Eagles won't draft a QB, right? Don't rule it out

Eagles won't draft a QB, right? Don't rule it out
May 5, 2014, 1:15 pm
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The Eagles have learned their lesson. No more drafting for need. Howie Roseman insisted the organizational philosophy has shifted to taking the best player on the board regardless of position.

“We are going to take the best player,” Roseman said at the NovaCare Complex late last week. "We are not going to force guys up just because we have anxiety about a particular position, because we look at a particular spot on our depth chart and say ‘we don’t have that.’

"Now, I go home at night and think about that all the time. … We’ve got to get past that. We’ve got to make the good long-term decisions. We’ve got to get really good players. When you look at forcing, whether it’s our team or other teams in the league, it doesn’t work.”

The Eagles have the 22nd selection in the first round. They have six total picks for the draft, which isn’t a lot. They don’t appear to be set up all that well. And yet Roseman said, despite the seemingly limited flexibility, that he wouldn’t rule out trading up for the right player (see story).

But there’s another possibility. What if the right player falls to the Eagles?

As Roseman said, every year some team reaches for a player in the first round that a lot of other organizations didn’t have going until the second or third round. (Or, in the case of the Raiders, the fourth round or later. They’re always good for picking some random guy with a multi-syllabic name that no one had going on the first day.) As a result, players you would expect to be off the board sometimes slip. What then? And what if that player is a quarterback?

The prevailing sentiment is that the Eagles are set under center. In 16 career starts, Nick Foles has completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,590 yards, 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Those are great numbers. This number is even better: $635,000. That’s what Foles will make in 2014.

If Foles plays the way he did last year, he’ll be in line for a fat new contract in the 2015 offseason. That feels like the probable scenario at the moment: Foles performs and the Eagles keep him around.

But a lot can change between now and the end of the draft. What might happen if a quarterback slips and ends up within reach of the Eagles? Chip Kelly recently mentioned his unrequited love for a certain Texas A&M signal caller. What if he’s not the only person in the organization with hearts in his eyes when it comes to one of the quarterbacks on offer?

“When you look at the quarterback position, you have situations where teams feel, ‘I’m going to take the best player and I’m going to come back and get one,’” Roseman said. “I think, if you need one, the hard part about that is, if you’re anticipating getting one in the second round, you don’t know what the teams in front of you are going to take. And if you’re really committed to getting a certain guy, are you willing to lose him? I think that’s the interesting part of this draft. How many go before we pick and how many teams are jockeying to get their guy?”

That last line is worth reviewing. How many go before the Eagles pick? Phrased a different way, who might fall to them that they’d have interest in? According to Roseman, there’s debate within the organization about whether there are three or four first-round talents in this quarterback class.

And while Johnny Manziel and some of the other top-tier QBs are predicted to be off the board by the time the Eagles pick, it’s easy enough to imagine a scenario where one or more quarterbacks of note slip. It’s happened before.

“Aaron Rodgers is the best example,” Roseman said. “They had Brett Favre. They went and said, ‘We’re taking the best player. He’s our eighth-rated player on the board, and we’re going to take him [with the 24th selection].’ And so, for me, I’m very comfortable with that process.”

Roseman is comfortable with that process. Which means the Eagles are comfortable with that process. Which means Foles might be a little less comfortable than everyone thought.

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