Eagles Wake-Up Call: Howie’s Ill-Advised Gamble
Howie Roseman was making his comeback. He drew up contracts to ensure key players will remain with the Eagles for several more years. He brought in a couple of talented free agents who appear to fill major holes quite nicely. And he seemed adept at managing the juggling act of trying to win in the short-term while being mindful of the long-term.
The main talking point around the NovaCare Complex two days ago was about how unique of an opportunity it was to get that high up in the draft. Roseman is absolutely right about that, but he left out an important piece of information.
A big reason that opening existed is because Wentz, Jared Goff or whomever you believe to be the best quarterback prospect isn’t considered to be as good as the top signal-caller in the past several drafts. In other words: It was easier to pry the pick away.
Last month, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, whom the Eagles reportedly interviewed for their open personnel position, put together a ranking of the top 10 quarterback prospects since 2011. Both Wentz and Goff are ranked lower than the top quarterback in four of the last five draft classes, as the only group of quarterbacks they’re rated higher than is from the notoriously bad 2013 crop.
According to ESPN’s Scouts Inc., both Wentz and Goff are also ranked lower than the top two quarterback prospects in three of the last five years.
All of that isn’t to say Wentz will be a bust; I actually like his game and believe he’ll be better than Goff. My point? History already says these types of trades typically don’t work out, but when you combine that with the fact that the Eagles are obtaining a prospect who isn’t as good as the quarterback usually near the top of the draft, it doesn’t bode well.
Roseman perfectly explained why this is an ill-advised gamble last year when he spoke at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in February.
“The history of trading up for one player, when you look at those trades, isn’t good for the team trading up and putting a lot of resources into it,” Roseman said. “Because the guys who are really good at the draft, if you’re hitting on 60 percent of your first-round picks, that’s a pretty good track record. And then it’s dropping as you go through the rounds. So really, the more chances you get, the more tickets to the lottery you get, the better you should be doing.”
That may be why the Browns, who have needed a franchise quarterback for years, decided to trade down and pass on Goff or Wentz.
Let’s also not forget that the Eagles didn’t start with the No. 8 pick. Roseman mentioned how unusual it is for Philadelphia to pick in the top 10, but they traded up from No. 13 to get there. I’d argue that they’ll finish with a worse record and better pick — although Cleveland will now get it — next season than they did this year. They have a huge question mark at head coach, a smaller — but still existing — question mark at quarterback and legitimate concerns about the offensive line.
While the Eagles aren’t mortgaging their future with the number of picks they’ve given up, they took a serious hit in terms of value. Yes, they still have seven picks in this year’s draft, but in the first 150 selections, they own only two of those slots.
As much as I’ve written about why I’m not a fan of the trade, I don’t hate it either. One attractive element is that Wentz won’t have to play right away. As long as you have Sam Bradford or Chase Daniel, Wentz won’t be thrown into the fire when he’s not ready as a rookie. Sitting on the bench for a season won’t automatically transform him into Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but it will help.
If I were the one deciding, I wouldn’t have done the deal. But I’m not, and Howie is, and several years from now, one of us will likely be extremely wrong. With these types of transactions, you typically either get your franchise quarterback or you have someone you don’t want around after their rookie contract is up.
Regardless, Howie hung his hat on a philosophy he espoused on Wednesday that may either lead to a parade in Philadelphia or a new head of the personnel department.
“It’s hard to be great if you don’t take some risks.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Our latest Draft Daily on South Carolina receiver Pharoh Cooper.
Tim examines the report that Sam Bradford is seeking a trade out of Philaldephia.
Asher’s roundup on what people are saying about the Eagles’ trade.
Tim’s evaluation of the Eagles’ move in yesterday’s wake-up call.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dave Zangaro of CSN Philly thinks the Eagles are currently overvaluing the quarterback position.
On Wednesday, Roseman said the team would be comfortable taking either of the top two quarterbacks — Goff or Wentz — with that No. 2 pick, comparing them to vanilla and chocolate ice cream. When asked which flavor he preferred, Roseman said he liked both. He also said he didn’t know who the Rams were taking at No. 1.
This is where Eagles fans have to hope Roseman is flatly lying.
Because a team that is comfortable with either of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft doesn’t sound like a team that has really fallen in love with one of them, at least not enough to warrant giving up multiple picks, while also losing out on drafting a player that would help the team immediately.
Tommy Lawlor is a little bit nervous about Carson Wentz as an NFL quarterback.
I would feel completely comfortable with this move if it was for Jared Goff.
Unfortunately, I think Goff will go number one and the Eagles will be drafting Carson Wentz. I think Wentz is a very talented prospect with a bright future, but he feels like less of a sure thing than Goff. The good news is that Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel will be the QBs for this year and probably next. Wentz will have plenty of time to develop behind the scenes. He has NFL talent. He needs time and coaching.
Is it smart for the Eagles to move up, not knowing for sure who the player will be? That is strange, but that tells you they like both players quite a bit. The QBs are different, as Roseman explained, but both are quite good and have the potential to be stars.
I’m sure some people will see this as a knee-jerk move. The Eagles got into the Top 10 and then just decided to roll the dice. That’s not what happened. The Eagles have been scouting Goff and Wentz since last summer. I have a North Dakota State game on my DVR from August 29th. I knew about Wentz back then. The Eagles sure as heck knew about him. Goff was projected as a possible Top 10 pick all year. I still have a handful of Cal games on my DVR that I’ve studied a few times.
Draft Daily continues with a receiver who may be able to help out the quarterback the Eagles are drafting at No. 2 overall.
Asher Dark contributed to this post.