This is one of the lasting images of last season as second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett was beat by Larry Fitzgerald.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman talked with reporters on Thursday, and reiterated his pledge that the Eagles will draft the best player available, rather than the best player at a position of need. Here’s what Roseman said a month ago on the same topic, as reported by Paul Domowitch:
“At some point, you get entrenched into what your team needs,” he said. “And because we’re so determined to win a championship as quickly as possible, we wanted to address those [needs] as quickly as possible.
“When you look back at the moves, particularly in the draft, that we’ve made successfully, it was situations where we took the best players [rather than the best player at the position of greatest need]. It’s something I believe in.”
I think it’s great that Roseman can look at his track record without sugarcoating it and is open and honest about changes that need to be made. The Danny Watkins/Jaiquawn Jarrett 1-2 combination is not one the Eagles front office will be looking to replicate.
But other than not reaching for the one-eyed prospects among blind ones (Mark Barron?), I’m not sure how much we can really read into Roseman’s comments, especially in the first round. In later rounds, teams should never reach for anybody, since no late-round draft pick is likely to contribute right away -- or ever, realistically.
In the first round, though, it’s not enough to hide behind “best player available.” Best player available isn’t a suitable rationale for selecting a running back, for example, or in my opinion, a quarterback. Offense in general just isn’t a good value proposition for the Eagles this year, especially compared to the long-term holes on defense. The first-round pick needs to be on defense, and there multiple good options should be available either at pick 15 or within striking distance of it.
Still, it will be interesting to see if we can detect any substantial shift in the Eagles drafting philosophy this year, given Roseman’s continued assertions that the same mistakes won’t be made.