Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni
Q. I don’t think we have talked to you since you made the trade with New Orleans. Can you talk about what that does for you flexibility wise? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think we were kind of looking at this year, next year, and the amount of picks that we had in this year’s draft and trying to kind of balance it a little bit for a variety of factors. When you look at having first-round picks and the fifth-year option, having that many guys on the fifth-year option.
Also, kind of balancing just scouting all the players in this draft and next year’s draft and having more options and more flexibility at all positions. We were kind of getting a head start on looking at next year’s draft too and seeing that it’s strong as well as this year’s draft.
So, we thought it made sense. Obviously, from a New Orleans standpoint, we looked back – there hadn’t been really a team that had moved back that far for a first- round pick, so it made sense for them too. Hopefully, a win-win situation.
Q. How much specifically did the quarterback position and being able to have the flexibility there next year if you need it factor into the decision? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We’re excited about [QB] Jalen Hurts and we’re going to support Jalen and want him to have a great career in Philly. This was about flexibility for our team and about making sure that we had resources to improve our team for not only this year’s draft, but next year’s draft going forward. We thought it made a lot of sense.
Q. When you look at certain positions heading into the draft – defensive back, wide receiver, positions you didn’t really address too much in free agency – how important do those picks become heading into the draft? Is there more of a priority on those positions than maybe others? (Martin Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: You can’t really predict what other teams are going to do and you can’t be in a situation where you have to do something. Certainly, when you look at some of the mistakes that I’ve made personally, it’s because you try to force something.
So, you can only do what the board allows you to do. There’s obviously a lot of time between now and the time the first game starts for us to continue to address the needs of this team. We’ll go into the draft, and we’ll follow the board. We have had a lot of discussions – a lot of good discussions – about the players in this draft, and we just have to make sure we take the best players and not look at the draft as just a short-term fix.
Q. Giants Assistant General Manager Brandon Brown is now with the Giants. He was part of your draft process until February; now he’s with another team in the division. Is this a problem for you in preparing for this draft? He knows a lot about what you’re thinking and what your priorities have been up until February; how do you handle that? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think that that’s part of what happens when you lose good people. When you have good people around you, you try to embrace that and have them as part of every discussion that’s going on, whether it’s about your team and your roster or about free agency or about the draft.
But when you talk about February too, there is that part of the process that Coach and his staff haven’t totally dove into yet. The final boards aren’t set. You don’t have this kind of seesaw of where you have obviously the scouting and the tape, but you don’t also have all the information of the character and the intangibles and the testing.
So, to say that everything’s exactly the same as it was when he and [Bears Assistant General Manager] Ian [Cunningham] left; it’s not. Obviously, the coaches are a big part of our process and really the amount of work that coaches do in this is a huge part of complementing the scouts.
Just like we talk about that seesaw with the tape and the testing, we also talk about having the coaches balance it with how they see guys in their scheme.
We miss Brandon and we miss Ian. We’re also happy for them and their families for the opportunity. At the end of the day, whatever we have to do for this team we’ll continue to do.
Q. Can you talk specifically about positions of need, one in particular, safety? At least apparent to us. But that being said, typically you go into the draft at least having those needs covered. Are you comfortable with S Anthony Harris and S Marcus Epps being your guys right now going into that draft? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think we have other defensive backs there too. We drafted [S] K’Von Wallace. We have two guys – we brought [DB] Andre [Chachere] in here from Indy and we have [S] Jared Mayden here as well.
And that’s even before the draft, and obviously we have a long time until we play a game.
But we like those guys. That’s why we brought [S] Anthony [Harris] back. That’s why we signed him in the first place. That’s why we drafted K’Von. [S] Marcus [Epps] is a guy who played a lot of football for us last year. We’re excited about him too.
And so, I don’t know that necessarily we perceive it the same way maybe that you described.
Q. To backtrack to the loss of Ian and Brandon, you talked about how this off-season you have a better sense of the coaching staff and what they want in terms of players. Is it fair to say that with those guys gone, the coaching staff, their voice carries a little bit more weight this draft process than last year? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No, the coaching staff have always been our partners in this. I think for us that was the same when Brandon and Ian were here. That’s the same now. I think for coach and his staff, being part of the process and giving us their perspectives is huge.
At the end of the day, as much as we could like a player, if there’s not a scheme fit, if there’s not a role, if there’s not a vision, then it doesn’t matter because we’re not down on that field.
I think that the partnership that we have with our coaching staff is special. It’s been a really fun process. But the coaches also defer to the fact that these guys spend a lot of time and know these guys really well, and our scouting staff, our coaching staff, the amount of hours they put in together.
So again, I feel like it’s very balanced in terms of the inputs from both those sides.
Q. What side of the football do you, as the head coach, think the team needs to improve more in the draft? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, you’re always looking to make your team better, as good as you possibly can. And so, you’re looking at all accounts.
I don’t think it’s fair for me to say, ‘Oh, well, offense is more important than defense or defense is more important than offense.’ We’re just looking obviously to get our team better. How do you do that? You get that with good players.
Q. Do you have some thoughts on which side you think needs improvement? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, you think about the players that you need, the players that you want, the players – but one thing I can say is I don’t think that’s fair for me to say right now.
I think 31 other teams would want me to give that answer to you with them listening. But one thing that is very important is obviously the talent of the player, but then also the characteristics of the player.
Those are things that are there for you to find out in the scouting process. Do they have high football IQ? Do they have good character? Are they tough? Those are things that you really can see and find out. And then in addition, do they love football and are they competitive?
I think I’ve said this before, in my experience, guys that have those five traits, they maximize their potential. So, that’s what we want. We want to be able to get guys in here that can maximize potential both offensively, defensively and special teams wise.
Q. Given the experiences you’ve had with both OL Landon Dickerson and former Eagles CB Sidney Jones, what variables do you take into account with these draft process injuries? And specifically with, say, Michigan LB David Ojabo or Alabama WR Jameson Williams? How do you account for maybe not just the physical recovery, but whether it’s the confidence or the return to form after the injury? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think the more time you have between the injury and the draft, the more information you get. So, for us with [OL] Landon [Dickerson], the timing of that was a little different than the timing with [CB] Sidney [Jones], and it allowed you to see more of the progress of where it was based on the testing. Obviously, two different positions and two different injuries, and so you take that all into account when you’re looking at it.
Then the value has to be right. The value of the player and how we kind of feel the player fits for us. What kind of player we think that player was preinjury, how we base on our performance, on our medical staff who we have a lot of trust in and how they project that player to come back.
The draft’s guesswork as it is. You’re talking about taking guys, changing their environment, moving them from college to the NFL, putting money in their pocket, giving them more free time, changing schemes, and now you have another variable.
So, you have to balance that as well.
Q. When you talk about the uncertainty, the top of the draft – obviously you’re at 15 so you got to deal with 14 picks – it seems like this year’s a little bit more uncertain, when you look around the league. Do you see that with the board? Like last year, Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence was consensus pretty much number one. Do you see more uncertainty in this year? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We see maybe teams’ uncertainty about who particular teams are going to take. Less so necessarily who we think those players would be, if that makes sense.
Q. That’s what I was talking about. Those teams in front of you, do you have a better feel or a worse feel for, in a typical year, for what they think? Is it more difficult, is what I’m trying to say? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think that there’s consistency in terms of the players that we see going probably in the top 20. Now, a couple of those could change, but I don’t think it’s so drastically different, in terms of the players that are going to go in the top 20.
I think where it will start to change is after that. I think you’re going to see a lot of different boards. Some guys that are going between 21 and maybe 51, where we pick in the second round, and you’ll see a lot of variables that go into those picks.
Q. To follow-up on that, I’ve heard a lot of comparisons, seen a lot of comparisons from this draft to 2013. You seem very sure about how you see the draft playing out. You guys were able to navigate that draft, which turned in the long run not to be very strong, but that ended up being one of your better drafts. How do you feel about that in relation to this draft? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [Jokingly/laughter] Definitely a backhanded compliment. Appreciate that.
But, you know, I think that people think about the 2013 draft because of the quarterback position. If I remember correctly, Buffalo traded back in that draft and took [former Bills QB] EJ Manuel, and I think that people are talking about this like when will the quarterbacks go?
So, when anyone ever talks about drafts they start with the quarterbacks and feel like the quarterbacks are kind of the anchor of any draft. So, there’s some uncertainty about where the quarterbacks go in this draft. I think for us, we just go by our rankings and what we think is the right way to stack the board. We’ll be prepared to take our 15th player at 15 and our 18th player at 18.
Q. Curious to get your take on the boom in wide receiver contracts of late, and how that kind of shapes your opinion of the value of the drafting a wide receiver. (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think every year a position kind of becomes — I like that word, ‘the boom’. It’s like the new mining town, right? You have pass rushers, you have offensive linemen, and now you have wide receivers.
So, I think at the end of the day — and we talked about this a little bit when we were at the league meetings — it’s just you have to make a decision on what your priorities are on building the team, whether you’re going to kind of go with the flow or you’re going to kind of figure out what is the most important thing for your team and if there’s some value in being different and figuring out what now is kind of the next area.
I think we spent a lot of time, Coach and I talk about this all the time, if we’re going to be the same as everyone else, we’re probably going to finish in the middle of the pack. Sometimes you have to take risks and you have to stand out there and do something different than everyone else.
So that doesn’t mean that there aren’t right decisions to make at that position. But at the same time, if you’re doing the same thing that everyone else is doing, you’re probably a step late.
Q. You’ve been very active obviously on draft day with trades. Curious about the process. How much of that work happens before the draft? How much are you crafting those trades as things go on? How many different plans do you have? How many people are involved in all that and just what that process is like? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: In the first round we’ve always found that it’s helpful to have those trades mapped out beforehand. The way that goes isn’t like, ‘Hey, we’re definitely doing this.’
It’s if we’re moving up, hey, if there’s a player that we want that falls to that spot, here’s what we would do; are we good on the trade compensation, so that you pick up the phone and I say ‘Hey, the guy’s still there; you guys good?’ [They say] ‘Yeah’. Trade is done.
So, you’re not sitting there and going, we think it should be this and this and they think it should be this and this. It’s too hectic to do that in the first round. Now after the first round it’s probably too hard to map those out.
When you get into the second round, third round and beyond, those things do happen on the clock because they’re simpler. But when it gets into the first round, all those conversations will be had before the fact. Even our trade last year we kind of set parameters of what that was, and so when we picked up the phone and called Dallas we kind of knew what the trade was going to be and what the price was going to be and that we had discussed that.
I think that’s the easier way to go in the first round so you’re not in a situation where you guys are kind of scrambling, because there’s a lot to do when you’re in the first round. You move up. You take a pick. Now you’re on the clock. Now you kind of got to get situated. You got to call in the trade. You got to make sure your guy is there.
So that’s how we do it. My feeling is that’s how a lot of teams do it just based on the conversations we’ve had throughout the years, and I think it makes it flow easier.
Q. How many different scenarios would you say you have ready to go, ready to spring if it works out? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We have two picks. So, I think you’re planning every scenario about who you would move up for, who you would be really comfortable staying, how many players you would be comfortable staying, and what are the tiers that you would move back for, and what you would take.
Obviously, there’s price that doesn’t make sense to move back either. We’re not going to move back 10 picks for a fifth-round pick. So, I think at the end of the day you kind of go through all those and you have a really good sense of what you want to do. I think for us and New Orleans, that was one of the comforts of the trade.
We both knew what we were comfortable for. It didn’t really matter what the trade chart said. They were comfortable with the deal, and we were comfortable with the deal, and I think those are the best trades.
Q. Going back to the wide receivers, you guys used early picks on them in the last couple years. Are there lessons you can take away from those picks? You’ve talked about how hard they are to evaluate. Is there something you can take away from the last few years? (EJ Smith)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think you’re constantly evaluating the things that you do wrong, and you also want to learn from the things you did right and lessons that you have from that.
We discussed that a lot about the scenarios where we’ve done good things and how obviously this is a hard process. You’re going to mess things up, but what can you learn from those picks that didn’t work out?
I would say with [WR] Jalen [Reagor], obviously I know he gets a lot of attention in this city and I know he’s working his butt off, and when you look back — we were having this conversation this morning with our strength and conditioning staff — that was a hard year for some guys because you had COVID, you didn’t have an off-season program, and so sometimes the book isn’t necessarily written on all those guys.
Q. When you look at the linebackers this year, seems there’s not that many being talked about as much, maybe except for Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean. From a GM perspective, what do you feel like the value seems to be going down with those guys in that position? Do ever foresee it being cyclical and being up there? (Chris Franklin)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: There are different guys at that position, and when you talk about off-ball linebackers, their value in the passing game is important. There are different values in the passing game.
Obviously pressuring the quarterback, being able to blitz and create pressure is an important part of that too, but being able to match mirror routes, being able to make plays in the passing game I think is an important part of that too. Being instinctive.
So, you’re talking about really good players that you just mentioned, obviously, and I don’t know what the attention is going on in the media, but I know this is a good linebacking class and I think there will be a lot of good players that come out.
Q. Howie, the first rounds over your career as a GM, you’ve done better in pre-14 picks versus post-14. Clearly that’s going to happen more often than not, but have you done a study saying that you guys are in the norm versus the rest of the league in relation to those picks, or is there something that’s missing when you guys get past that pick number 14? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I hope we’re picking in the late 20s and early 30s as much as possible, but when you look at the history of the draft and you really look at it and you break it down into 1 through 10, 11 through 20, 21 through 32, the hit rate’s going to decrease naturally.
And why is that? Well, one, I don’t know that there’s any draft and I don’t know that you would find any team in the league who is going to say that I have 32 first round grades on guys. I have 32 blue players. I have 32 potential Pro-Bowlers. That’s never going to happen.
So, every draft there is a cut off on difference makers, and so that doesn’t mean you’re going to be right on the difference makers. Think about all the top 10 picks that haven’t worked either.
But usually, those guys who have such unique skill sets, such unique tools in their body, they have a different chance to hit than other guys.
So, I think that the higher you pick, the better chance you have of obviously getting a player who has the full complement of skill sets: good production, good tools in their body, good character. Those guys go really quick on draft day.
And as you go through the draft, whether in the first round, second round, third round, fourth round, fifth round, it gets harder just naturally because the amount of players — the funnel gets smaller.
I also think — and I had this conversation with probably maybe one of the greatest GM’s in NFL history on a beach a long time ago, and it was like, 10 years ago my draft board and your draft board were going to be different, right?
We had scouts go to these small school places. Not everyone knew everything. I don’t even know if it’s 10 years ago at this point. 15 years ago, maybe. And so, the top 100 players on my board, you may have 75 of those guys. But now we’re basically in the information age where everyone really knows who the players are, who the top 100 players are going to be.
That doesn’t mean we have them in the same order, but there are not as many surprises. There are not as many, ‘Wow, like I don’t know where that guy came from.’ We were talking in our draft meetings, I know in 2007-2008 I remember watching guys — is it a disk that you put in the computer to watch guys and use your computer to kind of go through it?
You were going through those guys, and shoot, we drafted a guy. Andy Studebaker, I mean, you go talk to [former Eagles Director of Player Personnel] Ryan Grigson. Ryan Grigson brought us a DVD of Andy Studebaker. That was the first look at him before we gave it to Doc [former Eagles Video Director Mike Dougherty] and put it in the system. Well, that isn’t happening anymore, right? Everyone’s going to know that guy.
So, I think the process has changed. What’s my point in all this? Maybe not much, but I think that at the end of the day, what we’re saying is everyone’s getting all this information, right? So, it’s not where all of a sudden — I promise you one thing: whoever we take in the third round, you’re going to know, right?
You may not have a couple of years ago. [Former Eagles LB] Chris Gocong maybe you looked for and go, ‘Man, I have to find Cal-Poly stuff.’
All this information is at your fingertips, and it just makes everything narrower and your margin for error narrower.
Q. What’s your personal approach to scouting? How familiar do you get with all the prospects? And how hands-on are you in the meetings? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: I like to watch as many guys as I possibly can. Knowing that my expertise is more on the offensive side, that doesn’t mean I’m not watching the defensive side, but my expertise is more on that side, especially with the skill players, with the quarterbacks, with the receivers, with the tight ends, and with the running backings.
But I feel like I’m able to give some good perspective on the defensive players as well in the sense of what it’s like for an offensive coach to game plan against. That’s kind of how, to go about the defensive players. Like what is it going to be like for an offensive coach to game plan against this defensive coach?
So, I want to try to get my eyes on as many guys as possible knowing where my expertise is. As far as knowing the player, I think that’s really important. Obviously, I can’t physically talk to every single player in the draft, but I want to be involved in as many of the Zooms as I possibly can be, as many of the Top 30 visits when they come in here, the combine interviews, the Senior Bowl interviews, because I want to know the person as well and how that fits in for us.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: He has a passion for it, Zach. He loves watching football. He loves talking about it. He has a passion for it. He did remind me today that the off-season program starts on Monday [laughing].
Q. Eagles Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie mentioned at the owner’s meetings the importance of psychological testing as part of this evaluation. Can you take us into that process as much as you can, kind of what you’re looking for? And then Nick, having been at a couple different previous stops, maybe something that’s different about what you see here with that component? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We try to dig deep into the background and the character, and really the first credit to that goes to our scouts, all of the guys that are on the road all year. They do a tremendous job of being experts in their school and in their players.
They’re the ones who really alert us to some guys that we may need to spend extra time with. Then all you guys know [Eagles vice president of team security/chief security officer] Dom [DiSandro], and there’s nobody better in the National Football League than Dom DiSandro about getting to the bottom of guys and figuring out guys and talking to guys and understanding who are risks and who are fits for this team.
He knows our team backwards and forwards. He knows the players that fit for our culture, for our team, and our city. So very fortunate to have those two pieces.
Then we have experts who do talk to the guys that we have some questions on and try to get to the bottom of it. Coach and I can think we’re good at interviewing players, but at the end of the day, we didn’t go to school for it. We don’t have that area of expertise.
So, we try to do that and really put up just like we do a player evaluation, we try to do a character evaluation on all these guys. Now, some of them are easy, right? Some of them are really easy. It’s not too hard to figure out a three-time captain in the SEC. [WR] DeVonta [Smith] didn’t take long to figure out. [OL] Landon [Dickerson] didn’t take long to figure out.
But some of these guys, they’re complicated. So, we spend a lot of time talking about them and getting as much background and talking to as many experts as we can to try to figure out the person as much as the player.
Q. Nick, just last year at this time obviously you’re the head coach for the first time, getting your feet on the ground; has there been an evolution for you and your staff for this process? Is it a little bit easier the second time around? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Of course because you’re not going through the process for the first time together. I think one thing I know that coaches in my past have prepared me for is to be able to clearly define what you see and how you’re going to use a player.
I think that’s just the thing that’s made it easier, is you guys already know how we’re going to use guys. That doesn’t mean you don’t continue to have those conversations, or they don’t evolve, or they don’t change a little bit here and there, because you’re constantly changing your process. You’re constantly tweaking it to make it better.
So those conversations happen. But mostly the conversations of, ‘Hey, this is how we would use a player with this skill set. Here’s what we would do, how we would use them. Here’s a player in the past’ — we’ve had those, and so we’re just continuing to build on that from last year.
Q. Why the late start for the off-season program, and why fewer practices than allowed? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Everything that we do is going to be thought out with the players’ health and safety in mind first.
That was one thing we felt like we did a good job last year of staying healthy for different reasons and different thoughts and everybody’s voices going into it. I have to make the final decision, but we really felt like we benefited from some of those things that we did last year of the time length, of the things that we did.
We felt like we were able to get what we needed to get done in those weeks that we had last year, and so we wanted to be able to — we know we were going to be in person more this time and we’re going to see them face-to-face more this time, but we just wanted to do what we felt was comfortable for the players’ safety and health, while also getting what we needed to get done.
We feel like that’s where we are. We’re comfortable with that’s where we are, with the amount of time that we’re spending in this off-season.
Q. Howie do you have an opinion on the offseason program and how it relates to player health and the things that you guys have done? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Coach talked to me about it, and I think what he’s saying makes a ton of sense, so excited to get the players back on Monday.