General manager Howie Roseman was asked so often about his team's relative lack of draft picks in this year's NFL Draft during his pre-draft media session that he joked he should change his name to "You only have six picks."
To be fair, though, Roseman has made more draft picks since he became a general manager than any other general manager, or team, in the NFL. Roseman and the Eagles have picked 41 players since the 2010 NFL Draft, two more than the next-closest team, the Seattle Seahawks.
So you can understand why Roseman, who has averaged over 10 picks per draft, would be peppered with questions about entering this year's draft with only six picks.
"I'd like to have 15 picks, but we have to get the right guys and that's the most important thing," Roseman said Thursday. "The encouraging thing for us is when you talk about it, I think I looked yesterday and we have 17 guys from the last two draft classes, which is a lot of players. I think when we look at how many starters at that, it's a high number, and then you factor in some of the pre-existing guys here and some of the guys that we've brought in with free agency. I think if we found a guy that we thought could be a long-term, high-level starter and he was the highest guy on our board, whatever round that was, I still think we would be aggressive about that, even though there would be a little knot in my stomach.
"I'll tell you a story. Last year, we didn't have a sixth-round pick, and it's not easy to sit in the draft and not have a pick in a round. There's no question about it. I was worried about the future damage that I would do by sitting in there and going "I like that player, I like that player." I actually left the building and I started walking around the field for an hour and just kind of looking at my phone because I thought it was the right thing to do. If you can get past the moment, in that round, so maybe I'll come hang out with you guys, then it's still a good decision but it hurts. It hurts when you're sitting around for a round without a pick. There's no doubt about it."
Roseman also knows that any potential holes in the roster will not be solved over one weekend.
"For us as a personnel staff, the elephant in the room is that you aren't going to be able to fill all of your needs," said Roseman. "When you look at the Super Bowl champions over the last couple of years and you break down their team, you probably could pick some weaknesses they have. As much as we don't want that and we'd like to have 22 perfect players at each position, we understand that it's a work in progress. The roster is always going to be like that, so you have to be comfortable that we may have to go into August or September with a spot that we're continuing to look for, and I think that's a great challenge for us and our personnel staff to say that we're going to look at the wire, we're going to look at guys who are cut, but we have to stick to our board because the draft is a long-term decision for us.
"So we don't know where we're going to be in two or three years from now, so it doesn't affect the way that we stack our board, and for us, quality is going to trump quality. When you look back at successful drafts, if you can come out of it with three starters, that is a really good draft. There aren't a lot of drafts where you can come out and do that. So we still have enough picks to do that. Obviously, you'd always like to have more picks, but it is what it is at this point."
Roseman is so comfortable with the Eagles' perceived scarcity of picks, that he would not rule out trading up if necessary.
"We wouldn't be concerned with that if we felt like the value of the player was right," he said. "We're not going to make any move unless it's based on our board. To sit here and know that we're going to move up or down - If we have a guy that is top five in our draft and he's falling, would we look into that? No question.
"I have probably talked to two-thirds of the league and by the time the draft starts I've talked to every team in the league. There are calls about moving up, calls about moving back. I think that's the nature of what we do right now at this time of year. A lot of it is going to be determined by who is on the board and who is off the board."
When it comes to that first-round selection, Roseman said the draft board has been set for a while. The only remaining work on the draft board relates to the positioning of the bottom of the board.
"I think it's about the quality of the players we get," Roseman said. "What this extra two weeks has allowed us to do is spend a lot of time on the potential priority free agent guys and really know those guys, certainly for me, better than I've ever known guys later on the draft board. I think (I was asked) at the Playground Build on Monday about if our board is set and at the top of the board, it is set.
"We are playing around with (the rest of our board). The sixth- and seventh-round guys, those are the ones we're going to get as free agents. We've never been in a draft, as long as I've been here, where we're having to go through our sixth- and seventh-round guys to find a player (to draft) in the seventh round. So, the way it works is, usually in the seventh round, we're still picking guys we have in the fourth or fifth round. Those are the things we're spending a lot of time on here in the last week. The top of our board is set, we haven't changed it or moved anything because you can convince yourself of anything if you spend too much time doing it."