Howie Roseman explained a facet of the Eagles’ grading system during his hour-long pre-draft sitdown with reporters Thursday. The Eagles take a longer-view approach to prospects, he said, projecting what they will be a couple years down the road as opposed to what they are now. With that in mind, they label the players as potential Pro Bowlers, really good starters, solid starters, etc.
In this draft class, the general manager says there are double-digit wide receivers that they consider top-tier.
“When you look at that first tier group of guys — and there is some variation in that first tier — I think you’re probably going to look at 10 guys who will end up being drafted at least in the first two rounds,” said Roseman. “And then there is that next level group of solid starters where I think you can be sitting there in the fourth round and get a guy who is going to be, by our pro definition, a red starter in this league, and usually that’s hard to find in the fourth and fifth round.”
Ten is a pretty large number. There is an excellent chance that at least one is available when the Eagles select at 22, and perhaps when they pick again at 54.
"When you look back at the history of the drafts, the wide receiver position always goes later to begin with. And now with the influx of the underclassmen at the wide receiver position, I just think that's how it will turn out," said Roseman.
We don't know which 10 the Eagles have in that first group, or the level of "variation" from one to the next. To give us something to work off, here's CBS Sports' rankings of the top 10 receivers in this draft:
1) Sammy Watkins (6-1, 211), Clemson
2) Mike Evans (6-5, 231), Texas A&M
3) Odell Beckham, Jr. (5-11, 198), LSU
4) Brandin Cooks (5-10, 189), Oregon State
5) Marqise Lee (6-0, 192), USC
6) Allen Robinson (6-3, 220), Penn State
7) Donte Moncrief (6-2, 221), Ole Miss
8) Jordan Matthews (6-3, 212), Vanderbilt
9) Cody Latimer (6-3, 215), Indiana
10) Martavis Bryant (6-4, 211), Clemson
Each of these players were given first or second round grades. Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 240), their 11th-ranked player, also had a second-round grade. Including Benjamin, nine of the 11 players are 6-foot or taller, and eight weigh 200 pounds or more. Measurables are important to keep in mind when trying to decipher who the Eagles are interested in. That, of course, isn't the only factor. Roseman pointed to Jeremy Maclin when discussing the kinds of traits this team is looking for.
"He's a really good route-runner, he's got really good hands, he's got really good quickness, he's got good size. Those are all factors that we think fits in what we're doing out there," said Roseman.
How many of the receivers in this class fit that description and check off the boxes for character and versatility as well? Now you're talking about a smaller number. Still, the Eagles seem to feel confident that even if they don't strike early, they can find a wideout that can develop into a starter -- and potentially an elite starter -- in this draft.