Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni and Andy Weidl
Q. Eagles C Jason Kelce called second-round draft pick Cam Jurgens his favorite player in the Draft and that he’s been watching centers for the last couple of years for you. Can you explain that relationship and what that’s been like? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, you know, when Kelce came back, as you know, this is a year-to-year thing with Jason and just very, very fortunate every year that we get Jason Kelce as a player, and whenever he decides to not play anymore, which hopefully is a long time down the line, he can help us in any way he wants.
And he said, “Hey, I love the draft process.” We gave him a few offensive linemen [to study]. And because Kelce is here working out all the time and they are here during Top-30 visits and we do performance stuff with them. Cam [Jurgens] comes in my office and he goes, “I just got to meet Jason Kelce. He’s awesome!”
And I said, “Yeah, he’s awesome.”
You know, Kelce saw all the same things that we saw. We think Cam has got a chance to be a very special player in this offense. And I said to Kelce, “You know, Jason, we have this unbelievable opportunity for a guy who is really talented to learn from the best who has ever done it here.”
And I said, “You know, I don’t know if it’s the perfect analogy but it’s almost like [Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers had the opportunity to learn behind [former Packers QB and Pro Football Hall of Famer] Brett Favre and then the Packers basically had 25 years of elite play at the quarterback position.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, for us, having elite play at the center position, it’s important. We felt like this guy, he was different than the centers who have come out the last couple of years. We think he has a chance to be really, really good. Getting to learn from the best ever, we thought was a way for him to be even better.
When we were on the clock in the second round, these guys will tell you, we had two players – it was Cam and it was [Eagles third-round draft pick] Nakobe Dean. And unfortunately for our fans at the time, you know, I’m always going to go [offensive line], [defensive line]. That’s how we roll. That’s how we build this thing.
So we went through it and I looked around and everyone loved Cam Jurgens. I remember, I looked at [Eagles Head] Coach [Nick Sirianni] and [Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel] Andy [Weidl], and I said, “We good?”
And they know, we’re consistent if nothing else. And then we just paced for a long time.
We know that people had some concerns but Nakobe Dean is going to be on the field this week when we have rookie mini-camp. We had a thorough exam of Nakobe and this guy played in the SEC and sure, you get bumps and bruises in the SEC.
But all the things that he has are things that – he’s going to play football for the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s no surgery scheduled. We feel very fortunate that he was there in the third round and very excited to get him. Both those guys.
Q. What are some of the traits you liked about Cam Jurgens? (Ed Kracz)
ANDY WEIDL: I think with Cam Jurgens, his athletic ability, the explosiveness, the range and mentality he played with. Then we got to know him and got to know the person and the leadership and the presence he had and the fit, it was a comfort level with all of that.
But you see it. You see it on tape and get out and lead and run and work on the second level and displace people at the line of scrimmage in run blocking, and just the mentality and the finish and all those things that we like that our offensive linemen do, we saw in Cam.
Q. How about as far as making calls at the line? Did he do a lot of that in Nebraska, calling out the defense? (Ed Kracz)
ANDY WEIDL: He did. He’s a very intelligent guy, former tight end, very good athlete, three year-starter at center, and excellent athlete in high school as well.
Real intelligent guy. He can make the calls. He’s capable of doing that. We have a comfort level with his football intelligence.
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s all ball, and he showed us that when he was here on a visit. He’s all ball. He eats it, sleeps it, dreams it, everything. So we are super confident in that.
Q. I want to get back to LB Nakobe Dean. You mentioned whatever injuries or ailments he has, he can play with them. Are those things you’re concerned about getting worse that could then result in a surgery or him missing significant time? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Did you say illness?
Q. Ailments. (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No. There’s no concern about that from us.
Q. He has a pec strain, right? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: He has a pec injury that does not require surgery from our doctor.
He’s going to be on the field this weekend. We don’t anticipate missed time now. He’ll come in here and take a physical, and we’ll double-check all those things.
Listen, I think I called our doctors three, four times to see am I missing something? We brought him in. Am I missing something? Because obviously this guy is way higher on our board, and we were considering taking him at – we talked to him before today because he was a consideration, and that’s what we got.
I know we exchanged – we get a lot of information on these guys. It isn’t just the Philadelphia Eagles information. We get a lot of information. That’s how this rolls. Teams don’t do this in a vacuum. They do it with other teams because it’s important for these guys to get them right. We’re excited about it.
I think just talking to teams after we picked, he was coming. He was coming off [the draft board]. Like if we didn’t take him, he was gone.
Q. Just to clarify, you didn’t think that other teams pushed him back because of the medical? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No, I think they clearly did. This is a unique player. I think teams did. For us, we obviously didn’t have that many picks. We had three, I guess three for three rounds, I guess that’s consistent with how the draft goes, but like I said, in the second round, those are the two guys that we were deciding between and we picked [them] because of how we build this team inside out. We got lucky.
Q. Do you think it was the pectoral injury that was holding other teams off or something else? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: That’s what it sounds like. I can only talk to what we have. He’ll be on the field. Can’t wait. And I will tell you, talking to [LB] Nakobe [Dean] tonight — (To Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni) You’re going to have to hold his [butt] back.
Q. Have you ever drafted a player or seen it where you’ve seen a player – brought a non-quarterback in – where you have someone who is an established veteran that you want him to learn from specifically? Have you ever seen that before? This C Jason Kelce/ OL Cam Jurgens seems pretty unique. (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think that happens a lot at the quarterback position, right?
Q. It’s not the quarterback though, but just another position? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: When you talk about being a center, that is like the quarterback position. We feel like if you have an opportunity – for the importance that plays for us, that you have an opportunity to learn from the best who has ever done it and who is welcoming that – and of course this guy has unique traits.
He was, in our mind, very, very worthy of the pick where we took him. Those guys are hard to find. They are not in every Draft. This guy – shout-out to our [Eagles] Offensive Line Coach [and Run Game Coordinator] Jeff Stoutland. This guy, he’s unusual. He’s unusual.
I know when we brought Stout in and we were talking about it before we made the pick, and we said, ‘Stout’ – and, you know, you guys will talk to him. This guy is unusual, and that’s why we liked him.
Q. How unusual is it to involve a player in the evaluation process? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [C Jason] Kelce, obviously we have high respect for him, but we had him there. We are not giving Kelce a guy that we had in the seventh round and bringing him to the second round. It was consistent with our evaluations. I think it’s because he’s passionate in what he does, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
You guys see it with some of our players who are around, whether it’s [Eagles Special Assistant to the General Manager] Connor [Barwin], who has done a tremendous job for us, or [Brent] Celek or Darren Sproles helps with our player development. (Jokingly) I think we have a line out the door now of our players on our team who think they are working after here.
But we love it because these guys have tremendous passion, and they know what it is to be a Philadelphia Eagle. They know what it takes to play in this city. For us, it’s no different than having all the evaluations of the coaches and the scouts. It’s guys who know what they are doing and what they are looking at.
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t think it’s all that different, too, than what happens in a game plan. You bring guys in that you trust, because this Draft process is so much like when you game plan. It’s over the course of a year or over the course of a week, 17 times, as a coaching staff, but it’s the same thing when we go through it.
We are listening to Jason Kelce’s evaluation of what the blitz is going to look like. ‘Hey, what do you want to do here on this look? And what do you want to do here on this look?’ Are you thinking like, ‘Hey, we want inside zone off of this look right here out of this formation? What do you think, Jason?’
I look at it very similar to that. You trust your players that are really smart. You listen to those players. And it’s just part of the evaluation process, and it happens in game planning as well.
Q. What about Nakobe has you fired up? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I think I’ve said this 50 times in the sense of what are we looking for in players? We are looking for high character guys. We are looking for guys that love football. We are looking for guys that are tough. We are looking for guys that have high football IQ. And [we are looking for guys that are] competitive, that’s the last one. He checks every one of those boxes. He’s a leader on the field for Georgia. His football IQ is so high. His instincts are so high.
That’s just been my experience with players, too, that guys that are highly instinctive they just find a way to make plays over and over and over and over again. It’s just so hard not to get excited about it.
It’s exciting. This guy, he loves ball. You can’t get around guys like that, and Cam is the same way. We have two guys that fit exactly what we want as Eagles. You see the excitement in our coaches. [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] was texting me, “Hey, Cam is still on the board.” [Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon is texting me, “Nakobe is still on the board.”
And I am like, “Let Howie work, I got it.”
We are so excited. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are. Hopefully you feel it in my presentation.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Andy talked about how both of us went down there, as well as, [Eagles Director of College Scouting] Alan [Wolking] and [Eagles Southeast Area Scout] Phil [Bhaya], they can basically spend their whole fall down there, it’s like one-stop shopping down there. You go to practice, you go to a game, you go visit that facility, and you’re just going, ‘Shoot, I’ll draft this whole team.’
It’s a great credit to their program and what they have done. You start talking about the guys because you knew guys were going to go higher in this Draft than them, and everyone down there is like, ‘This player is this, this player is that,’ and to a man they are like, ‘Don’t forget Nakobe Dean. Don’t forget Nakobe Dean and what he means to this football team.’
I think when we were discussing it, whether it was the second round or third round or in our Draft meetings, all of us are reminding each other, let’s not forget this guy. He’s a really good player. And there may be guys with better measurables, but this guy played at the highest level, and he was the heartbeat of that team.
Having [Eagles DT] Jordan [Davis] and him together I think is great for both of them, too. It’s like Kelce and Cam.
NICK SIRIANNI: Let me say one other thing, too, because all I said was all the off-the-field intangibles. These guys are stud football players, too. Let’s not forget that as well. I didn’t even mention that, and that’s the most important thing.
Q. Two years of this partnership together, last year you take two players from the offense of the national champion and this year you take two players from the defense. Is that intentional? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Jokingly] Oh, we were supposed to wear those rings with Jordan Davis today.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I know, I didn’t want to leave you out [laughter].
NICK SIRIANNI: I have a National Championship ring.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think experience is a great teacher. Sometimes — it’s not that hard. Great players, great school, high recruits, play at the highest level, it kind of works.
You want winners. You want guys who have done it. We were joking — Coach is joking, because I don’t know if you guys saw when Jordan is walking around, he has this ring — his ring looks bigger than anyone’s I’ve ever seen. He’s wearing it around like that.
These guys know what it takes, and I think that the NFL season, it’s a roller coaster ride, it’s the ups and downs, and when you have guys that when you’re down are going to help bring you back up, and those guys that are champions know what happens when adversity hits and how to raise the level of everyone, that’s what team is all about.
NICK SIRIANNI: Kind of like when you’re 2-5.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Kind of like when you’re 2-5. For us that was a huge learning experience for us this year, who’s with us. We know these guys are going to be with us. So, yeah, it’s intentional. It’s intentional to get winners.
Q. At both of those spots, was there any consideration in trading back and are you comfortable with where you are from an inventory perspective tomorrow? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No. I mean, I’d love to have ten picks tomorrow.
That’s not fun. I think that in the second round it was a little bit less action.
It’s kind of funny because I realized this after the second round. A couple years, there had been a lull in the second round with trade activity and then it picks up again.
Then in the third round it heated up a little bit and we had to make a decision. We had to make a decision there like, ‘Yeah, man, we’d love to have some more volume, but would we regret passing on this guy and how long we waited?’ And just looking around the room and how everyone felt about this guy, it was like, ‘Yeah, we could get a couple more picks.’ But as you get later in the Draft, you don’t know about the quality, and we had belief in the guys we picked.
We had more opportunities in the third round to move back, but at that point we felt it was a really good value to take the player, and the second round it wasn’t that much.
There was a little bit of a run in the second round of position, and I think people were getting on that run, and then it kind of stalled a little bit.
But very happy to take Cam, and that wasn’t a reach on our board, and that wasn’t anything that we were kind of like, ‘Oh, who are we going to take now?’ He stuck out.
Yes, we would love more picks, but I told Coach [Sirianni] and went and saw the scouts in the Draft room, and I said, ‘We have the best undrafted free agency in the history of undrafted free agency, and lucky for us there’s like 700 more players in this Draft.’ We have Coach and his staff [asking], ‘Well, who,’ — I’m like, ‘Not yet. Hold the energy.’
We think we are going to get guys after the Draft that are going to be on our front board, and those are going to be extra picks, and we are hopeful some of the guys we would have considered in the sixth and seventh round, we get there.
From our perspective, we’re missing a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick, but we also got an extra player in this Draft because of those picks.
Q. You mentioned Coach Stoutland with Cam Jurgens a little bit. Can you take us into the process, and maybe Nick as well, where the coaches come in, obviously late, but how much input he had on getting Cam? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: The coaches come in after the season, hopefully that’s as late as possible, and really around — for us after the playoffs, which is around Senior Bowl time. Andy and his staff give a list of guys that we like. We don’t give them guys that we’re not high on so that we start in a different process, and then they grind them.
Coach and his staff, they love this process, and they love being part of it. And so, they have guys, and we include them, and we listen to their opinions, and we put it as part of the process, and we make sure we are all kind of talking it through.
Obviously, we have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Stoutland and he’s part of this process, just like a lot of our coaches here, all of our coaches here. He has a track record. Luckily, we really see things through his eyes.
He’s been here for a long time, and so we kind of know what he’s looking for, and we try to give him players like that. You can kind of predict who he’s going to really like. You know that. What was it, about a week into the Draft process, Coach and I were in my office, and maybe Andy even was in there, and Stout is like, “I got one. I got one.”
We were like, “Who do you got, Stout?”
He gave us, like, a second-round pick.
We were like, “No, no, he’s going to go pretty high.”
He’s like, “I don’t know where these guys go. You just give me the guys. I just grade them.” It’s fun having them a part of it.
Q. Do you think you’ll be able to address the secondary from here on out? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think every team is going to have a hole at some spot after this Draft. We have between now and September and hopefully we’re able to add guys.
But if we would have taken a guy in the secondary over a better player like Nakobe or Cam on our board, it would have been a reach, and you guys would have said we were reaching. So, we just have to do what the boards tells us we can do.
Unfortunately for us, we’re picking where we are picking, and we made some trades up, and we understand that we’ll have work to do after this Draft. We weren’t thinking we were coming out here and everything would be perfect, and every position will be perfect, but we’ll work our ass off to make sure the team is as good as it possibly can be.