If there is a theme or two or three about what the Philadelphia Eagles have done through two nights of the 2022 NFL Draft, it could be summed up by the way the team reacted after every stroke on the canvas.
Two nights of the 2022 NFL Draft, two different approaches for the Philadelphia Eagles. After going big in the first round on Thursday with two huge trades, including a blockbuster to bring wide receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia, General Manager Howie Roseman allowed the Draft to come to him on Friday night.
And as he walked up the stairs of the NovaCare Complex following his end-of-night press conference, Roseman addressed the approach that netted the Eagles two players they absolutely love – Nebraska center Cam Jurgens with the 51st pick (second round) and Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean with the 83rd pick (third round).
"You come in with a plan and you have some targeted guys. You understand that it's going to go quick. It's fast and furious on Friday night of the draft," Roseman said. "We feel very fortunate that with our pick in the second round we have a player that we think has the potential to be an unbelievable player for the Philadelphia Eagles at an important position. Those guys are hard to find on the offensive line. We're always going to invest in that position. We're always going to make sure we're strong up front because that's where it starts for us. This guy (Jurgens) is unique.
"At the same time, when we were deciding at that time it was between him and another player (Dean) and we crossed our fingers and kind of hoped that the other player would still be there in the next round. But you also know that you've probably lost him. Then the draft goes into the 60s and then the 70s and we brought our doctors back into the Draft Room and we asked, 'Are we missing something? Is there something we are missing on Nakobe?' We were considering picking him earlier. We started our day and talked about Nakobe with our doctors and we asked them at 51 again. Then we just held out hope that we would have another chance to draft this guy who we think is a heck of a player and a heck of a person.
"We feel, at the end of the day, that we have two guys who really fit into our culture – tremendous players and tremendous people."
Roseman, one of the league's wheelers and dealers, stayed put on Friday. One approach one night. Another approach the next night.
"You've got to be able to be flexible. Of course, there were positions – if you said to me four days ago, 'Pick the positions you want to draft' and if come out and say 'I knocked all those out,' you probably didn't get the best players. It's too hard to do that," Roseman said. "We let it come to us in both the second and third rounds. It wasn't like we were working the phones to move up, mostly because we did that in the first round. I think we landed on two really good players for the Philadelphia Eagles."
There are no regrets. Not a chance. The Eagles have Davis to help add depth and long-range talent to the defensive line position. They bring in Brown and he's one of the top receivers in the NFL already and now he teams with DeVonta Smith and that group and instantly the Eagles are tons better at wide receiver. Jurgens is part of something the Eagles will always invest in – the offensive line – and he has a chance to learn from a Hall of Fame center in Jason Kelce – "year to year" – as Roseman termed Kelce's status at the press conference on Friday night – and work with the best Offensive Line Coach in the business, Jeff Stoutland. Dean was the nation's best linebacker at Georgia last season and he's coming here with a giant chip on his shoulder having been bypassed 82 times in this draft.
The Eagles are thrilled. They have more work, of course, and with only two draft picks left they may not get to every position they looked to address, but they also will look to kill it in the post-draft period and you just know that Roseman is going to keep working to improve this roster – he did it last summer when he added cornerback Steven Nelson just as Training Camp opened.
"Two foundational pieces for this draft on the first night – we consider A.J. part of this Draft Class," Roseman said. "There is more work tomorrow but we're going to have opportunities to keep adding after the draft. We're going to scrounge and grind and find whatever players we can that fit us and kind of make up for some of the picks that we don't have on Day 3."