The NFL combine takes place next week and while drills may not start until Thursday, there’s a lot to look forward to. For the Philadelphia Eagles, the work starts on Monday. Here’s a checklist of objectives the team needs to accomplish down in Indianapolis.
Before the drills get underway, Howie Roseman will meet with the media. This will be the first time we’ve heard from Howie since that heartbreaking playoff loss to Seattle.
The big thing here is transparency. Over the last few weeks, a lot has changed. The Eagles decided to part ways with Nigel Bradham and there’s an increasing chance that the will seek to do the same with Alshon Jeffery.
This will be the perfect time for Roseman to clear air that has become polluted with hearsay, rumor, and confusion. We saw it in the 2019 season and with accountability being such a foundation of this organization, it will be refreshing to hear Roseman outline his aims for the offseason ahead, including what it means for players like Alshon Jeffery, Malcolm Jenkins, and key free agents.
We’re coming off a presser where Doug Pederson stated both Mike Groh and Carson Walch would be back with the team before they were fired two days later. That kind of breakdown in communication cannot be repeated.
Stopwatches at the ready
The need for speed is real, that much is clear. There are some rapid receivers in this class and we all know how much the Eagles are going to be paying attention to that all-important 40-yard dash. In fact, they may as well sponsor the drill.
It’s not just wideout where speed could benefit the team. Developmental corners and safeties, a potential RB2 behind Miles Sanders if Jordan Howard hits free agency, and even linebackers who can go sideline-to-sideline in the blink of an eye, are all on the Eagles shopping list this offseason.
Pay very close attention to the 40-yard dash.
A focus on day 2
The Eagles made a real effort to accumulate picks on the second day of the NFL Draft. With 2-3 compensatory picks projected for the team, the Birds went out of their way to make moves with the word ‘compensatory’ being the sole motive.
This was echoed in the season-closing press conference where Roseman stated the following:
“There are a lot of guys who are going to be drafted later than we pick that are going to end up being good players. We’re trying to not have many of them, but I think the big thing for us is, because we haven’t had a large number of picks, we have to hit on more of them, and volume is important to us going forward”
A lot can change at the NFL Combine. Stocks can rise just as quickly as they can fall. But expect the Eagles to be keeping a firm eye on movement on prospects projected to be taken on the second day of the NFL Draft.
Slide into those DMs
More than anything, the Combine is a chance for NFL personnel to meet and hold discussions. Catching up with old friends is always nice, especially when those old friends have some very tasty assets that you may have a desire to snatch from them. Putting feelers out, shopping players, and gauging the market is crucial here and I’d expect to see a few reports surface surrounding the Eagles. Whether it’s inquiring about a potential trade or simply just letting some information fly in order see where it lands, this is a tactical minefield that Roseman always navigates gracefully.
The Eagles have placed a real focus on character over the last few years, but even more so in the second half of 2019. With questionable effort, struggles in development, anonymous sources, and Orlando Scandrick all plaguing the Eagles last year, the team made it a priority to ensure that a player’s persona is just as important as their on-field production.
Brent Celek and Connor Barwin were brought into the front office staff with the aim of helping young players adapt to the NFL, the team, and the city. Let’s not forget the flurry of coaching changes, either.
Bringing in former players of such high prestige to mentor players only shows an intent to draft the right kind of talent. Finding such talent all starts at the combine, where interviews will play a significant role in determining whether or not a player is the right fit.
The Eagles combine interviews have to be more diligent than ever and it wouldn’t surprise me if they made some subtle tweaks after the last couple of years, maybe even deciding to bring names like Barwin and Celek into the process.
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