Philadelphia Eagles

Howie Roseman's Secret Weapon in the NFL Draft

In Roob's Observations: Howie Roseman's secret weapon in the draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Trying to understand Howie’s plan, a crazy Bryce Brown stat, a Dallas Goedert prediction and the most anonymous Eagle in history.

That’s just a taste of what’s in store for you in this weekend’s Roob’s Random Eagles Offseason Observations! 

1. Part of me just assumes the plan has to be to get out of the first round in two weeks with a receiver and a cornerback. Because 1) the Eagles haven’t significantly addressed either position so far, 2) they can’t go into a season with playoff aspirations with Zach McPhearson as CB2 and Zach Pascal as WR3, 3) they’ve already addressed edge rusher with Haason Reddick,and 4) WR and CB are positions that are strong where the Eagles pick in the middle of the first round. But it’s not like Howie Roseman to go into a draft locked into drafting for need, and he’s right about that. It’s a dangerous way to go because that’s when you reach. So has he backed himself into a corner and forced himself to draft WR/CB at 15 and 18 since he hasn’t addressed those positions? And here’s what I decided: Roseman is confident he can land a potential Day 1 starter in the second round at whatever position he doesn’t draft in the first round, which gives him the flexibility to go in any direction with those first three picks instead of being locked into WR/CB with the first two. And – surprisingly - history says he may be right. Relatively speaking, Roseman has drafted much better in the second round than the first (I know, I know, low bar). Since he became GM in 2010, he’s drafted 12 players in the second round, and most of them were either starters or key contributors as rookies: Nate Allen, Mychal Kendricks, Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders and Landon Dickerson – and even Jalen Hurts in a way. The only ones who made little or no impact as rookies were Jaiquawn Jarrett, Vinny Curry, JJAW and Sidney Jones, and we knew Jones wasn’t going to play as a rookie because of his Achilles injury. Five of his 12 second-rounders started double-digit games as rookies. And five of his 10 1st-round picks have started double-digit games as rookies. He’s really swung and missed more in the first round (Fireman Danny, Marcus Smith, Derek Barnett, Andre Dillard, Jalen Reagor) than the second (Jarrett, JJAW). The Eagles have No. 51 in the second round, and there will be good 2nd-round value at corner, receiver and edge. The way it’s gone around here, the Eagles may have a better chance of nailing 51 than 15 or 18.

2. Jalen Hurts has had more seasons in his career with 26 combined rushing and passing touchdowns than Troy Aikman.

3. Nobody in NFL history has ever had more 150-yard rushing performance before their 22nd birthday than Bryce Brown. 

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4. In 2013, Nick Foles averaged 14.2 yards per completion. That’s highest in the NFL over the last 15 years.

5. Devon Allen is the 21st-fastest 110-meter hurdler in world history with his 12.99 at the Diamond League Final in Zagreb, Croatia, last September soon after placing fourth in the Olympics. Allen edged Olympic gold medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica and moved up to No. 12 in U.S. history over the 42-inch barriers. But if Allen makes the Eagles’ roster, he won’t be the fastest hurdler in NFL history. Renaldo “Skeets” Nehemiah, who went to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Central Jersey, set a then-world record of 12.93 in 1981 at the Weltklasse in Zurich, and more than 40 years later that remains No. 9 in world history and No. 7 on the all-time U.S. list. Even though Skeets didn’t play college football, he decided in 1982 to try out for the NFL, and among the teams that worked him out was the Eagles. He signed with the 49ers and over the next three years caught 43 passes for 754 yards and four TDs, all from Joe Montana. In 1984 he won a Super Bowl ring. Nehemiah returned to track in 1985 but never approached his pre-football times. 

6. I’ll be shocked if Dallas Goedert doesn’t go over 1,000 yards this year. And that’s not even going out on a limb. If you take his production in 11 games after the Zach Ertz trade and project it over 17 games you get 72 catches for 1,091 yards and a 15.1 average. How many tight ends have caught 70 passes with a 15.0 average in a season? Gronk.

7. Jalen Reagor had 43 offensive touches last year – 33 catches, 10 runs. He gained five or fewer yards on 17 of those plays (11 catches, six runs). He became only the 5th WR in NFL history to net 350 or fewer yards on at least 43 touches in a season. Only the second drafted in the first round.

8. Is Sam Bradford the single most anonymous quarterback in Eagles history? I literally can’t remember one thing he did here. And it was only seven years ago. It’s hilarious. He came, he played, he left, without making any impression on anyone. And he wasn’t horrible. He went 7-7 in 2015, and that’s actually the only time in his career he started more than two games and didn’t have a losing record. He went into Dallas and beat the Cowboys. He threw for 320 yards three weeks in a row. He tied a franchise record with five 300-yard games. And this is crazy, but I just looked this up, and Bradford actually completed a pass of at least 50 yards to five different players that year (78 to Jordan Matthews, 62 to Riley Cooper, 60 to Zach Ertz, 60 to Brent Celek and 53 to Nelson Agholor). He was the first Eagles QB to do that since Donovan McNabb hit 50-yarders to seven guys in 2006 (87 yards to Hank Baskett, 84 to Donte’ Stallworth, 60 to L.J. Smith, 60 to Matt Schobel, 55 to Correll Buckhalter, 52 to Brian Westbrook and 50 to Reggie Brown). And get this. Bradford is the only quarterback in Eagles history to start 10 games in a season and only play one year in Philly. And the only one to make $24 million for starting 14 games. But to me he’ll always be the guy between Mark Sanchez and Carson Wentz. The human footnote.

9. Donovan really did have nobody to throw to most of the time he was here. During Five’s 11 years in an Eagles uniform, the leading WR targets were Todd Pinkston [380], Reggie Brown [337], James Thrash [307] and Greg Lewis [243]. Holy Yikesville. After D-Jack [237] and T.O. [219], the next few were Kevin Curtis [213], Torrance Small [193], Charles Johnson [172] and Freddie Mitchell [171]. What a collection. He had Brian Westbrook for seven of those years, and he was a hell of a receiving back. But as far as outside receivers? Big Red did him no favors. Really is incredible what Donovan was able to achieve here with legitimate WRs only 3 ½ of his 11 seasons – T.O. in 2004 and half of 2005, DeSean in 2008 and 2009 and Maclin as well in 2009.

10. I’m just warning you: By the end of the draft, you’re going to be so sick of the phrase, “He loves ball.”

 

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