PHILADELPHIA — Talent and potential are not the only factors the Eagles will weigh before making their picks in next week’s NFL draft.
Character and personality also count.
“Environment is a big factor with our football team,” Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. “The players have to be the right fit for us. There are players in this draft who may not fit here and could go on to have success somewhere else. We have to find the right players for the Philadelphia Eagles.”
As usual, Roseman and Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas revealed very little about the team’s draft plans.
They have seven picks, including three of the first 57. Defensive line, offensive line and safety would appear to be their biggest needs, but Roseman and Douglas were adamant they will not reach for a player just to fill a perceived hole.
“Every year we go into (the draft) telling ourselves, ‘Let’s not be biased toward a certain position.’ When you do that is when you make mistakes.”
The draft is considered especially deep in defensive linemen, which is considered a need for the Eagles even after they made a series of moves during free agency. They added defensive tackle Malik Jackson and former Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry to replace Tim Jernigan and Michael Bennett, respectively.
They also addressed a need at safety by signing veteran Andrew Sandejo.
“Right now, we think we have a pretty good football team,” Roseman said. “We have a lot of people with a lot of experience. We want to get a difference-maker in the first round, but there isn’t anything we need to do or we have to do.”
The first round is stocked with talented prospects, especially on defense.
Barring a drastic move, the Eagles won’t have a shot at top-ranked edge rushers such as Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat or Florida State’s Brian Burns, all of whom could go in the top 10.
But they could be in position to move up to grab Clemson’s Clelin Farrell or Michigan’s Rashan Gary, a former standout at Paramus Catholic High School. There’s also a chance defensive tackle Ed Oliver of Houston or Clemson’s Christian Wilkins could slide.
“This is a good class as far as defensive linemen,” Douglas said. “There are some dynamic players there. It’s a deep class.”
Some mock drafts have them taking Maryland safety Darnell Savage in the first round, while others have them grabbing Delaware’s Nasir Adderly at that position.
On offense, running back has been mentioned as a weak spot, though both Roseman and Douglas seemed satisfied with the depth there after trading for Chicago’s Jordan Howard last month. Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and perhaps Darren Sproles will be back.
Two local running backs, Millville’s Ryquell Armstead (Temple) and Wildwood’s Wesley Hills (Slippery Rock) are expected to get drafted anywhere from the third to seventh rounds.
According to Philly.com, Armstead met with the Eagles on Monday. Hills said he chatted with them at the Senior Bowl.
“I talked to them a lot during the all-star games,” Hills said in a phone interview last week. “But I haven’t met with them since then. At the end of the day, I’m just waiting for an opportunity to play in the NFL.”