General manager Howie Roseman addressed the media in Indianapolis Thursday on the first day of the NFL's Scouting Combine. Roseman touched on a variety of topics, ranging from the team's success at developing quarterbacks under Andy Reid to some of the strengths of the upcoming draft class. The full transcript is below.
Why has the Eagles organization had so much success in recent memory developing quarterbacks?
"I think it's a great credit to our coaching staff, led by our head coach (Andy Reid). It goes back to him (being a quarterbacks coach) in Green Bay and having the ability to evaluate guys. He loves scouting college players. He has traits that he looks for in all these college players. He has a great track record."
There hasn't been a linebacker selected by the Eagles in the first round under Andy Reid. How does the team value the position?
"I think we still want to find good players at the position. That doesn't mean we're not looking for good players, we're looking for good starters in the draft. When we're evaluating players in the draft and in free agency, we're making sure that we evaluate them based on how they play; we stack the board based on how they play. So we're not going into the draft devaluing linebackers, we're trying to find them and we're trying to find good players."
What specific traits in quarterbacks do you look for?
"I think there are certain things that we're looking for in quarterbacks and that comes from the head coach, that comes from the offensive coordinator, our quarterbacks coach. To be successful in our offense you want them to be smart, you want them to be athletic and you want them to be able to get the ball out. It's hard to evaluate quarterbacks. When we go back and we bring those guys to our head coach and he's got this expertise, that really takes it to another level and lets you be confident in your evaluation."
Do you look at how other teams have developed quarterbacks?
"Yeah, we look at what other teams are doing. If we miss on a guy, if we miss on a quarterback, we go back and try to figure out why we missed on this guy as opposed to some of the guys that we've had success with."
What stands out about the incoming offensive line class?
"I think the talent level overall is probably better than it's been in the past few years. It's deep. You have some guys who are versatile, who can play tackle and play guard, and obviously that helps. We've had success with moving guys outside to tackle and inside to guard, same thing taking guards and playing them at center. The more guys that are versatile, athletic, it helps. It's an exciting class.
"In our role as personnel people, we want to make sure that we get the best talent on the offensive line. We have some guys who are scheduled to be free agents. It's an area that we didn't really address last year in the offense and we talked about the quality of the draft. You want to improve the talent level, you want to improve the talent level at all the positions and that's obviously another position in terms of our priorities. We believe in building along the lines."
Does the mold you look for in an offensive lineman change now that you have a new offensive line coach in Howard Mudd?
"We spent some time with Howard as a personnel staff just in terms of what he's looking for, maybe the differences in guys that he's more comfortable with. I think it was a valuable time. Obviously he's got a lot of years of learning offensive linemen; he's got an area of expertise and we welcome his input."
In self-scouting after the season, how much evaluation was done on the offensive line?
"I think the need has to be met with the value. We've looked back and found that some of the mistakes that we've made have been that we've reached. We found guys that maybe we didn't think were the best players but we thought we had an area of need. We've been determined to try to take the best players on our board and I think if you look at last year's draft, maybe we went in with the intention of taking an offensive linemen or two but the value just didn't meet. You look back at those things and you're trying to get better and you're trying to improve and we'll do that this year."
What's your philosophy moving forward with Kevin Kolb?
"Well Kevin Kolb's a great player. We have a lot of confidence in Kevin obviously, we gave him the starting job, we traded Donovan (McNabb) last year. He has all the tools you look for in a starting quarterback and we feel lucky to have him."
Why use the exclusive franchise tag on Vick as opposed to non-exclusive?
"Well, we wanted to make sure that we kept Michael Vick and by using the exclusive franchise tag we ensured that."
Would you entertain offers for Kolb?
"We're still evaluating all our options at all our positions and we'll go through that. Obviously we feel very fortunate to have good quarterbacks - that's Michael, that Kevin and we have a lot of confidence in Mike Kafka. That's a position we're always going to want to be strong at and we'll continue to have that philosophy."
Have you fielded any offers?
"We don't discuss any kind of discussions external or internal."
How much will the McNabb trade affect the expected value of any hypothetical quarterback trade?
"I think everything is just projecting on any particular player what you would get and at this point it's all just speculation."
Explain more about your draft philosophy.
"I think it starts with making sure that we get good players on both sides of the ball and not reaching for a particular position. We're going to make sure we evaluate our draft board and stack them in the right order and try to take the best players."
Is there a particular position group that stands out as strong in the incoming class?
"I think the running back class is really strong. Last year you had 15 running backs drafted. (This year) you had 12 underclassmen who came out, all very productive guys. There's a group of seniors. I think it's a quality group at the running back position and I think there will be value throughout the draft."
Can you stick to the best available player philosophy if the draft were to occur prior to free agency?
"I think for us, it's just ensuring that we stack the draft board right so that if there are areas of perceived need and value that you're taking the right value pick because in this league, you never know what the future holds at a particular position and if you start pigeonholing the spots that you can take, you're going to probably decrease your odds of hitting on the pick."
What are some of the things that you think were behind Vick's success in 2010?
"I think first you hit on it, he's got great coaches around him who he's spent the time with, he's willing to spend the time. For us, we knew throughout the offseason that he was spending a lot of time in the classroom, in the program getting stronger, working on his legs. When he came back his first year, he knew his legs weren't in the right spot and for him, not being able to get his legs underneath him, being able to move in the pocket, being able to step into his throws, that took away a lot of his strengths. So for him, being able to work, being able to learn the offense and he's a talented guy. He was the first pick of the draft. He's got rare ability and I think it all came together for him."
How would a potential lockout affect Vick's learning curve?
"The thing I can say about Michael is that he's going to work hard. He wants to work hard, he wants to be great, he wants to win a championship. So he's going to work hard at making sure that he's in the best possible shape and that he knows the offense as best as he can.
"Michael's a talented individual. I think for Michael, it's just started for him in terms of being the kind of player he's going to be. It was his first year as a starting quarterback in three years. He continues to learn and get better in our offense. I think really the sky's the limit in terms of his ability to improve in our offense."
What are your thoughts on Cam Newton's skill set?
"He's a talented individual. He's got all the tools, he's a great athlete, he's got size, he's got strength, he's a winner and he started his career at the University of Florida so we all like that. So he's a talented guy and wherever he goes he's going to be successful."
Do you think Vick's success has helped Newton's stock?
"Yeah, I think Michael, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan, all those guys, the mobile guys with the arms. Obviously defensive players are getting faster, they're getting more active, so being able to escape from them, that's a big plus."
How important is the interview process here at the Combine?
"That's the great part of this process, spending time with these guys, getting to know them, putting them on the board, learning enough about them to see what they know, what you can teach them in these short interview sessions, what they can spit back to you. That's the exciting part of the combine and the pre-draft process."
What attributes do you look for in potential offensive linemen?
"It's important for us to have athletic ability. We like to throw the ball in Philadelphia and for that they have to have good feet, good athletic ability, be able to move and that compounds when you have a quarterback who can move around in the pocket, which all of our quarterbacks can do. You want them to be able to move with him."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:01 p.m., February 24