ahead of the NFL Draft, and talked about some of his strategies, how he values players over positions, and also why it’s all one big game of poker and no one knows what anyone else will be doing once the clock starts.

“Maybe this is wrong, but I’d look at our roster right now and I’d say there isn’t a spot that we have to have next week. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get better, because we can definitely get better and our goal is to continue to improve our football team, and that’s not going to end next weekend.”

Roseman explained that roster-building is a year-round job, and they don’t want to force something just to make a splash — they need to be smart and calculated with their choices.

Here’s what else the GM had to say:

On drafting high in the first round

“I think the most important thing when you’re picking in the first round, certainly when you’re picking 10, is that you get a unique player. I think that there are so few unique players in any draft that if you start picking by position and not based on the quality of the talent, then you really get a chance — so if you pick by position and you pick a player who’s not any good, then it’s not a good pick anyway.

I think the most important thing for us here is that we utilize this opportunity to get a unique player for our team. Certainly not planning to be picking at this point in the near future. That doesn’t mean — obviously things happen, but we’re not planning for that. So, we understand how important it is to get this right, and how do you get it right is you make sure you get a unique player.

I think that if you start saying, ‘Hey, we can only get a unique player, but it’s got to be this position,’ you really narrow your options right there. So just trying to be as open minded as possible about what that looks like and making sure that whoever we pick is somebody that we think can really impact the game.”

On trading up or back

Roseman talked about how each pick has a different value and it’s hard to know what they might be willing to trade — up or back — until they know who is left on the board and where they feel might be a drop-off. He also emphasized their attention to undrafted free agents and how important it is to have scouting done on those players, as well.

“I think the most important thing for us is not necessarily to win the draft in terms of how many picks we can possibly get and how many players that we can possibly pick, but getting the right players.

For us, there are going to be times where we’re sitting there and our board is going to have a big drop-off and we’ll have a trade offer to move back, and we’ll say, ‘We think the value of this pick is better than getting some of these mid-picks.’ We’ve talked a lot in this room about when you’re picking and how the odds naturally cut off at a certain point in each round and you have a better chance of hitting on guys.”

The Eagles’ GM later talked about the value of having the fifth-year option with first round picks, and how that might affect them trading out of that No. 30 spot.

“Well, I think the fifth-year option, obviously it buys you a year. I think when you’re talking about really good players and you’re talking about trying to keep your team together, it gives you an opportunity to have an extra year of contract value. I think that’s incredibly important as you look at it.

It’s valued, and I think those are decisions that you make about whether you want to come back into the first round and get a fifth year on a guy or what the value you’re getting to come out of the first round.”

On knowing what other teams are going to do

“You know, I would say this: Nobody has any idea what we’re going to do. I know that. And so, for me to think that there’s actually people in this league talking to people and saying, hey, I’m going to draft this guy at 10, but don’t tell anyone, this is a huge game of poker, and all you want to affect is the outcome of your desired results.

Am I going to give you guys any answers today? No, not even a little bit. But I think the reality of it is anyone who’s sitting there and saying, hey, I know exactly what’s going to happen at pick 11 or pick 12 or pick 6 or 20, it’s all a guess.”

Roseman admits that the unknown is part of the excitement around the draft, and however teams see players and positions so differently and at such varied values.

The GM went on to say that he makes it a priority not to talk about the Eagles to other teams, other GMs, not even to the parents at his kids sporting events. He was adamant that he’s not out there spreading misinformation, and is focusing on listening over speaking the next week or so.

Other notables

  • Roseman wouldn’t comment specifically on Jalen Carter and whether they would be comfortable drafting him at No. 10, but said that they have a lot of trust in the research they do to get every piece of information they can.
  • There has been a lot of personnel turnover in the Eagles front office the past couple years, with guys like Joe Douglas, Andy Weidl, and Andrew Berry all moving on to become GM’s around the league. Roseman noted that the process doesn’t change when they bring in or promote new people, but he gets excited about having fresh ideas and perspectives.
  • The Eagles had the fewest rookie snaps last season, but Nick Sirianni said that it was just how things worked out, with their first few draft picks being depth guys or rotational. Roseman also credited the health of the team for rookies not getting quite as many snaps. But, they are both excited about how that group will contribute this season, along with the incoming 2023 rookies.
  • Roseman clarified points he made earlier in the offseason about how with a coach like Jeff Stoutland, they can draft offensive linemen based on traits rather than technique. He explained that they see guys who are so much better than their college competition that they don’t necessarily need to be technically sound, but that’s not always troublesome knowing that the coaches are so good at developing players who have unique traits.

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