The clock had ticked long past midnight hours after the Eagles selected wide receiver DeVonta Smith with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and the team's Draft Room at the NovaCare Complex was still buzzing. Thirty-two picks were off the Eagles' draft board and while it may have seemed an eternity before Round 2 started on Friday night, the veterans in the room knew better.
Only a few days earlier, Howie Roseman called the first round of the NFL Draft "the appetizer," as in the first pick is the one that gets all the attention and is certainly of extreme importance, but there is a whole lot more draft to win. In Smith, the Eagles picked one heck of an appetizer, but they also knew that they would be on the clock in only a matter of hours and that Day 2, and then Day 3, form the main course of draft weekend.
Tonight, with picks in the second round (No. 37 overall) and in the third round (No. 70 overall), the Eagles are back at it in the Draft Room, strategizing to add more talent to the roster.
"(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 on Wednesday in an exclusive interview.
As excited as everyone is about Smith and what he brings to the wide receiver group, the Eagles also understand that they've got a roster that needs upgrades throughout. There are nine draft picks remaining – subject to change, of course – and the intention is to hit on every one of them, to make sure that they are the right fits for what Head Coach Nick Sirianni and his staff have planned from a scheme standpoint.
Vision. Purpose. Plan. That's the weekend mantra.
Where the Eagles go tonight, hey, we're going to find out together. There is still a lot of quality on the board – most of the draft experts say that the sweet spot of the weekend is somewhere in the range of 40 to 65 on Day 2 – and the Eagles are going in trusting all the work they've put in to this point and the process they've followed in this most unusual pre-draft season.
"The scouts and everyone involved in this have put in so much work," Roseman said before the draft began. "I feel confident that we've prepared for our scenarios and that we're going to be ready to go."
Everything remains on the table. The Eagles can move up and down tonight and tomorrow, when they have a whopping seven picks. There are still veteran free agents who now understand that it's a buyer's market and the Eagles still have needs, and you just know that Roseman is working every possible angle to upgrade the roster. This is the time in the weekend when trades are made and players are moved and the roster rejiggering can become a bit frenetic.
The biggest takeaway for everyone to remember is that the NFL Draft is never, ever, ever about one player. The Eagles have more work to do, and that's why, after a few hours of sleep Thursday night into Friday, the Draft Room at the NovaCare Complex picked up where it left off after the excitement of the Smith pick in Round 1.