Sunday, May 1, 2011
Posted: 3:34 p.m.
By Reuben Frank
David Akers wont sign his transition tag? The Eagles drafted one of the best kickers in college football history. Desperate for a right guard? They found one in the first round. Quintin Mikell is a free agent? They believe they discovered his replacement just a few miles up Broad Street. Huge need for young athletic linebackers? They took three of em.
As usual, nobody will know for a couple years how good of a draft the Eagles had this weekend. No matter what the self-professed experts conclude, no draft can truly be evaluated for a minimum of two years.
But theres no question the Eagles addressed areas of need. The Eagles picked three offensive linemen, three linebackers, a safety, a cornerback, a fullback, a tailback and a kicker during the three-day, seven-round draft.
Late Saturday night, when the dust had settled on his second draft as Eagles general manager, Howie Roseman spent some time with CSNPhilly.com and talked about who the Eagles picked, who they didnt pick, and what still needs to be done.
Q: It was surprising you guys didnt come out of the draft with a defensive lineman. What was the thinking there?
Roseman: Its kind of like the offensive line last year. We knew there were a good amount of players at the top of the draft and they may go really quickly, because its hard to find defensive linemen in this draft, and then we didnt want to just force one for the sake of taking one, because it really fell off at some point. And we have some guys on our team that if we would have put in this draft that we would have had higher ranked than the guys on our draft board. So we didnt want to force it. Well look at all the avenues to improve our team, well re-evaluate our roster after this draft, well see if there are any areas we need to address and if there are, well target them.
Q: You did draft a cornerback in the third round, Curtis Marsh from Utah State, but hes only been a corner for two years and its hard to imagine him being ready to start right away. Why not draft a starting corner?
Roseman: Were aware that youre not going to fill every need in the draft, and if you come out of the draft filling every need you probably didnt have a very good draft. Were going to explore all avenues to improve our team and were aggressive by nature, and I think that were going to try to make sure were going to have the best possible team when we line up. Were fortunate that right now it doesnt end. At some point here, there will be ways here to address some of these needs -- some perceived, some really obvious that you have.
Q: How much of a project is Marsh?
Roseman: Really, to get a 6-foot corner, 200 pounds, 4.4 (speed), productive in his conference and as you talk to people who know him and are around him, really its a blank canvas with him, and thats exciting. Its really hard to find cover corners with that skill set -- 30 (Wonderlic) test score, bloodlines, long arms, great athlete, and he can play. So we were excited to get that guy. Its hard really to put a third-round pick in and count on him as a starter anyway, so were looking at him as someone whos an addition to our team and hopefully in the future come in and have the opportunity to compete for a job.
Q: But if you lined up tomorrow, who would your starting cornerback be opposite Asante Samuel?
Roseman: You know what, were not lining up tomorrow and were going to have competition on this team, and Andy always says well go with what we see, and theres a lot of time before the first game. Its going to be exciting to be a Philadelphia Eagles fan here, and were excited about where we are now and we know we have a lot of room to grow and improve. And were going to do whatever it takes to make sure we put a championship-caliber team out there.
Q: You made your usual allotment of trades four of them this year but the most interesting was in the fourth round. You trade this years fourth-round pick, No. 104 overall, for Tampas fourth-round pick, No. 120 overall, and a fourth-round pick in 2012. So you essentially got a fairly high pick next year a fourth-rounder just for moving down 16 spots this year in the fourth round. How did you pull that off?
Roseman: What happens is that there are some talented guys on the board when you wake up (Saturday) morning, and teams have higher grades than the fourth round on them and if you have a guy with a second-round grade and youre in the fourth round, to go and make sure you get that guy, obviously thats an appealing thing, because you cant use a fourth and a fourth to get a second-round pick. So they obviously felt it was a very beneficial trade for them, we have a great relationship with the Tampa Bay Bucs (and General Manager) Mark Dominik, and it just kind of worked for both of us. If we can have a pick in the same round and obviously parlay it into a pick next year, thats something were always going to try to do.
Q: You guys havent stopped raving about Jaiquawn Jarrett since you picked him. How good can he be?
Roseman: When you talk about Jarrett and the type of player he is, we really feel like were getting a hammer, a Dawkins or a Quintin Mikell-type of player. Hes going to fit in perfectly.
Q: Its extremely rare for anybody to draft a kicker in the first four rounds. That pretty much guarantees hell make the team, which pretty much guarantees that David Akers wont be here?
Roseman: When you look at Alex, you look at a really productive player, a very successful kicker, punter at the college level. All that other stuff is stuff for another day. Weve always said were going to draft the best players. Were going to come back at some point and re-evaluate our roster, see what we need and go attack it at some point.
Q: OK, you guys cant contact undrafted rookie free agents. You cant trade players. You cant negotiate contracts. You cant contact veteran free agents. You cant talk to your players under contract. You cant hold minicamps or OTAs. The draft is over. What do you do next?
Roseman: I have a two-week-old son that I think if they put a lineup of fathers would not be able to pick out his own father, so thats a good thing, to be able to spend some time with my family and get back to being a dad. But weve got a lot of work to do in terms of going back and having a redraft at some point, therell be undrafted free agents. Weve got to re-stack our board, thats exciting for me and the scouts to do. At some point, therell be guys who will hit free agency and weve got to make sure were up on that. Weve got a lot of work to do here. Theres no lack of work for myself and the people who work for the Philadelphia Eagles. ... I preach control what you can control, and Ive got to act that way. It is what it is, and were going to make the best of the situation and were going to be prepared and ready to go for whatever outcome, and when the bell rings, whenever that is, well be ready.
Q: So you plan on being active in free agency?
Roseman: There are areas weve got to address on this team. Were not blind to that. Were not a perfect team. But when we line up and play, I think well be pretty good.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org
Related: Didinger: NFL draft winners and losers recap Picking a kicker likely slams door on Akers' return