So Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman held a pre-draft talk with reporters on Thursday, and the takeaway seems to have been that the Eagles are going to try and draft good players this year instead of reaching to plug roster holes. From Geoff Mosher:
"I think when we go back in our draft, sometimes we have probably drafted based on need, based on some circumstances," Roseman said. "And we're trying to make sure we’re taking the best player available now going forward."
"If we just stick to our board and take the best player, we'll have good drafts," he said.
The sense here is that Roseman and his staff have spent countless hours this season sizing up past misfires, especially on defense, and examining strategies used by other teams that have historically drafted well.
I think, in general, drafting good players is the way to go. The teams that have the best players are very often the teams that perform the best during actual games. So, if the Eagles have had some sort of epiphany that will lead them to select the best possible player when their pick comes around, well, good for them. This approach works for the Giants, who use the draft not as a means of repairing immediate roster holes, but of building a deep roster that can regenerate itself over time.
Thing is, I think this is all a bunch of noise. I'm sure the Eagles, like pretty much every team, have sometimes drafted for need, and have sometimes drafted for value, taking the best player available. Geoff thinks today's comments indicate that some soul-searching has gone on this offseason in the Eagles' front office, and it's entirely possible. Watching Jason Pierre-Paul eat the league alive while Brandon Graham struggles to get on the field, that's the kind of thing that makes you re-assess.
But I think this is just Roseman saying something that sounds good. The Eagles don't know exactly what they're going to do next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, because almost no team does. They're picking 15th. If there's a guy available at 13 that they had ranked fifth, and they're worried the Cowboys are going to take him at 14, they'll probably try and trade up to get him. The draft is impossible to predict, and the best thing you can do is prepare your board and stay as alert as possible to make sure you maximize the value of your picks. If I had to guess, that's what the Eagles plan to do in this year's draft, and the rest is pretty much just chatter for chatter's sake.