PHILADELPHIA — Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas weren’t very forthcoming about their draft plans Thursday.
As expected, they declined to divulge their plans for next week’s NFL draft, which will be held at the Philadelphia Art Museum on April 27-29.
“We want to do whatever it takes to bring a winning program to this city,” Roseman said during his annual predraft press conference at the NovaCare Complex. “We want to build a team that everyone’s proud of.”
What that entails as far as the draft is concerned is unclear.
The Eagles have eight total picks in the seven-round draft, including the No. 14 overall selection in the first round.
Mock drafts have linked several players to the Eagles at that 14th spot — Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey are among the half dozen candidates — but both Roseman and Douglas, who set up this year’s Eagles’ draft board, provided no hints as to which way they are leaning.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who’s right (when it comes time for the Eagles to make a pick),” Douglas said. “We just have to make sure we’re right.”
There is no guarantee the Eagles will stay at No. 14.
Depending on how they rank the top players, they would consider moving up a few spots if someone they covet is still available. Or if several of their top 15 prospects are still there at No. 14, they could also move down.
“It’s pretty clear-cut when you have a draft board,” Roseman said. “When you’re picking 14th, you have a list of guys that you have graded as worth going at 14. If you have a bunch of guys that are available when you pick, you entertain trade-down offers. If you don’t have many guys, you see if there’s an opportunity to move up.”
The Eagles will not be making the same kind of bold maneuver in the first round as last year, however. Prior to the draft, they moved from 13th to eighth, then vaulted all the way to No. 2 to draft quarterback Carson Wentz.
Although the Eagles will not be drafting a quarterback this year, that position could impact their first-round plans. If a couple of prospects such as North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky or Clemson’s DeShaun Watson go early, that could mean more talented players at other positions like cornerback, defensive end, running back and wide receiver will be available.
“The quarterbacks in this year’s draft are talented guys,” Roseman said. “But it’s hard to get a sense on how many will come off the board before us.”
McCaffrey has emerged as a popular choice among Eagles fans.
Both Roseman and Douglas appeared to be very high on him because of his versatility. Neither was bothered by McCaffrey’s decision not to participate in private workouts for teams.
“That’s a decision that was made by him and his agent (Joel Segal),” Douglas said. “I don’t see that as a negative.”
They also admitted to being impressed with controversial running back Joe Mixon’s onfield ability, but his potential is clouded by serious character issues related to a video that surfaced in December showing him punch a woman in the face.
The Eagles reportedly worked him out last month after attending his Pro Day workout at Oklahoma and have been doing detailed research into his background.
“If you take character out of the equation, teams view Mixon as a top talent,” Douglas said. “But most teams aren’t doing that.”