For over a year and a half, Howie Roseman has been public enemy #1 in the eyes of fans, including this reporter. The inconsistent decisions, rolling the dice on random QB’s, and numerous weeks of anonymous sources marred the Eagles franchise with the appearance of instability and unprofessionalism.
Oh how things have changed in two months.
After starting 2-5 against some of the best teams the NFL has to offer, the Eagles have rattled off win after win. Now they are heading to the postseason, solidifying one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history.
There’s a lot of people to give credit to. Nick Sirianni brought “Big Nick Energy” to Philadelphia (we need to trademark this) with his excellent second half adjustments and commitment to the run. Jalen Hurts, in his first full year as the starter, looks more and more like Donovan McNabb (a franchise QB) by the Week. Of course, the running game has been the catalyst with the dominant OL, and much improved defense.
Howie Roseman (and Jeffrey Lurie) deserve their credit as well. This turnaround doesn’t happen without an excellent draft (gasp) and smart/savy free agent signings.
It’s not just one move Howie made. There was multiple throughout the year that has given the team a playoff berth.
Draft Day – Trusting the Strengths
One thing Roseman and the Eagles front office did well in the offseason is remaining flexible, even though they didn’t have a lot of cap space.
We get angry over how the Eagles are analytics heavy and that usually means ignoring key position groups in free agency & the draft, but Roseman remained consistent with his gameplan on how to build winners: build through the trenches.
Many Eagles fans were upset when the Eagles drafted Landon Dickerson, and were irate when Milton Williams was the pick in the third round. Both picks have solidified the team’s consistent strengths in the OL & DL and have looked like studs throughout the later parts of the season.
Williams hasn’t had as much action as Dickerson, but he’s been a high motor player that made a couple of key plays against Washington yesterday.
Dickerson has been a stud all year and pairing him with Jordan Mailata has been a perfect match and likely will be for the next ten years.
Throw in DeVonta Smith who has been a revelation at WR, Tarron Jackson showing promise at DE and Kenneth Gainwell being a change of pace back when needed, and the 2021 draft has looked like an absolute hit for Howie Roseman & the Eagles.
The Eagles stuck to what made them great in 2017 for the 2021 draft and it has paid off already in year one.
The Free Agent Signings
Roseman hasn’t been completely perfect this year. Eric Wilson was a dud of a free agent signing.
Ryan Kerrigan has been the equivalent of a traffic cone. I think he made a tackle yesterday but who really knows. That might’ve been another guy.
But the free agent signings of Steven Nelson and Anthony Harris have helped a secondary that has been a lot better than people give them credit for in 2021. Both players offered stability at the #2 corner spot and safety spot that the Eagles were desperately looking for. Both have worked out.
Then you can technically add in Jordan Howard. Who, while sitting on the practice squad for the first couple of months, has helped make the Eagles go from a middling bad team, to one NOONE wants to face in the playoffs.
Pretty solid free agent haul!
Ha… the Eagles obsession with the backup QB is fun, but that’s not the trade we’re obviously talking about.
First, there’s the trade of Carson Wentz. I will gladly say I originally thought Wentz should not have been traded, and his demise was more about what Roseman and the franchise failed to do around him.
BUT, trading Wentz to the Colts has been a fantastic deal for the Eagles. The Eagles have clinched a playoff spot before the Colts, and have the same record as Indy.
Think about that…the team that the Eagles gave a potential franchise QB to for a first round pick has the same record as the team that traded him. The Eagles clearly are the early winners of this trade.
Then there’s the trade in the draft. The Eagles, after tanking in the last game of the year (cue Giants fans crying) had the sixth overall pick. Roseman traded back in the draft to the Dolphins for a first round pick in 2022.
The Eagles landed DeVonta Smith – the true #1 wideout the team has been looking for in the last four years, the Dolphins got Jaylen Waddle. The Dolphins have already been eliminated. The Eagles have their first round pick.
Win. Win. Win.
Roseman fleecing the Colts and Dolphins has set this franchise up for success. Three first round picks in a draft where the team has made the playoffs in one of the best success stories the franchise has seen.
Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts deserve credit for all the improvement they’ve shown this year, but Howie Roseman and the Eagles front office deserve credit for building a potential winner, while STILL having the assets to make a dominant team for the future.
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire