The NFL Draft is just over 24 hours away and the City of Philadelphia is on edge. Howie Roseman has 10 selections to find the next generation of Philadelphia Eagles players, but history suggests that this weekend may be a rollercoaster. Regardless of the way it all pans out, there are five things that the esteemed GM has to accomplish.
Draft at one first top-10 worthy player
The Eagles originally had three first-round picks going into this weekend, but a trade with the New Orleans Saints essentially switched out one of those picks for an extra selection in 2023. With two picks remaining, the consensus is that Roseman would be more than happy to move in either direction from his perches at 15 and 18.
There’s nothing wrong with either decision so long as Howie secures a top-10 talent. It’s almost certain that one top-10 level player is going to slip into reaching distance. Maybe it’s Kyle Hamiton, maybe it’s Jameson Williams, perhaps it’s Jordan Davis.
As long as Roseman is able to secure the services of one of the top talents in the Draft, then what he does with that other pick won’t matter too much. It may be used as collateral in a trade-up, or it could be used to move back after surprisingly landing one of the aforementioned players. But the first-round mission has to be finding the best player available.
Continue to build in the right direction
Last year felt like the amalgamation of a few years of building. Howie Roseman built a new prototype for the kind of player he wants on his team. Freak athletes who are highly intelligent and strong leaders, but are perhaps fundamentally raw and lack collegiate production.
The Eagles need to double down on this new formula. With an entire class of prospects gradually grinding up the depth chart, it’s imperative that Howie keeps the train moving. Keeping contracts cheap while bringing players with lower floors and higher upsides frees up funds to bring in free agents like Hasson Reddick and potentially Tyrann Mathieu who can hold the fort while the coaching staff works its magic.
Howie has, for better or worse, gone all-in on speedy players who lack experience/production but have all the mental traits needed to turn their fundamental athleticism into footballing success. That has to be the same motive in 2022 if that thought process is to yield results.
Avoid taking unnecesary risks
In that same breath, it’s very easy to stray from the path and make an unconventional pick. It’s important that Roseman doesn’t outsmart himself. We’ve all seen the picks of Jalen Reagor, JJAW, Andre Dillard, and several others. Don’t get cute, just select the player that’s at the top of the board by the time you’re on the clock.
Find cornerstones at key positions
How many players currently on this roster will be around in 3 years time? The answer is probably about 10. The Eagles have very few cornerstones and the first round especially allows them to find players on five-year deals who can step into those shoes.
Every team needs franchise players. The Eagles arguably have 3 right now (if we’re looking at guys the team can bank on for the next five years, Mailata, Smith, Dickerson (?), Sweat (?) ). It doesn’t matter where they play so long as they improve the team and can grow into those franchise-sized cleats.
Ensure there’s a long-term plan at spots that aren’t prioritized
Even with 10 picks, it’s going to be hard for the Eagles to tick every single box that fans want. We can all create dreamy mock drafts but the reality will always be different because of how NFL GM’s value players.
It’s going to be pretty hard for Howie to mess this up because there are so many needs on the roster. The biggest thing he needs to accomplish is a foundation at each position. If they can’t draft a corner in the first two rounds, is there a long-term plan to develop a CB1 behind Slay? If they don’t draft a Safety early, is there going to be a developmental option? If they miss at defensive tackle, is there a contingency plan? Jalen Reagor needs his own question altogether, but the point stands.
As long as there is a clear trajectory at each position, the Eagles will be just fine.
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