Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni and Andy Weidl
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Long night. Excited to have these two guys. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do here the next couple days. Open to any questions.
Q. The WR A.J. Brown acquisition, was it dependent on how receivers fell off the board or what was the temperature going into the night? (Josh Tolentino)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: The trade was contingent on us getting an extension, so something we were working on during the course of the Draft. We were just kind of trying to balance finishing that and if we didn’t finish that, making sure we also got the right players. But it didn’t matter – the receivers on the board. For us, [WR] A.J. Brown was somebody that we had studied coming out and spent a lot of time on, and we had a lot of love for A.J. Brown in that Draft. Obviously, things went a different way in that Draft.
But really excited to get him just in terms of how Coach [Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni] can use him and his vision for A.J. Brown in this offense and how he complements the other guys that we have here. As you guys may or may not know his relationship with our quarterback, all exciting things. Looking forward to getting him into Philadelphia.
Q. You gave up six Draft picks for two players. Why do you feel comfortable doing so? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think first, you have to think about where those Draft picks are and the hit rates on those Draft picks. All Draft picks are not created equal. It’s not like we gave up six first-round picks. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair to just say six picks. It’s where they are.
Then for us it starts with [DT] Jordan [Davis]. Jordan was a Top-10 player on our board. For us, O-Line, D-Line. We wanted the best O-Line in the league, and we think we are on our way with the players we have on our roster and hopefully continue to add to that. And we wanted the best D-Line in the league. The combinations we can have with the players on our roster, it’s exciting.
JG [Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon] does so many things, so many virtual things with three down, four down and you can have alignments where you can have Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] and Jordan and Hargrave [DT Javon Hargrave] in three down with edge players. And you still have [DT] Milton [Williams] and [DT] Marlon [Tuipulotu] from last year, hopefully I’m not forgetting anyone, and BG [DE Brandon Graham] and [DE Derek] Barnett. Those are the first guys coming off the bus and they are going to be followed by our offensive line. That’s exciting.
Q. Big question with DT Jordan Davis is how he can affect the passing game. What did you see at Georgia that would lend you to think that he can be a factor in the passing game? (Zach Berman)
ANDY WEIDL: We spent a lot of time in Georgia this year. Our scouts, [Eagles Director of College Scouting] Alan Wolking, [Eagles Southeast Area Scout] Phil Bhaya, they went down there and did a great job going down there initially.
Then Howie went down there and myself went down there, saw them play at the SEC Championship, and then went to the pro day. And I think when you see a guy with that type of size, athleticism and explosion that loves to play the game, he did what they asked him to do in their defense. He fit the bill. He made them strong in the middle of the defense.
But you saw the lateral quickness, you saw the range, you saw the ability to get down on the line of scrimmage and run down running backs and hawk down quarterbacks. So, we think he has it in his body, the explosion in his body. We’re excited to get him in here and get him in our program.
Q. Andy, we have seen people struggle to come up with a comp for him because he’s such a unique player. Did you guys have one? (Dave Zangaro)
ANDY WEIDL: He is unique. You said it, Dave. There are not many guys that come around with his size, athleticism and explosion and the ability to run. His pro day workout was exceptional. Impressive guy.
I think even more so from the workout was how he was with his teammates, watching him down there, watching him interact, the personality come out, the teammate he was and how players were drawn to him and how authentic he was and the personality. We brought him in here also on the visit, and we felt the same way in the comfort level with the player and with the person.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think also sometimes people talk about how much he’s potential more than production, but I think this guy was Top-10 in Heisman voting, Outland Trophy winner. This was a dominant college player too for a dominant college defense. So excited to add him. As you can see a lot of excitement on my face.
Q. Nick, to get an established receiver like A.J. Brown to pair with WR DeVonta Smith, how important was that for you guys during the off-season, getting someone like that? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, excited to have him on this team. He plays with great play strength. This guy, this is a strong man. He’s quick for a big guy, and he catches everything. Those are things that really stick out from his tape. There’s no projection there. It’s like, ‘Well, this is what he’s going to be in the NFL.’ No, you’ve seen it. You’ve seen it for three years now. And it’s just exciting to put on his tape and watch him.
So can’t tell you how excited we are to be able to work with him on that offensive staff and have him on this football team, and he can help us become a better football team.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Can I tell them the A.J. Brown story from the first time we watched him together? I think we were halfway through the first game, and Nick went like this, “I’m good, I’m good. You guys need anything? I’m going to go get something to eat.” And I go, ‘Coach, can you sit down and finish this?’ And he goes, ‘I will.’ I know this guy.
For us, the conversation’s about was it a priority to get a veteran receiver. It was a priority to get the right players. And this for us was the right player and right fit. I can’t tell you that we were going to definitely draft a receiver in the first round. We had some other players that he were looking at here. But I think we felt like this particular player, this particular person, the fit was really good for what we had and what we were looking for.
NICK SIRIANNI: We finished watching the tape, but it doesn’t take long when you put the tape on. It doesn’t take long to figure out what you got there.
Q. How tricky is it when you’re trying to figure out the trade and the player and you’re working on the contract at the same time against the deadline? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I don’t know. [Eagles Senior Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] and [Eagles Vice President of Football Communications] Brett [Strohsacker], you saw me walk out about 40 times, and it was getting tight. It was really getting tight. And we were just trying to balance it all, and I’m very fortunate to have a great staff.
Those guys, you know, they keep me covered when I’m doing something else. And we had a plan, and so it wasn’t like, you know, anything was on the fly. We had a very detailed plan. I thought this whole group did an unbelievable job of organizing and detailing everything.
We made it like coaches on game day, and we knocked it off. Boom, boom, boom. When the opportunities came, it wasn’t hard because we had made these decisions in calm times.
I think the hardest part was trying to balance it all and the timing that was going on and trying to be fair to the Titans as well. Obviously, they had to make a pick and get on the clock if we were going to make this trade.
A lot of credit to [new Eagles WR] A.J. [Brown] and his agents for getting this deal done as well because this wasn’t like we had weeks to do. It really kind of came about quickly here.
Q. How close was it? You said it was tight. Like how? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Pick 12? 15?
ANDY WEIDL: Yeah.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah. 15.
Q. When a player of his caliber is available, as good as he is and as young as he is, obviously the question is why are they willing to trade him? How do you rectify and answer that? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think that when we trade for a player, that’s one of the questions we try to answer ourselves and try to say, why are they getting rid of him? And I think from our perspective, just the relationship we have with the Titans and [Titans Head] Coach [Mike] Vrabel and [Titans General Manager Jon Robinson], those guys are straightforward guys.
I think for them, because the amount resources we had and they are trying to accumulate some of those resources as well, I think they thought it made some sense for them at the time. And, you know, obviously with all these players, contract’s a big issue. When you have a young quarterback like we do, you can be a little bit more aggressive with contracts than maybe you can when you’re paying a quarterback.
Q. Do you have any concerns with all the injuries he’s had over his career? Did you do any pre-draft medical work on him that gave you concern? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We did do pre-draft medical. That’s why we do all this work on these players. We never know the opportunity to get him, and we did work now. You’re talking about a guy who’s going to turn 25 years old and been highly productive.
Listen, there’s no guarantee or insurance on any of this stuff. We know what kind of player he is and what kind of competitor he is, and we know what he adds to our football team. Anything you do there’s risk, but that’s who we are going to be, we are always going to be aggressive and we are always going to take shots on guys that we believe in, and we believe in A.J. Brown.
Q. When you traded up for Jordan, did you perceive the Ravens as a threat at any point? Is that why you wanted to make that move to go up a couple of spots? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No, I think that for us, it was just important to get the player. And so, we’ve been in draft rooms – all of us – where you get cute and you miss out on a guy. We just felt like this guy added so much to our team and completed our D-Line to the extent that we wanted to go roll into places in the NFC East.
For us, it was just we didn’t want to take that risk. Not sure if they would have picked him, if they didn’t pick him. Obviously, they got a great player and they do a great job in Baltimore. Just this made sense for us.
Q. When you talk about Jordan, Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman mentioned how Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon likes to use multiple fronts, Andy. How important was it to get that zero technique, one technique, that fit for his particular scheme? (John McMullen)
ADAM WEIDL: A guy like that he keeps you strong down the middle of your defense. And having that strength down the middle of your defense is critical. It starts inside, it starts at the point.
And then I think also I wouldn’t limit him to just the point. The guy has the ability to move and play different spots along the defensive line. He has that type of athleticism, the length, the speed and the lateral quickness to do that.
I wouldn’t say just limit him inside at the nose, but he does make us stronger there and I think he has the versatility to move up and down the line of scrimmage and help us there.
Q. What’s the genesis of the trade talks for WR A.J. Brown? Was it the free agent contracts or the big trades back door in free agency? Or was this more recent? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: In terms of our conversations with Titans? I think when you’re talking to teams and you go down to league meetings and then you’re talking to teams through the Draft, you talk about a lot of things. There’s a lot of conversations that don’t amount to much. I think at the end, as you get closer to the Draft, everyone kind of has a vision of what they want to do.
I think for us, as we looked at this draft class and we looked at our roster and we said, ‘If we were going to add offensively, what we were looking for?’ [Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni] has a vision, and he has a vision for kind of what we are going to look like offensively, and this guy was just a good fit for us.
Q. What is it about A.J.’s skill set that fits the offense the way that you see it? And how will he and WR DeVonta Smith complement one another? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s exactly what it is, it’s a good complement. He’s a bigger guy with a lot of play strength. Like I said, this is one of the stronger receivers in the NFL. I was on the opposite sideline of him twice a year in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. So, I saw it up close and personal, and then obviously we did our due diligence on tape.
But, yeah, there’s a lot of different things that because of his skill set, because of that play strength, because of that body quickness that he has and just the major – the biggest asset that he has is the one that’s so vital to the position. If you can’t catch the ball, you can’t play. And this guy catches everything.
And so, we can see him on a lot of different routes that fit our offense that uses that play strength, that uses that quickness, and that’s where he’s so tough. You want guys that can win one-on-one matchups. And this guy has shown in the NFL that he will win one-on-one matchups. Again, I know I keep saying it, but it just sticks out. The way he wins with his play strength, the way he wins with his quickness.
Him and [DT] Jordan [Davis] are going to be the first ones to get off the bus because just look at the way they look. Coming off the bus, they are going to be intimidating getting off that bus.
Q. You now have three guys that are going to obviously want to catch the football, and that includes TE Dallas Goedert. How much do you want to change the offense, from what has been a rushing offense, to a passing offense? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’ll do everything we need to do to win the game at hand, and I’m not – there’s not a number I want to put on there to say, ‘Hey, I want to throw it 50 percent of the time and I want to run it 50 percent of the time.’
Again, you do want to be as balanced as you possibly can, that way you’re not giving anything away to the defense. But we know we have a strong running game as well, and that’s going to be something that we continue to rely on.
But we just added to our passing game. We were, I believe, 25th in the NFL in passing [last year], and you don’t ever want to be that low in anything because, again, you’re predictable to the defense.
Again, I’m not going to say numbers of what we want to be or anything like that because very rarely does it play out that way. But I know our passing game, that we know we needed to improve, took a big step forward tonight.
Q. How does it help DeVonta to have A.J. on the field? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Most definitely, I think when a guy goes into – has a really successful rookie year and goes into his second year, he’s not a secret anymore. And no one thought [WR] DeVonta [Smith] was a secret, he won the Heisman Trophy. But there’s still a prove it factor for a lot of these defensive coordinators in the NFL.
I saw it with [Chargers WR] Keenan Allen. He had a little bit of a slip from year one to year two, just the fact the defenses were keying on him a little bit more. This is going to make that an awful lot harder for defenses to do with the proven commodity like A.J. Brown on the opposite side of him.
I think most definitely this helps, obviously, our passing game and this helps DeVonta. It’s just good for the Eagles.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t want to forget, we have a lot of other good players besides just DeVonta and [TE] Dallas [Goedert] and A.J.; young skilled guys that we are excited about, too.
Q. The Top-10 was static. There were not any trades and all of a sudden there were a bunch of trades. From your perspective, why do you think there was so little movement in the Top-10 and so much movement afterwards? (Mike Kaye)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Sometimes it’s hard with the way that these charts are and the price to move up. Usually if you’re going to move up into the Top-10 and pay the price that historically has been paid, that’s usually for quarterbacks. It’s hard to do that and teams are sitting there and they are going, ‘Hey, am I going to pass on these good players and maybe not get full value what the chart says?’ I think that plays a part in it.
You also need dance partners all the time and I think that’s one of the things like there’s moments to make trades and trades are hard to make in this league and timing plays a big factor in trades. So, obviously not in the Top-10 to speak to those specific discussions, but I probably guess that’s why.
Q. Of course you have more picks to make, but this is a big haul for a first night. Does this change the narrative for you of what the 2022 Eagles can be? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [Jokingly] That’s a deep question. That’s like deep thoughts, Saturday Night Live stuff. I don’t know.
We have two more days to go here. We have a lot of work to do. Obviously, when we started with ten picks and we’re at six; I think [Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel] Andy [Weidl] and his staff are a little mad at me right now for that. Let’s just see what happens here. But we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of areas we want to continue to improve on this football team. That work’s not going to stop. It’s not going to stop Saturday, it’s not going to stop Sunday and it’s not going to stop really until the trade line. Even then, we are going to look at the waiver wire and keep working, try to get better.