Howie Roseman described this as a “meat and potatoes draft,” heavy on quality offensive and defensive linemen, especially early. The Eagles are picking early, of course – No. 4 to be exact — and the general manager emphasized time and again during his hour-long session with reporters Monday that the organization has learned its lessons from previous drafts-gone-awry and will stay true to the board.
While smokescreens are being deployed by all 32 teams this time of year, Roseman’s opinion on the strength of this class is in line with what independent analysts have been saying for weeks. The best bet is to add a hearty ingredient to the Philly stew.
Quarterback is a much more complex cuisine, and has the ability to drastically enhance or completely destroy the overall product.
Roseman was asked about the damaging effects of spending a high pick on a quarterback – to tying your team to the wrong guy.
“I’ll take it one step forward,” said Roseman. “You’re passing on a player that you think will be a really good player at a different position. Like anything in this draft, you want to be sure. You don’t want to take someone because you think.
“We’re not going to force anything. Our draft board may not be the same as people in this room or people outside of this room, but we feel very comfortable with the process and where we’re at.”
If you read between the lines and trust what is being written there, Geno Smith is not the pick. The quarterback has been tied to the Eagles quite a bit. But the West Virginia product is generally described more as the best in an underwhelming QB class, and less as a sure thing.
“When you are picking four, taking a chance [Roseman laughs]…anyone we’re picking we’re confident in what kind of player they are going to be,” he said.
It is possible the Eagles have that kind of full confidence in Smith, but it is more likely that they still have a doubt or two.
Roseman was asked to describe the quarterback class as a whole.
“You look at last year, and I think the expectations are out of whack on groups going forward because last year was a unique group,” he said. “When we look back at that group, I think it’s going to be one where people look at and say it was a rare opportunity in the NFL, certainly at the top when you talk about those guys. If you take out last year and compare it to other years, it falls more in line.”
Beyond Smith, the Eagles have been tied to Florida State’s EJ Manuel and Arizona’s Matt Scott. Both of those signal-callers seemed to enjoy a bump in stock this offseason. Interstingly, Roseman allowed that the team’s QB rankings did not change at all from 1-3 from the end of the season to now, and believes the same is true for the entire top 5. They have not been heavily swayed by Senior Bowl performances, Combine results or personal visits, by the sounds of it.
Have they been impressed enough to pull the trigger on one of these quarterbacks? Perhaps, but likely not at No. 4.
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