The Countdown to the 2022 NFL Draft is here, and on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex General Manager Howie Roseman and Head Coach Nick Sirianni met the media to provide updates. The first topic of conversation was the trade the Eagles made with New Orleans a couple of weeks ago to set the team up with two first-round draft picks this year, an extra third-round selection in 2022, a first-round pick in 2023, and a second-round selection in 2024.
A whopper of a trade, for sure, and for the Eagles it was a chance to balance the draft load for 2022 and 2023 and to increase their draft capital for the future.
"I think we were kind of looking at this year, next year, and the amount of picks that we had in this year's draft and trying to kind of balance it a little bit for a variety of factors. When you look at having first-round picks and the fifth-year option, having that many guys on the fifth-year option," Roseman said. "Also, kind of balancing just scouting all the players in this draft and next year's draft and having more options and more flexibility at all positions. We were kind of getting a head start on looking at next year's draft too and seeing that it's strong as well as this year's draft.
"So, we thought it made sense. Obviously, from a New Orleans standpoint, we looked back – there hadn't been really a team that had moved back that far for a first-round pick, so it made sense for them too. Hopefully, a win-win situation."
The inevitable question about the quarterback position followed, and Roseman said what the Eagles have been saying all offseason – the Eagles are extremely excited to see what steps Jalen Hurts takes in his third season here.
"We're excited about Jalen Hurts and we're going to support Jalen and want him to have a great career in Philly," Roseman said. "This was about flexibility for our team and about making sure that we had resources to improve our team for not only this year's draft, but next year's draft going forward. We thought it made a lot of sense."
If you listened to Roseman and Sirianni and hoped to get a sense of the team's intentions for the draft proceedings, well, you're just going to have to enjoy the drama of the weekend. The Eagles are preparing for every scenario possible. They've got picks 15 and 18 in the first round, have five selections in the first 101 picks, and have nine of their 10 draft picks through five rounds.
It's a bounty of assets that Roseman intends to use wisely and the key, he said, is that the Eagles won't "force" the issue – they're going to trust their draft board.
"You can't really predict what other teams are going to do and you can't be in a situation where you have to do something. Certainly, when you look at some of the mistakes that I've made personally, it's because you try to force something. So, you can only do what the board allows you to do. There's obviously a lot of time between now and the time the first game starts for us to continue to address the needs of this team," Roseman said.
"We'll go into the draft, and we'll follow the board. We have had a lot of discussions – a lot of good discussions – about the players in this draft, and we just have to make sure we take the best players and not look at the draft as just a short-term fix."
Instead of tipping their hand, Roseman and Sirianni kept focused on the need to bring in good football players to the organization. And the truth is that the Eagles will look to upgrade every position, so committing to a position or one side of the ball – it's something the Eagles won't talk about before the draft.
Sirianni resisted saying which side of the ball needs more improvement. He didn't bite on the chance to do so and instead, Sirianni listed what he is looking for in players the team wants to add to the roster.
One thing that is very important is obviously the talent of the player, but then also the characteristics of the player.
"I don't think it's fair for me to say, 'Oh, well, offense is more important than defense or defense is more important than offense.' We're just looking obviously to get our team better. How do you do that? You get that with good players," Sirianni said. "Those are things that are there for you to find out in the scouting process. Do they have high football IQ? Do they have good character? Are they tough? Those are things that you really can see and find out. And then, in addition, do they love football and are they competitive?
"I think I've said this before, in my experience, guys that have those five traits, they maximize their potential. So, that's what we want. We want to be able to get guys in here that can maximize potential both offensively, defensively and special teams wise."
OK, so it wasn't a press conference during which the Eagles revealed their hand. The Eagles have a plan and they're going to be fine-tuning the blueprint. It's just that, you know, they aren't going to tell the world what they plan to do.
Sticking to the board. That's the plan. That's the goal.
"I think for us, we just go by our rankings and what we think is the right way to stack the board," Roseman said. "We'll be prepared to take our 15th player at 15 and our 18th player at 18."