Howie Roseman & Andy Weidl
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I hope everyone and their families are doing well. Thank you for taking the time today. Before we start, I just want to talk a little bit about the fact that we lost three legends this past week – Eagles legends – and our thoughts are with their families: Tom Dempsey, Timmy Brown and Pete Retzlaff. I know that everyone here is trying to stay calm and stay focused. I think it’s important, also, that we recognize those people, and obviously the Eagles family is thinking of them and their families.
I want to thank all the individuals and people in the organization who are doing so many great things in our community right now. Really, for us, it’s inspirational. It starts with our owner, [Eagles Chairman and CEO] Jeffrey Lurie, the stuff that he’s doing, the donation that he made [$1 million contribution to Penn Medicine to establish the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund]. Around the league, it’s really incredible. I think in the next week we are going to use this opportunity and this platform of the draft to do some things that contribute to that and recognize the people that are doing things and are working at this time when all of us are fortunate to be able to be in draft prep. Just wanted to make sure that we recognize those people and next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, is a great opportunity for us to do that.
Really appreciative of the staff that we have with the Eagles – our coaches, obviously our scouts and everyone in the front office, the IT people. They have been unbelievable, really. Just to see these people come together, it’s amazing when you get in a moment like this to see how everyone reacts. Just wanted to thank them for their help.
With how unique this draft is, when next Thursday night happens, how will it specifically work – the lines of communication – and how many times are you going to run through it over the next week to make sure you have it right? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Microsoft Teams has been a godsend for us. It’s been really incredible the amount of communication that we’ve had over it, how it’s functioning and how it’s working. We’ll have different rooms – big groups, small groups; trainers; coaches; obviously, [Eagles Chairman and CEO] Jeffrey [Lurie], [Eagles Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson.
As we get kind of closer to it, we’ll have the same people doing a lot of the same things that they have done. [Eagles Senior Director of College Scouting] Anthony Patch, really, for the last 20 years has been the guy on the phone telling us about the picks in front of us and then helping us figure out how much time left. He’ll be doing that. The person who makes the trade calls will still be doing that with the league. We’re going to try to keep it as normal as possible on the communication level as good as we can.
How many times are you guys going to run through mock draft scenarios before the day? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We’ll have a lot of opportunity to do that, and then I think it’s been publicly reported that the league will have a mock draft on Monday to run through it, as well. So, we’ll have fun making some mock trades.
I know the major focus of most people is on the first and second rounds of this draft, but you guys have four of your eight picks in a 43-pick span there right now between 103 and 146 in the third and fourth rounds. How have you approached that strategically? Is it a good place to have multiple picks this year, and at what positions? (Paul Domowitch)
ANDY WEIDL: We have eight picks and those eight picks are eight opportunities we look at. We are excited. Third round, fourth round, second round, fifth round – we feel there’s players on every level of this draft, and we’ve stacked the board as such. We are excited for each pick and each opportunity that we are going to have.
Given the uncertainty regarding next year’s football season and draft class, how will you weigh next year’s draft picks and potential trades, and potential deals down the road? (Mike Kaye)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s no different than in any draft. We’ve always valued the present and the future. That’s our responsibility to make sure that we are competing not only this year, but going forward, especially [when] we talk about having a quarterback [Carson Wentz] who is 27 years old.
I think it all depends on the opportunity, it all depends on the value. You saw it a couple years ago when we were picking 32 and were able to drop down can get a future second-round pick. We’ll weigh all those opportunities as they come towards us.
When you spoke to us at the Combine, you were reluctant then to really talk about the depth of the wide receiver class before you had all the information. Now that you have that, how would you characterize this class and how deep into the class do you think it goes where you can find quality receivers? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, you know, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Is that how the saying goes? We’ve been in this situation a couple times with strong classes and I think it’s come back to bite me to talk about it.
I would just say what we are doing is we are trying to stack the board based on the quality of the player. Obviously, there’s some positions that have more depth than others. I know a lot of other people have had the opportunity to talk about that specific position in that class, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and say just because there’s a perceived position of strength that that’s where we’re going to choose from.
The wide receiver position, why is it so difficult to evaluate? I’ve seen statistics that it’s right up there with quarterback in terms of first-round misses, guys that don’t work out. What goes into that, and, looking back on guys – wide receivers who didn’t become everything you’d hoped – what can you see there? Is there a common thread? Is there something that you’ve learned about that over the years? (Les Bowen)
ANDY WEIDL: Time will tell with this draft class, as with each class. But it’s an exciting class. There’s different flavors, obviously, different types of receivers and there’s plenty of them in this draft, and at every level we feel. We’re excited. Our scouts have done a great job getting to know these players, stacking the board. We had an excellent round of meetings last week with our coaches and everybody had a chance to voice their opinion. We’re excited about the strength, the depth and the level of players that are in this draft at the receiver position.
As a scout, what have you found hard about that, about that position? (Les Bowen)
ANDY WEIDL: It’s case-by-case. I think it’s getting to know the players, and I think it’s just watching the guys, what you see, the vision of the player. There’s a lot of things that come into play when you’re evaluating receivers, as in any position in this business.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think, also, when we talk about the receiver position, what was going on five, 10 years ago and where these guys were raised and how they were groomed at the high school level, and the advent seven-on-seven camps, now these guys have so much more experience in the passing game. I don’t know what was going on in 2010 is the same for evaluating the position now.
But obviously coverages are different in the National Football League, the quality of the corner player is different and you have these college coaches who are able to scheme up opportunities and moving guys around, because in college football there’s obviously not the same level of play in the secondary that you have in the National Football League.
I think sometimes that’s been the part of the evaluation in the past that you don’t take for granted. In terms of us and what we have done, we’ve got to look at that. We’ve got to look at the guys we have brought in and the reasons that they were brought in, and the guys who had success, who haven’t.
We talked about it at some point this offseason about the fact that it was surprising to us, just going back and how much we value production, about the success that some of the guys had last year coming into the NFL and being productive right away. We’ve got to look at that stuff and we have got to learn from it and make sure we do whatever we can to add talent to our team.
You guys obviously made the trade for CB Darius Slay and you gave up two of your 10 draft picks. Does that make you more or less reluctant to make another deal, especially in the first round if you feel there is someone you really want to have to move up for? (Martin Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think that when we look at that trade, we valued that trade based on the other option to us that was there in free agency, how many we were going to have to spend the first three years of that deal, and then what we can get with the money that we kind of saved, and was that worth the value of the draft picks.
I think when we are moving up in any round – first round, second round, third round, fourth round – I think we just look at the value of the player, where the board drops off. If we see a big gap and there’s a big drop off, then we’ll look at that. If we feel like there’s a group of guys that we really like that we can choose from, then we’ll probably stay put or move back.
I remember in 2010 when we traded up for [DE] Brandon Graham and then we moved back in the second round and got some of those picks back. There’s ways to do that, there’s different ways to go through this draft process, and we’ll be ready for all those opportunities.
In the past, you’ve said that wide receivers take more time to acclimate to the pro level than some other positions, it may take a year or two before they should be expected to become starting-level players. With the success that some rookie receivers have had around the league over the last few years, has that philosophy changed in any way, and do you feel that there are receivers in this upcoming draft who can be immediate, key contributors? (Jimmy Kempski)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, the first part of that, I’d probably go back to my answer to Les and talk about how the wide receiver has been groomed and how it kind of played out in high school and college football. High school offenses are changing and so these guys are coming more prepared to college and then college offenses have changed in the advent of how popular the passing game is and spread formations and getting on the field earlier and getting more experience and coming to the NFL more prepared. I think it has changed in terms of guys who are ready to come in.
ANDY WEIDL: Just to piggyback on that, it’s become a space game and it’s become a game of matchups and spreading people out, receivers that can win on all three levels early, top of the route and guys that can stretch the field. It’s become a one-on-one league and a space game and guys that can win and guys that can go above the rim and play the football. It’s really evolved into that, I believe.
You talked a lot about how 2015 shaped you and everything you’ve learned that year. I was just wondering how that experience kind of manifested itself in draft day with you. You talked about your communication and everything and collaborative and working … I was just wondering how that all translates to what happens in the draft room as far as the way you go about your business on draft day. (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think that when I look back at my time as a GM in Philly, there are also different regimes. Obviously started out with [former Eagles Head Coach and current Kansas City Chiefs Head] Coach [Andy] Reid and [former Eagles President] Joe [Banner] and that staff and then [former Eagles Head] Coach [Chip] Kelly and how that worked, so it’s always been kind of a different environment and atmosphere and then coming back with [Eagles Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson and the staff that we have now.
I think that it’s kind of reliant on having a lot of good people and hearing everyone’s voice, and trying to be collaborative but at the same time also making sure that we are doing what’s right for the team and having the kind of vision, a big-picture vision, because – you’ve heard this a lot from us – but we are not just trying to collect talent, we’re trying to build a team and we’re trying to figure out with the resources we have what makes the most sense; what we can get in free agency; what we can get in a trade; what we can possibly get in the draft, where it’s strong and weak. That was a great year to take a step back and look at some of the things. One of the things that I thought was important was regrets, regrets of maybe trying to win the draft as opposed to getting the best players for the Philadelphia Eagles.
For us, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not the next day and the draft grades we are getting. It’s about adding the right players, the right fits for the Philadelphia Eagles for the short term, and most importantly, the long term.
We’ve asked you before about Carson Wentz’s involvement with draft prospects. He knows players and has worked out with them before and we’ve seen that play out with certain players, but this is the first draft that you guys have had since he signed that contract extension and we’ve heard so much about you guys wanting to bring in guys that he can grow with. Is his voice any louder? Obviously, it’s a little harder because you’re not seeing him all the time, but what kind of input will he have into this year’s draft? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, you know, Carson I know has got his hands full. He’s expecting a baby any day now. For us, we want to communicate with all our players. Obviously, Carson is a huge part of it, and being able to sit down with him after the season and talk about our vision and just kind of keep in touch and make sure that he’s okay and his family’s okay is the priority.
In the past, he has had the opportunity to work out with some guys, but obviously with social distancing and everything going on, it’s not the same way. Any time we can get valuable information from any of our players about guys they know, guys they’re a part of, it’s important for us to listen to that because a lot of it, it’s dating before you marry, so you don’t really know anyone until they’re really in your building unless you’ve already had that experience with them.
You’ve talked in the past about how you see the first round in terms of how many guys you have first-round grades on and how it breaks down in tiers. How do you see this class in that respect? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, there’s certainly a drop off in every draft. It’s very unusual to sit there and say you have 32 first-round grades on guys. It’s just not realistic. For us, it is the opportunity to get a young difference-maker hopefully, and so we have a drop-off on guys on the board where we think the talent level drops off. We are optimistic that we will be able to get someone who will do a great job for our football team and make an impact not only next year but going forward.
You kind of mentioned about this process being like getting married, getting prospects into the building. With the current uncertainty, you don’t know when that’s going to happen. How has it affected your evaluation through this whole process, for you and Andy? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I’d say that it’s a credit to our scouts, our coaches, everyone in the building who has really taken this time to know these guys as well as they can.
I’m sure that there are a lot of players in this draft who are sick and tired of seeing 215 numbers come up on their phone and to have these conversations. Guys are taking it as their responsibility, whether it’s scouts, whether it’s coaches, to make sure that they know everything about these guys, to make sure that they are getting their work done to know as much as they know if they had them in person.
That’s just a credit to our staff and the job they are doing with Andy.
ANDY WEIDL: Yeah, just to touch on it even more, our scouts, they’re the first ones in in the fall, they’re the ground troops. They go into the schools, they get the information on the players, and through the process, as we get to the All-Star games and we spend time with each player and we do individual interviews and sometimes we do group interviews and formal interviews at the Senior Bowl, 15 or 16 guys, and then we had the 45 at the Combine this year.
You just take all that information that you have. Everybody is in the same boat, and to credit, our staff has been aggressive and creative, the video chats and spending as much time with our players as we can and doing the best job possible. We have done a really good job in getting to know these players, we feel, and we are excited for next week.
Question about not being able to have that look-the-player-in-the-eye contact after the Combine and maybe get that gut sense. So, if there are any medical or character issues, how much will you wrestle maybe making a safe pick in this environment versus you really maybe could get a talent and the value above maybe the spot that you’re picking in? (John Clark)
ANDY WEIDL: I think you take all the information you have, and you make the best decision you can on each player, on each individual case, and that’s what we’ve done in this entire process. The film evaluations; the All-Star evaluations; the Combine evaluations; meeting with the players when we had the opportunity. We are going to do the best we can and, at the end, you just use your instinct and judgment, and you take all that information and data and you make the best decision possible.
We are all making adjustments right now during this time of COVID-19, from just doing this over Zoom to how the Draft is going to be conducted. Can you appreciate the fact that we are even having a draft right now and having a sense of normalcy for fans out there? (Kristen Rodgers)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I know I speak for Andy when I say we feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to put our head down and really focus on our jobs, and I know that that’s not going for everyone.
We want to make sure that we are doing the right thing as we go through this period of time and this distraction and hopefully provide a welcome distraction for our fans. And that’s one of the things that I was talking about when I opened this conversation. We have some ideas here to utilize this platform to really take advantage of next week, and I already see [Eagles Chairman and CEO] Jeffrey [Lurie] has done it and it’s happening in our area with the all-in challenge and what we’re doing there. I just made a bid for that opportunity to make our play call for Coach Pederson.
I think at the end of the day, we don’t take that lightly. We don’t take that lightly that we have had this opportunity to really put our head down and we are going to try to make a difference for our football team and to give our fans something to be really excited about as we get into the fall.
I wonder if you can just both tell us exactly what your home office set-ups are like and what they are going to be like during the Draft? Where are you in your house and what do you have there? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I’m fortunate that I have a home office, and about two years ago, [Vice President of Football Technology] Pat Dolan, who heads our video group, he came out and he outfitted me with what was in my office at the NovaCare Complex. He gave me all the bells and whistles so I could watch tape and so I could use our scouting system — so I have all the resources at my disposal.
He did that because there would be times in the off season where it would be late at night and I wouldn’t have everything I needed, and there’s really no excuses for our setup right now. It’s incredible. It’s a great tribute to our staff to put us in a position that has really been seamless, and as we talked about, draft day, I know some GMs, some people that I’m friends with have given people an opportunity to see it, which I’ll do here and we’re just going to add all the bells and whistles that we would have there.
Obviously we have a state-of-the-art draft room, an amazing draft room, and we’ll miss that and we’ll miss the contact. One of my things as Andy knows, is before we start the draft, I go around and give fist-pumps to everyone in the draft room and after we make a pick, having that clapping and everyone is excited and watching the highlights together. We are going to try to do that. We are going to try to have all those things that we have there, and have those opportunities.
Again, we are not making any excuses for this. There are people who are dealing with a lot worse than we are dealing with, and we feel fortunate that we have this opportunity to improve our football team next week.
ANDY WEIDL: My office is on the first floor of our house here and I’ve actually taken — my wife uses this for her business and I’ve overtaken it. She’s letting me use it for the month and the foreseeable future.
But it’s the same thing. Pat Dolan, our IT department, video, [Senior Director of Software Innovation] Anthony Cozzi, they have been absolute rock stars. This has been a seamless transition. We have been efficient, have been able to get our work done, the connectivity we felt as one with our group last week, 30-people plus on the calls, it was outstanding. It was a great transition and we have been very efficient, very fortunate.
And like Howie said, we have a chance to bring some excitement and hope, and hopefully make our fans proud with the work we are going to do next weekend.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We’ll have some fun over a three-day period.
Q. Are you going to have to sequester the kids next week? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s an issue. It’s funny, I don’t even know if I told Andy this. I got on a chat with a bunch of other GMs, because our kids get an opportunity to go to those league meetings, so they all hang out together and they have been fortunate to grow up together, which is really special.
We are trying to figure out stuff to keep them busy during the Draft. Normally, I’ll get text messages from my boys about stuff that’s going on with the draft and I won’t pay attention to them. Now the knocking on the door, we’re going to have to make sure we give them some things to do here to keep them busy. I think it’s a different dynamic, but when we are in the draft room, we have some position coaches that are doing the same thing, so we’ll pull on that.
Q. There’s been a suggestion that the Steelers GM Kevin Colbert was hoping to get this draft extended to ten rounds because of what you’re facing this year. I wanted to know what your thoughts were on that and how that might impact — it’s not going to be ten rounds, it’s going to be seven, but I want to know what your thoughts are going to be on the mad rush for the undrafted free agents after the Draft compared to other years? (Nick Fierro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I’ll make sure I’m answering any questions about the league stuff so my boy over here can stay out of trouble.
I think obviously those things are done at a higher level, and the issues with the union and the CDC that we are not involved with. Just tell us the rules and what we have to do, and we’ll be ready to go. There’s nothing that changed in that environment.
After the Draft, that process is hectic, to say the least, when we are all together. So now we have this situation where there are going to be people who are obviously handling certain positions, and Andy and his group do a great job of that. [Vice President of Football Administration] Jake Rosenberg and [Director of Football Administration] Bryce [Johnston], they are helping, as well. Our analytics group and [Vice President of Football Operations and Strategy] Alec [Halaby], they are helping, as well. And we just have to over communicate because we certainly don’t want to be in a position where we are overcommitting to guys and we are not communicating about the spots.
When you talk about mock drafts, you also have to have a mock post-free agency period so we understand how the communication is going to work, and we have a lot of passionate scouts and coaches who want to bring players into the building, but we also want to make sure we are not committing to someone and when we have a roster spot taken.
ANDY WEIDL: A lot of it is about relationships and connectivity in this business and our scouts establishing relationships with the players as they go through the All-Star process and when we get into the combine, you get a chance to spend some time with the players and now with the video chats and the Skypes, all those come into play and it’s about being a good salesperson and a good recruiter.
Across the board, it’s been a collective, unbelievable effort, as Howie touched on from Jake Rosenberg to Alec, to our scouts, everybody, it’s been all hands on deck, and it’s been an admirable effort. We are excited in that we are excited we have the board stacked, and we have a chance to really add to this team and we know the opportunity that’s going to come after the Draft after that last pick in the seventh round.
Q. I wanted to ask you both, if you can both answer this question, when you look at your roster right now at this point, how necessary do you think it is to address a position right now on the roster? Is there one or two positions where you say to yourself, we need to address this right here, right now, for this upcoming season? (Jeff Skversky)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: You just don’t want to get in a situation where then you force things. Obviously, it’s human nature to see a hole in your roster or see a position that you want to upgrade and feel like you just are going to use this opportunity to do just that, but you don’t want to compound the problem by making a pick that doesn’t really help.
I think that we have shown that after the Draft, there are going to be opportunities to improve our football team, whether they are in May, whether they are in August, whether they are during the season, and so we don’t look at this as the Draft as the last stop for us to help our team for this season. We look at it as just another opportunity to improve our talent level this year and going forward.
We’ve come out of it the last couple years and it’s easy for us to look at 2017 and we had two positions that we wanted to improve in the short term after the Draft in 2017 and it’s a tribute to everyone in our organization that we were able to do that.
In 2018 we used the trade deadline to do that, and last year, we felt good about our roster and obviously injuries occurred and then we used during the season as an opportunity to get some guys. Our coaching staff did a great job of developing those guys, bringing them up and helping to improve our roster.
We’ll look at every avenue to do that. We just don’t want to be in a situation where we are forcing something.
ANDY WEIDL: Next week it’s an opportunity. The one thing I’ve learned in this business is things can change quick, and a position of strength can turn into a position of need based on injuries or other mitigating factors.
You just want to get the best players that fit our team and our culture, as Howie stated, and that’s what we are going to do and that’s what we are going to execute next week. We stacked the board as such and we have done a really good job vetting these players.
I think as we move forward with it, you’ll hopefully see players that we bring in here that people are going to be proud of both on the field and off the field.
Q. You’re going to have a mock draft with the NFL to see how everything works before the Draft, and I imagine that’s going to be huge. But what is your gut sense in there’s a lot of quarterbacks that potentially could come off the board. There’s a lot of offensive tackles that could come off the board and all these things could impact what happens to other draft boards. What’s your gut sense of how difficult it is to be able to swing trades in this draft and how many there might be? (Bob Grotz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: The question about 2015 and some of my experiences, I know we talked about the 2014 draft and right away that dynamic changed in the trade market with a trade that happened in the Top-10 and then the price went up and we had gone through a bunch of mock scenarios and we had a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario.
So you have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. You have to stack the board in the way that you would be comfortable taking the 21st player on your board, not hope, and we say this a lot: Hope is not a strategy; we have that sign hanging up. But not hoping that someone is going to fall to you. So, we will expect the worse and hope for the best. And then we will make sure we understand that as the draft is going on, what is going on. What’s going on in the trade market, what people are getting, what people are looking for, where the run has begun and where our board drops off.
That’s one of the things that always makes draft day exciting and gives you butterflies just like you’re doing anything. It’s something unpredictable will happen. No way it will come off — it’s happened to me only once, where it came off exactly the opposite of what you’re hoping for, but we’ll be prepared for every scenario.
Q. Do you have any gut sense that the remote set up could dampen trades? (Bob Grotz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I know that we are having the same conversations around the league that we always do a week out from the draft and the communication. We have a great group of GMs and guys that really do a great job communicating with each other, talking to each other. It’s a fraternity. A lot of conversations are happening now, and I think a lot of it depends on how it goes and where people are and what people want to do.
I don’t think there’s going to be a lack of communication, because we are communicating on the phone during the draft anyway. We all have each other’s phone numbers and we all have multiple phone lines. I think there will be the same level of communication because that doesn’t change. That’s one thing that is not going to change. When we are in our draft room, and we are talking to the Jets, that’s not face-to-face interaction anyway. That’s [Jets General Manager] Joe Douglas picking up the phone and calling us. Joe, call us, we’re here.
Q. Given the number of injuries this team has had the last couple of seasons and without the ability to do medical rechecks with your own staff, and there have been some players, some prospects that have had some surgeries since the Combine ended, would you be hesitant to take somebody unless you were 100 percent sure of their medical? (Ed Kracz)
ANDY WEIDL: I think you take all the information. As we said, we really trust and rely on our medical staff and take all the information that’s acquired. It’s a case-by-case situation. You deal with each player. Everybody recovers different and you look at history and players and I think you just have to treat it as a case-by-case player and make the best decision based on the data that you have.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s a great opportunity for us, also, to thank our Chief Medical Officer, Arsh Dhanota. He is unbelievable. He’s dealing with so much on his plate right now as a doctor and him being able to give the time. I can’t imagine he’s sleeping right now, but him being able to give all the information on these guys. Our new head trainer, [Director of Sports Medicine] Tom [Hunkele], has been unbelievable, for him to kind of come in this. [Director of Sports Performance] Ted [Rath], our sports performance guy, for them to do the amount of work that they have done on this draft and this draft class and dig on guys and get as much information as they possibly can and all the studies they have done on guys, it’s amazing.
I know they are coming into these new spots in their first off-season in these new roles, and I know how excited they were to really get rolling and build those relationships with the players and they are taking all that energy to do whatever they can to help our draft process, and I want to thank them and the rest of our training staff, our strength staff and our team of doctors.
Q. How much thought are you giving to the possibility that this season may be altered or shortened, if it’s even played at all and how could that impact what you may do in the draft next week, meaning, maybe more willingness to trade next year’s picks because there may not be an opportunity to see college football in 2020, so maybe next year’s picks could be less desirable, whereas this year, you know what you’re getting? (Rob Maaddi)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: You could drive yourself crazy with trying to get involved with all the scenarios. What if it’s the opposite? You can go through the what ifs. We can control one thing and that’s that we have had a full draft process here from May and we will have a draft next week. Everything else is out of our control. We will control what we can control and that’s this draft, and obviously we’ll always keep one eye on the future as well and future drafts, but I think if you start going through these what if scenarios, you’ll drive yourself crazy. We’ll deal with the information we have at hand which is this is a great opportunity next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, to improve our football team for this season and seasons beyond.
Q. Outside of speed, what qualities do you look for in receivers that make you think they can stretch the field on the next level? And now that you have had more time to watch them, what are your scouting reports on Henry Ruggs and K.J. Hamler? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Andy, you want to just forward our scouting reports to Eliot? Just kidding.
ANDY WEIDL: I think it’s time speed and play speed. I think you talk about when you’re watching a guy play, sometimes the 40 times don’t match up with the play speed, but a lot of times you have to come back to what you see on tape, are they running by people consistently, do they create gaps of separation. I think those are all things.
It’s evident we do tape study on players and you see sometimes the quality of defensive backs that players go up against. But there are a lot of fast receivers in this draft. The play speed, I remember my time with the Steelers, [former Steelers Head Coach] Chuck Noll always talked about play speed and play strength is different than time speed and measured strength sometimes.
I think all those things, they go into the equation when you’re factoring in these players and how they run.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think Andy makes a great point. You see all the time that a guy may run a 4:4 but he gets in pads and he doesn’t play to that time speed and then the opposite. We tell our scouts all the time, I don’t know that there’s a faster guy in pads that I’ve ever seen in my 21-year career than [Eagles WR] DeSean Jackson, and he didn’t run the fastest 40. So I think that we have to make sure that we are evaluating that.
[Eagles Chairman and CEO] Jeffrey [Lurie], I think last year or the year before, talked about all this data that we have and that’s what we are trying to also merge. You have this RIF data that gives you the speed of guys, so we try to balance what they are running at the Combine, and also speeds that we have collected. That’s what we are trying to figure out to make sure that these guys are not just good testers; that they play fast in their pads; that we see it on tape and then we use it like a seesaw and make sure all that information is evening out as we go through our final grades.
I was just kidding about sending the scouting reports.
Q. With getting to know these players, mostly through video calls, as opposed to being face-to-face, has this given you a new perspective or anything different on these guys? Have you learned anything unexpected through most of it being virtual? (Daniel Gallen)
ANDY WEIDL: I think a lot of the feedback is it’s more one-on-one that we are getting in our coaches and our scouts talking to players, and as we’ve done it, you feel you’re one-on-one in the room and you’re alone. You get 60 minutes, as mandated by the league, you have to be inside a 60-minute window, and it gives a chance for people to really reveal themselves more so. They are not going to be going off to another department and meeting other people. It’s just one-on-one, you and the player, and it gives them a chance to more so bare their soul and who they are and really get to know the person more so.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: A couple things. I know we got a chance to get some of the questions. I think [C] Jason [Kelce] has announced he’s returning today — is that right?
Q. He said he’s retiring from arm wrestling.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: That’s a good thing. When we get back to going out in Philadelphia, that will be good that our fans can’t challenge him to arm wrestle anymore.
I know it’s a difficult time for all you guys. I know the effort and energy you put into your work and your job and your craft, and spending the time not just at home at your desk, but with all the information. I just wanted to say I know it’s a difficult situation for everyone in Philadelphia, but the fact that you guys continue to do your work and put forward content for our fans. We appreciate it. We may not always act like it, but anything that continues to give everyone some distraction and some insight to Eagles football. Appreciate all of you guys. Stay safe and look forward to talking with you again here in the next week.