With just 10 days to go until the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, it's officially crunch time for all 32 NFL teams. While teams have already gone through virtually all of their draft scenarios at this point, there's still a week and half left for any last-minute preparations.
On Monday morning, head coach Doug Pederson and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman met with the media at the NovaCare Complex to discuss the state of the team heading into next week's all-important draft.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Pederson and Roseman's media availability …
On The Possibility Of Moving Up In The First Round
"At this time of year, we're talking to teams in front of us, around us, behind us, we have to do our due diligence and that's why we kind of go through every player and we go through all of those scenarios and we'll continue to do that as we get closer and certainly as the draft unfolds," said Roseman.
"I wouldn't consider any discussions with other teams as serious until you make deals, so I think it's the same discussions with the people behind us. We're having those discussion now. … We just kind of have those conversations internally and weigh the cost-benefit of everything. … For us, we stack the players and we find a way to get the best players we possibly can. We're excited also about picking eighth and the opportunities that will be at the eighth pick."
Of course, if the Eagles do ultimately decide to move up into the top two or three picks in the draft, the assumption is that it would be to grab a potential franchise quarterback. Both Roseman and Pederson expressed the importance of making sure that the player fits all the qualifications that the team is looking for before any potential move can be made.
"We've got to be consistent with what our board says," Roseman said. "From our staff's perspective, we're very fortunate to have Coach and the coaching staff he's put around and to have all of their history with quarterbacks into play. We're able to really utilize them as huge resources for us, but at the end of the day, you can't invent one. You can't invent someone at any position, so we've talked about that and that's been our conversation. We can't invent someone at any position so we have to be careful as we look at every position."
"From my standpoint, every year you're going to look at the quarterback position and evaluate that one because it's an important position on your football team, obviously," Pederson said. "I would be in a position every year to take a quarterback. My whole career, even as a player in Green Bay, (Mike) Holmgren and his staff were taking quarterbacks. I think you have to continue to develop the bottom part of your roster and in order to do that, you have to pick up guys when it's right to do that."
The Los Angeles Rams made the first big splash of the 2016 NFL Draft by acquiring the No. 1 overall pick from the Tennessee Titans in a blockbuster deal last week. The Rams are expected to select one of the top two quarterbacks – Jared Goff or Carson Wentz – but it's unclear exactly which player they will take. With that in mind, Roseman spoke about the possibility of moving up, even though uncertainty remains about who will go number one.
"If you're very comfortable that you have two guys that are franchise players, whether it's quarterback, offensive line, defensive backs, and that you're comfortable getting either one, then you could be inclined to still move and say I'm good, but if you don't feel that way then it would be hard to move up until they made a pick.
"I think we assume that one (quarterback) is off the board, so I think that changes the dynamic of what player falls to you at eight. Knowing that and being able to sit there and kind of go alright, well now we don't necessarily have the eighth pick, we have the seventh pick because one is gone already. So that's some interesting options for us now to have our board at seven."
The Eagles haven't picked in the top 10 of the draft often in the last 20 years, so now that they find themselves at number eight, it's crucial to the front office and coaching staff that they make the best of the situation.
"It's something that the weight of the decision is hefty because how rare it is for our franchise and coming out of it with someone who really is a building block for the long term of the franchise," Roseman said. "I think it's something that we don't take lightly, the fact that we're up here. I came in right after Corey (Simon), so it's only been with Lane, so it's unique and we intend to try to take advantage of it."
On Bringing In Players For Private Workouts
Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of reports swirling about which prospects the Eagles have been bringing to the NovaCare Complex for individual workouts. Roseman updated where the Eagles are in terms of pre-draft visits.
"Before we walked out here, (executive assistant) Katie (David) was quick to mention that we're on 29, so we only have one left and part of that is kind of the timing that we're on," Roseman said. "We have a minicamp going forward, so we're about done and they have to be done this week anyway. There comes a point in time where you're not allowed to bring anyone else into your facility and the only way to see guys is to go to them.
"We've done a lot of unpublicized work on other players (besides the quarterbacks), but Coach said it when we were at the spring meetings that he wants to get his hands on them and he wants to be able to work them out. That's the best way for him and his staff to get a feel for them, so we did do that and we've also done that with guys at other positions, but I don't think that anyone was taking pictures of us."
On The Importance Of Adding A Quarterback To The Roster
Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and McLeod Bethel-Thompson are all under contract, but the Eagles are certainly aware that the roster is in need of another young quarterback, someone who could potentially be molded into the leader of the franchise for years to come. The Eagles hold four picks inside the draft's first 100 selections, and Roseman spoke about how if a team is looking for a difference-maker, they're more likely to find one early on in the draft than in the later rounds.
"Everyone talks about falling quarterbacks, but ever since what happened with Aaron (Rodgers), that doesn't happen so often. Quarterbacks go," Roseman said. "There's a need for them throughout the league. Everyone wants a quarterback that they can develop and kind of call their next guy, but what happens is that now you have teams that are now trying to get the guy because once one is – maybe if Tennessee is at one, they're not taking a quarterback – so maybe that pushes everything back a little bit.
"It's almost similar to the running back position where when you look at the difference-makers in the National Football League, you only have a couple of exceptions of guys who are taken in the later rounds, unique guys obviously in Tom (Brady) and Russell (Wilson). When you talk about that quarterback position and we kind of go back to what we know, and that's Coach and being around Donovan (McNabb), who was drafted high, and being able to sit and take some time and you look at a lot of the quarterbacks who have had success over the last decade, and they had a chance to learn their craft. I think it's beneficial for people to not be thrown into anything that they do and kind of learn and get some experience."
On The Eagles' Current Offensive Line
The Eagles entered this offseason with a number of position groups that needed to be addressed in terms of adding depth. One of those groups was the offensive line, but according to Coach Pederson, the Eagles have made some terrific strides up front by adding talent through free agency.
"Right now, I feel really good about our offensive line and where we're sitting," Pederson said. "(Stefen) Wisniewski gives us added depth, a lot of games there. Brandon Brooks brings a veteran presence at guard as well. You've got him and Wisniewski, and Wisniewski gives you a little bit more depth at center plus left guard position with (Allen) Barbre and (Malcolm) Bunche and those guys working in there, so I feel really good about where we are right now."
On Size Prototypes For Each Position
The past three seasons, the Eagles have had certain parameters in terms of height, weight, arm length, etc. at certain positions. With a new coaching staff in place, the Eagles aren't as limited when it comes to looking at prospects, but as Roseman explained, it all comes back to the scouting department and coaching staff being on the same page when it comes to finding the next class of Eagles players.
"We still take our cues from the coaching staff and what they're looking for offensively and defensively, even from special teams," Roseman said. "Again, that's just having communication with the coaches and going through the players and where the deal-breakers are at a certain position. The only way to do that is through the experience and talking about guys.
"I think (Schwartz)'s more open to different body types and for him, the most important things are explosiveness, athletic ability, tight coverage, ball skills, but at the same time, it's going to be important to every defensive coach to have guys who have height and length. That's going to be a preference for every defensive coach that you talk to."