Could Eagles really take QB in first round?

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
8:00
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles general manager Howie Roseman made a couple of media appearances last week that were worth reviewing for the insight provided into the team’s offseason plans.

At first glance, the most eyebrow-raising aspect might have Roseman’s declaration that the Eagles wouldn’t rule out taking a quarterback with the No. 22 pick in May’s NFL draft.

“If we have a significant gap on who the best player on the board is and the next best player, it’s not really not going to matter the next best position because we don’t know where we’re going to be two, three, four years from now,” Roseman told CSN Philly.

Upon further review, that position isn’t as startling as it first appears. Roseman has said consistently for the past couple years that the Eagles would not draft for need again after picks such as guard Danny Watkins and safety Jaiquawn Jarrett fizzled out. Starting in 2012, the Eagles’ policy has been to stick to their grades and take the best player on their board.

That was the explanation when they took tight end Zach Ertz and quarterback Matt Barkley in last year’s draft.

But it’s one thing to take a second-round tight end after signing James Casey in free agency or picking up a young quarterback prospect in the fourth round. It’s another thing entirely to draft a quarterback in the first round. That changes the temperature in the team’s facility -- for Nick Foles, for Chip Kelly, for everyone involved.

Roseman knows that. I suspect he also knows already there is not likely to be a can’t-pass-up quarterback sitting there when the Eagles draft. Quarterback-hungry teams are apt to overvalue the handful of legitimate prospects and snap them up early. If anything, that should help push a couple of higher-graded players down toward the Eagles.

As long as it’s purely a hypothetical, Roseman is smart to repeat his best-player-on-the-board mantra. It is a message worth sending to every player on the roster. After all, every draft pick represents a threat to somebody’s job.

Earlier in the week, Roseman talked to Reuben Frank on 94.1 WIP-FM. A couple takeaways:
  • While he maintains the stance the Eagles don’t want to splurge on overpriced free agents, Roseman acknowledged the team might have to open its checkbook for a safety. And the main reason is that very same draft philosophy. “Ideally, you don't want to go into the draft with a huge hole, because that puts you more susceptible to forcing things or kind of pushing guys up,” Roseman said in the interview. It just happens because you look at the depth chart and you go, ‘I don't have someone at that position. Who's in the draft?’ “ Three Eagles safeties, including starter Nate Allen, are due to become free agents next month. Another starter, Patrick Chung, could be released after an unimpressive first season with the team. The draft is not expected to provide a lot of depth at the safety position.
  • As far as wide receivers, the Eagles face the opposite of their safety dilemma. They really like their free agents-to-be, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, but there is a lot of draft depth at that position. “I think it is complicated, because you have guys that you want to have back,” Roseman said on WIP. “Also, what resources are you going to devote to that position with the guys who are already on the roster? And then you look at it in the draft, obviously a very strong position. It's a complicated situation but we've never ruled out bringing both of those guys back.”

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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