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Quotes: Howie Roseman On Round 5

HOWIE ROSEMAN: Start with [Eagles fifth-round draft pick out of West Virginia RB] Wendell Smallwood, as part of our research on all our draft picks, we look at social media. We are aware of the statements that he made. They were in 2011. A lot has changed between now and then. We don't condone anything he said but we spent a lot of time with him, and we feel like this is a good kid. There was another incident where he was arrested, he was not charged with anything. We did a lot of background on to Wendell with our security team, with the league security and again, he was never charged with anything, and we're very comfortable bringing him in here. He's got to prove it on and off the field, but we have no doubts about what kind of player and person he is.

Q. He came out as a junior. Why did he come out early if he's really not a top pick?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think it was an opportunity for us, when you look at his numbers, he had the most 10-plus runs in the NCAA this year, an explosive guy, physical guy, has also returned kicks. Can catch the ball. Will pass protect. Probably would have been a higher pick had he came out next year. I think it may have been a family decision for him to come out. A lot of people came out from West Virginia, but we know they are sorry to lose him.

Q. The running backs, where did they rank on your board in comparison?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It's funny you say that, you get in a situation where we're not picking for a long time and you're sitting there and you're getting closer to your pick and you're finally kind of standing up and getting ready for your pick and you look at the board and you say, 'Shoot, there's a bunch of running backs that are left there and maybe we can go in a different direction.' Like that, all of a sudden, they go pretty quick. So we wanted to make sure that we got him. He was one of the guys that were in this stack that we had and a couple had just gone right before, and I think you mentioned some names that certainly come into play.

Q. Those charges were dropped after the friend pleaded guilty, so what did you find in your investigation that made you feel comfortable?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, first, he didn't do anything wrong. He went to go see a relative, and there was no indication that anything he did was wrong. The school did its own investigation as well. They reinstated him to the team. He was put out as the face of the team at media day for West Virginia when he talked to the people there. From our own research, we felt comfortable about him. He came up and he had some adversity when he was coming up in his life but he's fought through that. I think when you guys all meet him and see how humble he is and kind of the way he lives his life, you'll see what we saw.

Q. The Twitter account, 2011, what has he done to kind of take accountability for that and mature over these last five years?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think just in his actions and what he's done, how he works on and off the field, and certainly regrettable statements there and, again, we don't condone those. But we spent a lot of time with him and did research since he's been at West Virginia and what kind of kid he is and the people around him, how they feel about him. The statement from us made a ton of sense, when we looked at him was that they put him as face of the program at media day and that's how strongly they felt about him.

Q. The fact that he's local, does that give you more exposure to him?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It did, we were able to bring him in here and not one of our Top-30s, try to convince him to work out. Again, he wouldn't do it -- really, his agent advised him not to. He actually, we gave him a little hard time, you can't work out, he goes, I'll go work out right now. But his agent had called us and asked us not to work him out because it was so close to the draft. His workout was phenomenal at West Virginia. Again, when you look at his numbers this year, when you watch the tape, it's doubles all the time. Fifty-eight, if I'm remembering correctly, 10-plus yard runs, and it's play after play, and he runs with determination, but you see the speed on tape and then you see it in the testing.

Q. Is it difficult at all to evaluate running backs coming out of spread offenses like that?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think what you're looking for is you're looking for a vision, you're looking for explosiveness through the hole, decisiveness, toughness. There was a lot of love for this player in our draft room, in our draft meetings when we were talking about that running back stack we talked about, a lot of passion. He's got a lot of supporters as he comes into Philadelphia for the way he plays the game. And I would say when we look at that, obviously we take everyone into account and personnel staff and our coaching staff, and when you look at our coaching staff in this regard, they have experience with a lot of running backs, and we have [Eagles pro scout] Ted [Williams] here who is part of our personnel staff now and he's someone that we've always relied on for his evaluation of guys, and he's got a big supporter in Williams and [Eagles running backs] coach [Duce] Staley.

Q. When did you first become aware of him? Did you think before the Combine he might be drafted or did his character hold him back a little bit?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think the buzz, and when you make these picks, you get texts, that's what everyone does in the league and I think the buzz in the league about this player and who he worked out for, everyone knew, especially after the pro day, that he was no secret. I'd ask, what doesn't he do well? The testing numbers are really good. The production is really good. He can run, he can catch, he can pass protect. I'm not sitting up here saying this is LeSean McCoy in the fifth round, but this is a good player.

Q. Is there a difference between how the character of some players is evaluated from last year to this year in your eyes from this team?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: You have to look at everyone kind of in a vacuum and figure what happened and why it happened and ask the questions. We do a lot of research on these guys. But we also don't want to throw away guys just because they had one incident, in this case, five or six years ago. Guys come from different backgrounds, they come from different experiences, and the National Football League is a melting pot. You get 53 guys who come from different backgrounds and who come from different economic means and neighborhoods. So we've just got to make sure that we do the work on guys, but this was someone that when we met and spent time with and did our homework on, we felt comfortable bringing him to Philadelphia.

Q. Is there more understanding of that this year than maybe the last two years?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I haven't thought about what is in the past. We're going forward here and we're trying to make good decisions. Obviously when we look at our draft here, we're talking about not having a bunch of picks in this draft, and so that doesn't mean that we're going to take players and just take risks because we're picking late. But again, I think that when you guys sit down with him and see what we see and you look in his eyes, and then he's got to go and prove it on and off the field.

Q. Blake Countess plays both corner and safety. Where do you project him to start out at?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Countess is another one. He's kind of a favorite player of ours as we watch him. He played safety at Auburn this year, and he has some traits of guys like [Eagles safety Rodney] McLeod when he plays that. He's also played nickel. He can play nickel. He can play corner. Coach [Will] Muschamp, who was defensive coordinator at Auburn this year, when you check in with him, he thinks he was not only one of the best players on defense but one of the best players on the team. Phenomenal character kid and just somebody that we had really kind of earmarked as -- we got kind of cute there trying to get another pick because we don't have many but it's someone we think has a lot of value and versatility for our defense. He can play nickel, he can play safety he can play on special teams. It was kind of unanimous there, and then we had to kind of sweat it out a little bit.

Q. With the players on the board late, were there players before Wendell that you were looking at that were gone?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We didn't pick from 79 to 153. A couple of players, a lot of players going by. That's a hard thing to do. This is a big day for us. This is an exciting day and we come in, we're fired up and ready to get started and then we've got to sit for a long time. So a lot of players are going by. But that's just the nature of the game. Any time we think about that, we go back and we put on tape of our big quarterback.

Q. As far as the tackle from TCU Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Big V--
HOWIE ROSEMAN: That's what we've got to call him, Big V.

Q. What stands out about him?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: First, his size, tremendous size, length. He's got all the tools. Now it's got to come together for him. He's a guy that when you talk to our coaching staff, they would take him anywhere in the draft because of the rare tools that he has. So we sent [Eagles offensive line coach Jeff] Stout[land] down to work him out. He's got all the tools in his body to be a good player. He's got to get more consistent. That's why he went in the fifth round. But when you're talking about our team and what we need going forward, this is -- we need a big, athletic body to work with at tackle. We had some guys that we were considering in the third round for us. [Eagles third-round draft pick] Isaac [Seumalo] was the best player. We got a little nervous about Isaac and it turned out that there was a team that was trying to trade up with us and we got lucky because of the relationship we have with that team that we ask where they are looking, what side of the ball and they give us some information and after we picked him, they told him they were going to pick Isaac. Sometimes you have to go with your gut there but we felt fortunate that he was there that there was a tackle, because when you look at the past couple of draft classes, there's not a lot of offensive linemen in the fifth round, just like the running backs, they started to go. We started making calls about maybe even moving up to get one of the guys that we had there at offensive tackle because it's about the offensive line. We wanted to make a commitment to that in the off-season. [Eagles free agent signee G] Brandon [Brooks], [Eagles free agent signee C/G Stefen] Wis[niewski], Isaac and then Big V, we're excited about -- those are our four real guys there, and we have a great coaching staff to work with so we're excited.

Q. Where do you envision starting Big V out at on the offensive line? HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think we're going to start him out at tackle. It's hard for a young player to switch back and forth to a bunch of spots, especially a guy like him that we've really got to develop and spend our time with but it's not going to be hard to miss him on the football field and I think when everyone sees him move, they will understand kind of why we took a shot in the fifth round.

Q. A lot of companies do social media checks before they hire somebody. Is that part of the process for these guys with the Eagles and were you aware of some of the things?
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It is part of our process. The social media part is a big part of our process and we go through it. I think that people, what we found out is that people try to start clearing some of their social media, so you've got to be careful that you're getting all the information. In this case, we knew about Wendell and what was going on with him kind of on and off the field, and we did a lot of research and homework and spent a lot of time with him. Again, you know, young guys make mistakes and we don't condone anything that he said there. But we feel comfortable going forward that he's going to have an opportunity to prove it on and off the field that he's an Eagle.

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