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Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni preview the 2024 NFL Draft

Howie Roseman
Howie Roseman

The 2024 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday in Detroit and the Eagles are well positioned to stockpile talent with eight total picks, including three in the first two rounds. How are Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman and Head Coach Nick Sirianni approaching this instrumental talent-acquisition weekend? The two met with the media for 34 minutes on Tuesday to offer an Eagles-centric preview. Here are six key storylines to follow:

1. The Eagles signed four players to multi-year contract extensions in the offseason. How does that impact draft plans?

First, from a roster-building standpoint, Roseman did not want the Eagles to have any major needs going into the NFL Draft so they can focus on selecting the best players and not forcing a position.

Second, the extensions send an important signal to the current players and those who will become Eagles during and after the NFL Draft.

"It's a great success story for us to be able to draft guys and sign them to extensions. I think it's a great message to our team, that if you come here and you do the right thing, you don't have to leave," Roseman said.

"Obviously, unfortunately, we've lost two players (Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce), two of the greatest Eagles in the history of our franchise who have retired, but they played with one franchise. We are very optimistic that we'll have two of those other guys (Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson) who will end up doing that.

And so, I think that's legacy, to be able to have players that are able to do that, and when other players see that, I think that's a big part of building culture. I think that's important, and that starts with Jeffrey (Lurie, Chairman and CEO). Because if we didn't have somebody who was willing to do that and to allow us to sign guys early — and when you sign guys early, you know, you are obviously hoping that the player is going to get a really good deal because, obviously, you want it to work for both sides and that we are able to spread out the cap hits and be able to get other players.

"So, by doing these deals early, we are hopeful that — you know, we believe in the players we are doing it with, and we are hopeful that it will allow us to continue to add to our team. But it all starts with Jeffrey."

2. How do the Eagles balance winning in both the short term and over the long haul?

Roseman made it clear at the press conference that, "My only goal is to win as much as I possibly can, and if I'm not good at that, I shouldn't be sitting in this seat. That's the only thing I think about. I think, 'How do I put this team in position?'

"But I also feel like it's my job. I'm a caretaker in this franchise. I'm not going to be here forever. And I think it's my job to make sure that I leave this franchise in a better place than when I got it. And to be honest, when I got it, it was in pretty good hands."

Even if a top draft pick isn't on the field immediately in a starting role, Roseman cites how the Super Bowl was won in 2017 with backups at several key positions from quarterback to left tackle to middle linebacker to special teams gunner among others.

Roseman walks the fine line between drafting for immediate impact with smart, strategic long-term goals in mind. Cam Jurgens was drafted in 2022 with the idea that when Jason Kelce calls it a career his potential successor would be in place with an apprenticeship of sorts of how to thrive in the league.

"We are still always trying to recruit Jason to keep playing for as long as he felt comfortable playing. But at the same time, having (Jurgens) be able to study how Jason practices, how Jason leads, how Jason takes notes. Instead of saying, Cam, you should have seen how Jason Kelce led, how he practiced, how he takes notes. Like we think that gives him the best potential to reach the ability that he can do, and the same for Jordan (Davis) and Jalen (Carter)," Roseman said.

"So, there's benefits to that. In the short term, you could say, well, Cam sat for a year, really, and so maybe you could have gotten some bigger bang for your buck with that second-round pick in the short term. But we think over the long term, and we are trying to do things that are the best for this team over the long term; that it makes sense for these guys to be around these great players."

3. Eagles work through worst-case scenarios

Last year, the Eagles entered the NFL Draft with the 10th overall pick, knowing that they would walk away with no worse than their 10th-rated player. In true Roseman fashion, he moved up one spot to secure defensive tackle Jalen Carter, a Defensive Rookie of the Year finalist. Roseman has traded out of the Eagles' first-round spot on draft night in five of the past six years.

Currently, the Eagles sit at No. 22 and Roseman is focused more of playing out the potential worst-case situations.

"There's always going to be something different that happens in front of you or behind you that you didn't anticipate," Roseman said. "I feel really good about which players are going to come off around the first 25 picks. Now that doesn't mean there's not going to be some moment in the first round where I go, 'Whoa.'

"But I feel good about that. I think that when you're picking in the middle of the second round, there's probably a little bit more curveballs that come your way. But we will be prepared for it. We don't do many best-outcome scenarios. We work with, 'This will be the worst case,' and even in our worst-case situation at 22 and 50 and 53, we'll be able to improve this football team."

As in customary fashion, quarterbacks dominate the conversation at the top of the draft. Three of the first four picks last year were used on quarterbacks. Former USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the presumed No. 1 overall pick to the Chicago Bears after they traded former first-round pick Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Washington (No. 2) and New England (No. 3) are both in search of long-term options at the quarterback position. Will a run on quarterbacks early push certain players the Eagles' way at No. 22?

"Well, it's gone both ways," Roseman said. "We've been in drafts where there's been great depth at a position, and you feel like, all right, you'll just sit there and wait and all of a sudden the guys go really quickly and you sit there and go, 'Man, I thought this was going to be a great draft there and there's not many left.'

"I think you just have to be prepared. Again, I say this because it's the truth. A lot of the scenarios are led by Jeffrey in this and putting us kind of to the test over the next couple weeks. So, when we are on the clock, it's just like Coach going through his game plan. We'll be ready. We'll be ready for any scenario that comes from us. We'll be ready to make decisions on the clock and we'll be ready to trade."

4. What's in a name?

Roseman has been in the league long enough that he's seen in recent years sons of players he's worked with enter the league.

Pro Bowl tackle Jon Runyan's son, Jon Jr., was in the 2020 NFL Draft. The following year, it was All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel's son, Asante Jr.

This year, Eagles Hall of Fame linebacker Jeremiah Trotter's progeny, Jeremiah Jr., carries the family's legacy at linebacker and is a top prospect.

Roseman admits that it's tough to ignore the names on the backs of the jerseys.

"I'm biased towards our hometown players. I'm biased towards the people who have legacy with this franchise," Roseman said. "So, I think that's hard, and I think that's why, you know, when Coach talked about getting a lot of the information and trying to get myself out of that moment, and you know, just trying to make the best decision for the Philadelphia Eagles and not make it an emotional decision."

At the same time, Roseman values prospects who know what to expect playing in Philadelphia.

"I do think it's a plus," he added. "It's a plus to bring someone in this atmosphere who understands what it's like. This is the best atmosphere in the National Football League and I think that you know, they know that when you win, it's like nothing else that you experience that. But it's different for people who haven't experienced that before."

5. What does Coach Sirianni look for in a player? Check out these 3 traits

For Roseman's player personnel department, the NFL Draft is a year-long exercise, scouring the country to scout prospects and unearth as much information as possible to help make the best decisions on draft day.

The coaches enter the process once the Eagles' season comes to a close. By then, the scouts have cross-checked prospects several times with thorough reports. Roseman wants to ensure that Sirianni and his staff have talented players who will blossom in the Eagles' schemes. But there's more than just the tape that determines a player's success in the league.

"I think at the end of the day, we try to make it really simple as far as is the guy tough, does he love football, and does he have high football IQ," Sirianni said. "We get all the information on the character from the scouts, but that's what we are always trying to figure out as coaches is: Are they tough, do they love football, and do they have high football IQ. Because in my experience around good players, those are the guys that you can't go to the game without. The guys that have those three qualities, you can't go to the game without them. You feel like they are constantly succeeding and they have the ability, God willing, to reach their ceiling, those types of players right there."

6. It's important to remember that the NFL Draft is just the beginning

Two weeks after the NFL Draft, the rookies will arrive in Philadelphia for the three-day Rookie Minicamp and that's when the Eagles' ability to develop and cultivate the potential comes to light.

"I'm probably repeating something that I've said before, and I guess that happens when we've been together for a long time. This is the only profession — and I don't know any other profession because this is the only job I've ever had — but this is the only profession where you take someone out of college, and you expect them to be great; and if they are not great, you criticize them for not being great," Roseman said.

"We believe strongly that we have to develop these players, that they come in here with a skill set but they are unfinished products, and that we have a great coaching staff; we have great player development staff; and we have great support staff to help develop these guys. And so, we know that all of them, like all of us, are going to have things they need to work on and one of the reasons that we do these Top 30 visits is to get a head start on that, so we are hitting the ground running if we draft any of these guys.

"But I think that's the first thing. It's kind of here are the strengths, here are the weaknesses; how we can help them with the weaknesses, whether they are on the field, whether they are off the field; how we can support these people so they can reach their potential. Because a lot of these guys are 21, 22 — some a little bit older in this draft, probably the last draft like that. But still, all of us, 23, 24, aren't the same people we are as we get older.

"So, we want to make sure that these guys have the right tools in their body; they have the right intangibles; that they have the right willingness to be coached to be taught to work to be great; and if they have those things and we see the talent and we see the work ethic, then we think that's probably a fit."

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