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By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) —Eagles general manager Howie Roseman met a gathered group of media Monday morning in an oblong table discussion about the upcoming draft on Thursday, April 25.
It could arguably be one of the most important drafts in the history of the franchise. The Eagles are coming off a 4-12 season, a wiped out coaching staff and a new order in Chip Kelly calling the shots.
On Monday, among the most pressing things Roseman stressed during the hour-long Q&A was that the Eagles plan on rebuilding and winning right now, and an underlying theme was not to “force anything,” as was hinted in the woeful 2010 and 2011 drafts.
“We want to compete, we want to compete right now and build it the right way,” Roseman said. “We’re not putting any time table on it, but there’s no lack of urgency on getting this turned around as quickly as possible and heading in the right direction.”
This draft will carry great significance, since the Eagles have been reeling from poor drafts in 2010 and 2011 drafts. The Eagles only got three productive players (Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce and kicker Alex Henery) from those two years. Roseman is hoping Riley Cooper, Clay Harbor, and 2011 first-round pick Danny Watkins could possibly contribute more.
But Watkins has underachieved, 2011 second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett was cut, 2011 third-round pick Curtis Marsh is still on the roster, but has produced little, Casey Matthews (fourth round 2011), Nate Allen (second round 2010) and Kurt Coleman (seventh round 2010) are special team’s players—at best.
Those disappointments sent Andy Reid packing and led to the Eagles current state of disrepair.
Roseman, hopefully, learned a thing or two about those drafts. The lure Roseman, Reid and the previous coaching regime felt the Eagles were to winning a championship caused a different approach.
“What we learned was you can’t force,” Roseman said. “You can’t force your board. You can’t have so much urgency in terms of filling a need that you change the evaluation process. We talked about that a lot. It’s something that we won’t do again. It’s a hard lesson when you talk about those numbers (three starters from those two drafts).
“It’s disappointing to be in that situation. At the same time, we feel we have some guys from those drafts who are going to be major contributors for us going forward. But you have to learn from some of the things that you’ve done. I think we’ve learned those lessons and that’s reflected in what we did last year and that will be reflected in what we do here.”
Roseman said the motives were right in what the Eagles did in 2010 and 2011, but, he insisted, the Eagles short-changed the process.
“When you look back at the teams that do a great job drafting year-to-year, they don’t do that,” Roseman said. “They take some picks that maybe their fans say they had a need somewhere else. Those guys wound up being really good football players for them. We have to go back and look at the draft as a long-term investment for our football team. It’s not just the moment. Obviously, you want guys who are going to contribute right now. But if you project them to be really good players, you don’t know what the future is going to hold. You don’t know what you’re going to need a year or two from now.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.