Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni and Andy Weidl
Q. You remade the linebacker room since the off-season started, signed guys, drafted guys, just talk about the sum total of what you’ve added there and how important it was to do that. (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think it is all about opportunities and when you talk about some of the guys that we’ve added, it’s because of the opportunities that were put in front of us and based on their talent level, and we’re excited about that. We’re excited about the team speed we added.
There’s no doubt we sit up here knowing that we still have other things that we want to do going forward, that there are things that maybe, ideally, we wanted to do this weekend, but feel good about our process and feel good about the talent that we added.
We’re a better football team than we were when we last took the field, and I say that with all due respect to where we were at that time, but I think we’ve gotten better. We can still continue to get better and add pieces, and we’ll do that.
Q. You mentioned that there were certain situations that were presented to you in terms of the linebacker position, and of course LB Haason Reddick is more of an edge rusher probably than off-ball linebacker, but did you have to reevaluate your views on that position in light of Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s schematic changes? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No, I don’t know if there’s a perception that we go into draft meetings or free agency meetings and take the off-ball linebackers and say, “No thank you.” For us, it’s as much as possible keeping the main thing the main thing, and it’s always going to be about making sure the [offensive line] and [defensive line] are really strong.
And that’s where it starts for us. After that, when there’s opportunities to add or when the value is there, and I think you see that with [Eagles LB] Kyzir [White] and certainly [Eagles third-round draft selection LB] Nakobe [Dean] here in the last few weeks, and those are really good football players that we think will add to our team on the field and to the culture of our team off the field.
Q. You said you’d be aggressive with the undrafted class, and seems like that is already happening. How much different is this year in terms of the preparation and process than previous years? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t think it’s much different in terms of process. It’s always hectic. There’s always a lot going on. There’s always a lot of conversation, and to be honest, I feel bad for the players and the agents because they are trying to juggle 31 different calls, 32 different calls sometimes.
We just try to be as aggressive as we can, and knowing just like in the draft we’ll get some guys and we’ll miss out on some guys. I think we got a good class, and there will still be open roster spots when this is all over because we are going to continue to look for opportunities.
Q. You said there are things that you wanted to address in the draft that you maybe didn’t get a chance to. Was defensive back one of those things? You didn’t draft any of them, and I guess where do you go from here? (EJ Smith)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think that when we looked at it, everywhere we were in the draft, and we looked at the players that were on the board, there were very few occasions where we felt like we were just bypassing a position.
We felt like we were – that we were even considering bypassing a position. We just kind of went as the board was going, and if guys were in the same stack or tier, we had conversations on guys.
We tried to get a little more aggressive after the draft, but I think the way we look at the defensive backfield position, particularly the corners, when you look at kind of what we did last year after we got to camp and claiming [Eagles CB] Mac [McCain III] and bringing Mac in and trading for [Eagles CB] Josiah [Scott] and trading for [Eagles DB] Kary [Vincent, Jr.] and trading for [Eagles CB] Tay [Gowan], those are all guys that we had good grades on.
They are young, talented guys that will have the first time going through our off-season program, and we look at them almost as part of this draft class in terms of adding guys who, for the first time, go through our off-season and get a chance to be with our coaches.
Those guys are all talented guys. That doesn’t mean if there was an opportunity we wouldn’t have added a guy. There weren’t many opportunities from where we were picking to do that. Obviously we made a trade today, and we tried to get a little bit more volume, and as that was going, we decided to go back and move up and make sure we got the guy that we did because there are a lot of players that came off before we picked today. So it’s hard for all of us to be patient there but we thought it was the right thing to do.
Q. How about safety? Some reports of interest or communication with free agent S Tyrann Mathieu, what can you tell us about that? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think where we are at the safety position – we have a lot of confidence in [Eagles S] Anthony [Harris]. That’s why we brought him back. We have a lot of confidence in [Eagles S] Marcus [Epps]. Marcus played really good football for us last year. We have a lot of confidence in [Eagles S] K’Von [Wallace]. We brought [Eagles DB] Andre [Chachere] here last year, we have [Eagles S] Jared [Mayden], and we’ll continue to look at that position.
You know, nothing imminent, but again, we probably have a higher vision of that room than maybe is perceived.
Q. As far as the due diligence on Eagles sixth-round draft pick TE Grant Calcaterra because it was kind of a unique situation, he retired because of the concussions. How did you guys feel comfortable with that? How did you work through that? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, once we go through the medical meetings, and we have a lot of faith in our medical staff. They are the experts in that. They passed him.
So for us, when we go through the fall and we kind of have concerns on some players, we put in the reports our concerns, and then our doctors look at them, our training staff looks at them, and our performance people look at them, and at the end of the day they make those calls. We go into the draft and those things are already decided.
There were no medical concerns for us on Grant, and I think we just kind of say at the end of the day when there is a ‘P’ in front of a guy’s name and he passes, that’s all we need to know, and we go.
Q. Andy, you were a candidate for the Steelers job. What’s it been like the last few weeks, knowing that while still working here? And then Howie, if you were to lose him, you’ve already lost some key members of your front office, how would you deal with it? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, yeah, you talk about some of the things here that have happened since the end of the 2019 draft. We’ve lost a lot of really good people and we still have a lot of really good people.
Obviously, because of that, we’re going to have to continue to make additions and continue to fortify that group. I think we have a good process for that. I think we’re in a situation where we want to continue to grow talent in the building. We have good people in the building and, just like our football team, we’re always looking to add good people, and I think you’re only as good as your people. We have really good people and obviously [Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel] Andy [Weidl] is one of them.
Q. Andy, if you wouldn’t mind addressing it. (Dave Zangaro)
ANDY WEIDL: You know what, we always talk about, ‘Be where your feet are. Be where your feet are and focus on the task at hand.’ And that’s what we did.
I think our group as a whole, coaches, scouts, everybody, really locked in on this process, and I think you saw the results the last three days in the draft class that we brought in. So really fortunate to be part of it and love what we do, what we’re doing and where we’re heading.
Q. Following up on C Cam Jurgens from last night, is he a center-only prospect? Or will he have a chance to compete for guard? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Jokingly] I was starting to feel like – is it [RB] Boston Scott the one who comes up here with the sunglasses and just sits next to the guy? That’s what I was starting to feel like a little bit. Andy and I were just sitting here, bodyguarding you.
Yeah, we think that he has good position flexibility, and kind of similar to [OL] Landon [Dickerson] last year of being able to play center and guard. As you saw last year, we drafted Landon. He had the C by his name, but obviously played really good for us at guard.
We feel the same way with [C] Cam [Jurgens], that he has that position flexibility. Obviously, he has the C by his name first, but yeah, we’re hopeful, and we know that he can do both.
Q. A whole lot bigger, though? (Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah.
Q. Discuss what you saw – (Josh Tolentino)
ANDY WEIDL: With [LB] Kyron [Johnson], we saw him at Senior Bowl, and some of us saw him for the first time down there. His explosiveness, his get off the pass rush that week and his effort and motor he practiced with was evident.
On the tape, you see the same thing. You see a guy that gets off the ball, you see a guy that can rush and win three ways. The energy he plays with was outstanding. He’s a guy that’s got traits. He ran a 4.40. He’s got an exceptional get-off with a 150-10 split and we just saw it. And players come in all shapes and sizes. He’s one of those natural leverage rushers that can get off the ball and win.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: He was a captain and 17 special teams tackles.
ANDY WEIDL: Excellent special teams player. Howie just said, 17 tackles there. You see the speed, effort and physicality covering kicks. We just saw a great opportunity, and credit to Howie for moving up and being aggressive and going and getting him here.
Q. Just to follow up on the depth with TE Grant Calcaterra. (Josh Tolentino)
ANDY WEIDL: [TE] Grant [Calcaterra], he is an outstanding ‘F’ tight end. Really good in the passing game in terms of route running, catching the football, separating, getting down the field. He has really good play speed. Really smart football player. Just reads coverages, can cover for us in zone and man, and catches the football clean. So, we are excited to have him as well.
Q. When you look at what you guys did over the weekend on offense, trading for WR A.J. Brown, getting TE Grant Calcaterra and also C Cam Jurgens, how much do you feel you guys have helped not only your offense as a whole, but QB Jalen Hurts especially? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, Howie said this – we are definitely better. We are better after this weekend than we were at the start of this weekend. That’s what you go into the draft hoping to do.
You have a guy with Cam that has position flexibility. I know, Les [Bowen], what you said, but he’s still able to play both. I think what you look at, probably, Les, to address what you were saying, is he’s probably a center that can play guard, where [OL] Landon [Dickerson] was a little bit vice versa because of the size.
With A.J., I think you guys saw how excited we are about that. We saw that Thursday night. He just is, again, going back to what I said – body quickness, strength and catches everything, and he’s done it at a very high level for the last three years.
And so, couldn’t be more happy there. That was definitely something that really is going to help our offense. They are not going to be able to just key in on [TE] Dallas [Goedert] or key in on [WR] DeVonta [Smith] or key in on [WR] Quez [Watkins]. Now there’s another guy in the mix that they are going to have to take away.
And then as far as the tight end with Grant, just really excited about him and his ability to be able to play that F-tight end and let us be in some 12 personnel. Now, we are unique. We are very unique because I think we have a top-five tight end in the NFL on our team with Dallas Goedert, but this will help us a little bit with some of the 12 personnel.
I think as we looked at our snaps last year, we had some 13 personnel no-huddle that we did that we were able to pack in tight and run the football but also spread out wide. He’s going to be able to help with that.
Just very pleased with the direction our offense is going. I think something you forget, too – I think I did, a little bit – is that Grant was Jalen’s [Hurts] tight end at Oklahoma. So, they have a rapport already, and they have done it together, and Jalen has thrown him some meaningful passes in meaningful games.
So, super excited about where we are and where we’re headed.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: One more point, I just know there’s some questions about Cam. I think for us going through the season and seeing Landon and [T] Jordan [Mailata] next to each other, I mean, that’s imposing. We felt like the chemistry that they had developed going forward and how young those guys are, just developing that left side.
And we’ve seen something like that when we played really well when we had [former Eagles guard] Brandon [Brooks] and [T] Lane [Johnson], and lucky for us, obviously, Lane is still an unbelievable player and person and we’re really glad to have him. But I think as we went through it and kind of looked at where we were and saw how powerful that side is and how important that was going forward and the chemistry that they developed, we felt like going forward that was the right thing for us to keep that way.
So, obviously Landon has got position flex, [G] Isaac [Seumalo] has got position flex, but I think that was also part of it as we looked at our team going forward.
Q. There’s a report WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is moving to tight end. What went into that thinking? And then also WR Devon Allen is a guy you acquired, too. What did you see that you liked about Devon Allen? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously with Devon you see just flat-out speed. One thing that was really cool I thought is that his teammates being there to support him and connect with him while he ran in the Penn Relays this weekend. I think there’s something out there with [CB Darius] Slay being right there on the track. I can’t say enough about Darius Slay – he’ll be mad I said Darius, but he’s a great teammate. Any time I get a chance to say that, I’m going to verify that over and over and over again. He is a phenomenal teammate, and he was right there with him watching him win the 110 hurdles today. What did he run, a 13.1, 13.11? Yeah, that’s amazing.
[Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon ran something like a 14.25 in high school. You guys will have to look that up, but obviously that’s nowhere near what Devon is running.
But anyway, obviously his speed, we were really excited about that.
And then J.J. just getting an opportunity to — he was a heavier wide receiver, and it’s not going to be hard for him to put on some weight and take his athleticism over to the tight end side where he can create a little bit different mismatches there against safeties and linebackers as opposed to corners and nickels. So, I think that will help J.J.
Last year he was our, what you would call our enforcer, right, our hockey enforcer as far as you go in there and you block this guy and get physical with him, and he did a really good job with that.
I think we saw the talent there that he’s got some nastiness to him, some feistiness to him. He showed it on special teams as well. And now he’s going to try to do that at tight end, and we are excited about the project that we have at hand for him.
Q. With regard to potential upside, did you have any conversations in the second and third around about potentially taking a quarterback? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We really didn’t. Our board kind of dictated the way we picked in those rounds and we’re very comfortable with those guys we picked.
Q. In talking to you in Florida, you did not downplay the significance of this draft. When you look at the capital that you have for next year, acquiring WR A.J. Brown and the five players you drafted, did it reach what you hoped for? Did it exceed it? How would you explain the overall process? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think pushing one pick to next year and pushing a second pick to the year after maybe took a little bit of the load off this particular draft class, to be fair. When you have three first-round picks it’s different when you balance and you have two-and-two and you get a second.
That being said, if we would have talked in Florida and you had told me the numbers of picks we had, I’d probably be disappointed.
But the players we came up with, four of these picks and knowing for us a big part of this draft class is obviously A.J. who does not show up as part of this draft class, and our one next year and two going forward, I think the answers to those things have to come over time. That’s just the reality of it. We can all sit here and say this player is going to be great and everyone will do that tonight.
But we’ll see in a couple years. I think we’re excited about the guys that we have. We’re excited about the character of the guys we have. But now they have to go do it and they have to go perform.
As we know it’s an adjustment coming from college football to the NFL, but I think that just if you would have even said to me, I was just thinking about it after the Draft, if you had said to me that a week ago, this would have been the players that we got, I would have said, ‘What picks do we have to use in the future to go get those guys?’
I’m proud of our group. And just saying that, I know right now the three of us are up here and we represent a lot of people. There are a lot of people that work tremendously hard on this draft: The scouts going on the road away from their families; the people in this building grinding and doing different things; the cafeteria staff is here all weekend doing an amazing job getting us food and doing really high-class meals, we probably all ate a little too much this weekend; our support staff, the things that they do for us, people like [Eagles Football Operations Director] Katie David who was here until 1:00 in morning every night and comes right back at 7:00 in the morning; and our cap people, [Eagles Vice President of Football Administration] Jake [Rosenberg] and [Eagles Senior Director of Football Transactions] Bryce [Johnston] and the work they do through this weekend.
Before the Draft, [Eagles Chairman and Chief Executive Officer] Jeffrey [Lurie] pulled Coach and I aside and he said, “How lucky are we to do this? How lucky are we though do this?”
I thought about that and it kind of made me think about how privileged we are to do this for a living and to be able to pick players and put together a team, and it’s special and made me think of how I got here.
I remember getting here 20 years ago and [Eagles Director, Office of the Chairman/CEO] Lee Ann Hartley brought me into the Vet and I had my first interview. These are special things we get to do and just very appreciative of that and appreciative that we get the opportunity to try to build this football team and get back to a Super Bowl.
Q. There are reports that WR Jalen Reagor has asked for a trade. Can you confirm if that’s the case and can you confirm what his standing is with the team? (Chris Franklin)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Jalen Reagor is a Philadelphia Eagle and he’s going to be here. We want to have good players in that room and good players on this team. He’s worked tremendously hard to get in shape and come into this off-season program, and now he has an opportunity. We don’t anticipate anything changing.
Q. Nick, Howie was just talking about left guard and OL Landon Dickerson and what you have with him and T Jordan Mailata; so assuming he’s staying at left guard, right guard, you have G Sua Opeta, you have G Nate Herbig, you have T/G Jack Driscoll, you have G Isaac Seumalo in the mix. How do you approach that right guard position moving forward? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: We have a lot of good opportunities for guys. Isaac has played a lot of football. We’ll see how everything shakes out. Isaac is coming off an injury, but Jack Driscoll played meaningful snaps, Nate played meaningful snaps. Going back to Isaac, we know how good of a football player he is; [C] Cam [Jurgens] being able to be in the mix there.
We have a lot of good options there. I think the one thing that I am continuously amazed about this place is the depth we have. Not only do we have a great starting offensive and defensive line, which is arguably one of the better ones in the NFL, we have depth at those positions, too, and we needed that depth last year with some of the injuries that we went through. To be able to get down to your third guard or your second guard, and I didn’t even say Sua because obviously he did a great job of stepping in and playing meaningful snaps there, too.
We were watching cutups of our Washington game and Sua and Jordan are working a combination together and that was on the teach tape of, hey, this is what our B-block is supposed to look like.
Very fortunate the depth that we have there. Again, you don’t ever want anybody to get injured, but you really see when somebody does here that the next guy up is ready to go and that’s a tribute to Howie and his staff and the depth that we have, the players in itself and then Coach Stout [Eagles Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland] and Roy [Eagles Assistant Offensive Line Coach Roy Istvan], that they are developing those players.