The Eagles had a good night on Thursday to open the 2023 NFL Draft, picking Jalen Carter at No. 9 and Nolan Smith at No. 30. GM Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters after the end of Round 1 and talked about their decision-making process, and what they think of their newest additions.
Here’s what they had to say:
On Jalen Carter at No. 9
HOWIE ROSEMAN: “We understand that all these players, they need to be developed. They’re coming into the league a very young age, they’re not finished products. I think all of us, when we were 21, 22 [years old], hopefully we’ve grown a lot from that time, and you just really want to get to know the person and what’s in their heart.
I think, when we got to know Jalen [Carter], we just felt like here’s a kid that does love football, obviously he’s a winner — he’s won in high school, he won in college —, and we felt like we have really good people in this building. We have really good support staff, we have really good players who are good people. We have really good coaches, and we felt like it was a good fit for us.”
Roseman and Sirianni later defended Carter for how he may have answered questions after he was drafted, saying that you can’t judge the player’s heart over a Zoom call, or his willingness to be accountable for his actions. Still, Roseman said they know why one of the best talents in this year’s draft class was available at No. 9, but it’s their job to develop him as a person and player and they’re going to wrap their arms around him.
The Eagles’ GM went on to say that there was a traumatic event that happened, and they can’t sweep it under the rug, so they want to make sure they’re helping him move forward in a way that’s constructive.
As for trading up one spot with the Bears, Roseman said that they just wanted to make sure they got the player. He wasn’t sure what Chicago was going to do with their No. 9 pick, and thought they could maybe entice them back a spot with a pick.
“Wanted to come out with an impact player, and we feel like Jalen could be an impact player for us.”
On Nolan Smith at No. 30
HOWIE ROSEMAN: “An incredible person. Obviously, you got unbelievable traits in his body, a leader, and winner. So, for us, we’re fielding calls at that time, and I think Coach [Nick Sirianni] and I kinda just looked at each other and said, ‘This is the guy.’ We didn’t want to get too cute and we’re excited to add him.”
Roseman was asked why Smith was still available so late in the round, and while the GM noted that there were no injury concerns related to a pec issue, he wouldn’t try to explain what other teams were thinking.
- Nick Sirianni talked about how he comes in and meets with the players. He’ll shoot hoops with them and talk with them for up to an hour, trying asses their personalities. Sirianni did beat Carter at HORSE, but Smith bested the head coach.
- The head coach said that there is a bit of an advantage of having four guys who all previously played together. They’re going to face a lot of new things over the next few months, so having familiarity with former teammates is huge.
- Roseman was asked about the Cardinals tampering with Jonathan Gannon, and the GM said that the NFL handles those things, and he respects the decision. Sirianni for his part said that despite the Cardinals reaching out before the Super Bowl, he knows that Gannon put everything he had into trying to win that game.