One through 11 is where the intrigue lies as the Philadelphia Eagles, sitting at No. 12 overall in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, wait to see how it all shakes out. What are they going to do on Thursday night and then through the weekend in a draft that has them armed with 11 selections and myriad options?
"(With) every single player that we select, it is going to be because we have discussed what the vision is for that player, what the purpose and the plan is for all these guys, so we are going to be excited about every single person that we add," Roseman said.
"The reason that we made the first trade, going from six to 12, was because we felt it created a unique opportunity, and we had to be really confident about the 12 players that were on the board and I think that it gives us the flexibility to have opportunities if we wanted to move up a little bit. We've spent a lot of time not necessarily looking at what the mock drafts are saying, but looking at who we want, and what we like and the opportunities that make sense for our football team as opposed to just what that board says."
Neither Roseman nor Head Coach Nick Sirianni provided exact details of the team's draft plans other than to reiterate the importance of the weekend and the feeling of preparedness the organization has for every scenario. As you settle into your recliner for the weekend to take in the proceedings, here are some things to consider as they relate to the Philadelphia Eagles …
1. This is not a one-player draft for the Eagles. The focus is so much on the first-round pick in every NFL city, but the real story is the totality of the draft class. The Eagles have 11 selections – subject to change – and are striving for a high hit rate. It's great that the fan base will have a strong reaction to Thursday night's pick. That's the fun of the first round. But with three more picks on Friday and then seven on Saturday, the work is just beginning after the Eagles select in Round 1.
"That first day, you're only taking one, and the next day we have three more picks," Roseman said. "Saturday is the most fun day because you're adding the most Eagles players to your team. I love Saturday … everyone knows how important that Thursday is. It sets the table for the weekend. It's like the appetizer, but the main meal is really going to be on Saturday."
2. If you think the Eagles are "one position upgrade" away from winning the Super Bowl, well, it doesn't quite work that way. The Eagles want to improve their roster across the board and so the process is likely to canvass the position rooms. By the end of the weekend, and this includes the valuable undrafted rookie class, you're likely to see help at every position. The Eagles are "transitioning" this roster, and we've seen by their actions in the offseason to date – they have signed five unrestricted free agents, all to low-risk, one-year contracts, retaining a handful of veterans – that they want a blend of capable veterans to bring along the young players the roster is going to add.
Having former Vikings Anthony Harris at safety and Eric Wilson at linebacker, for example, provides an extension of what Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon is teaching in this virtual world. It's a benefit that Harris can help his secondary mates understand the concepts and that Wilson can answer the "whys?" that he is being asked in these Microsoft Teams meetings. The Eagles are going to be a lot younger after this weekend, but they will have some veterans who have won a lot of games and who will help develop the new kids on the block.
"Keeping those guys in the building (defensive end Brandon Graham and center Jason Kelce) is so important," Sirianni said. "They've won a lot of football games here. They've won a Super Bowl here. They've won the division multiple times. That's a lot of wins. Why is that? One, they're great football players. They've had a ton of success on the football field as individuals and as a team. They are also so competitive and they love football. They embody tough. They have a high football IQ. That's been common in every good player I've been around, those four things."
3. Everyone wants to know who the Eagles are going to take in the first round. The truth is that the Eagles don't even know that right now. They're preparing for every scenario imaginable so that when it comes to their turn, they are ready to act. If they see a value in the picks ahead of them, expect the Eagles to strongly consider a move up. If they think the move is to stay at 12, that's what they will do. A move back? Could happen as the Eagles value volume of draft picks here and would love to add more selections and still draft a player they love in Round 1.
Roseman said the Eagles are "for sure" open to moving up or moving down in Round 1, depending on what happens in the picks in front of them. "It's really not that complicated. If we see a guy that's in front of us who has more value than the draft slot, well, let's talk about going up and getting him. If we see that a couple of picks before us that we've got great opportunities at our pick, let's sit and take those opportunities and hold on to our draft picks. If we go there and say, 'Hey, there's a bunch of players that we really like and we can pick up more opportunities and more flexibility,' then let's move back."
4. Finally, the Eagles are in the first of two steps in the building of this roster to where it needs to be. Now, the Eagles expect to go out and compete and win in the NFC East in 2021. With so many veterans who were injured last season now expected to be healthy, the Eagles have a lot of optimism that this team is going to be much improved from 2020. But the Eagles also know that they have 20 selections in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts, including the potential of three No. 1 draft picks in 2022. So, the draft work, so vitally important right now, picks right up again after the weekend as the team eyes 2022.
I mention this as a reminder to you that a broad vision is happening here. It isn't about the No. 1 pick on Thursday night, or the three selections on Saturday, or the 11 total for the weekend. It's about much more than that. Keep that in mind as you evaluate the pick-by-pick process over the weekend. There are a whole lot more steps ahead for the Philadelphia Eagles.