Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie blow it again. The Eagles won’t get a star in this tantalizing NFL draft. | Marcus Hayes
No Kyle Pitts. No Ja’Maar Chase. No top-flight QB. Thanks, fellas.
Even Howie and Jeffrey couldn’t screw this up.
Then, they did.
Maligned Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and his meddlesome boss, film producer Jeffrey Lurie, Ph.D., had never been less popular. They went 4-11-1 in 2020, fired their Super Bowl-winning coach, alienated their franchise quarterback, then settled on untested, unpromising replacements.
Still, Roseman and Lurie had a chance to placate the enraged masses at April’s talent-rich draft. They held the sixth pick in the first round, and several sexy names would surely be on the board. A playmaker was on the horizon. The only question: Which superstar would they take?
You can’t make this up.
It is, on paper, a smart, sound deal for any team that considers the upcoming season a reload, or rebuild, or reboot. They added a first-round pick in 2022 and a fourth-rounder this year.
Six-foot-6, 240-pound, homegrown tight ends like Kyle Pitts don’t run 4.46-second 40-yard dashes -- wide receiver speed -- on paper. They run them on football fields, where they have the chance to be the next Travis Kelce or Tony Gonzalez.
It’s a dumb, unpopular deal, made by a front office with the same approval rating as dysentery.
The proletariat wanted a star. They wanted one now.
Howie and Jeffrey: “No.”
This infuriated the fan base. Tweets called the brain trust “weasels,” and “dumb.” And those were the kind ones. The most popular was an old standby: “Fire Howie.”
You can’t blame the fans.
Last year, Eagles nation watched the Birds take Jalen Reagor one spot ahead of Justin Jefferson in the first round, then watched Jefferson set a rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards for the Vikings ... who laughed when the Eagles bypassed the most NFL-ready receiver in years. Reagor had 396 yards. The Eagles also drafted Jalen Hurts as Wentz’s backup with their second-round pick -- a less egregious error, but, for many, a less popular one, too. Hurts will play for unknown former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, who replaced Doug Pederson as head coach.
The year before, in the 2019 draft, Eagles nation watched the Eagles take JJ Arcega-Whiteside seven picks ahead of DK Metcalf in the second round. Metcalf has 141 catches for 2,203 yards and 17 touchdowns. JJAW: 14 catches, 254 yards, one TD.
Both Jefferson and Metcalf made the Pro Bowl last year.
For anyone happy that the Eagles now have three first-round picks in the next two drafts -- four, if Wentz plays a lot for the Colts -- temper your joy.
Roseman’s last three first-round picks were defensive end Derek Barnett, taken 14th in 2017; left tackle Andre Dillard, taken 22nd in 2019; and Reagor, 21st in 2020. All disappointments. All drafted well beyond the sixth slot, where these three (or four) pending picks likely will land. However, when Roseman drafted Wentz second overall in 2016 and right tackle Lane Johnson fourth overall in 2013, each became a star. Howie needs all the help he can get.
So yes, the locals have good reason to be restless.
They wanted a big name. A sure thing.
They did not want Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. One Kevin Kolb is enough.
The narrative here is simple. The Birds have drafted one Pro Bowl player since 2013. That was Wentz. However, his 2020 implosion combined with his disgust with the way Roseman and Lurie do business led him to force his way out last month in the worst trade in Philadelphia history. Roseman and Lurie had made generally horrible personnel decisions for years -- lousy draft picks, disastrous free-agent signings, and illogical extensions for aging players, all executed with insufferable arrogance. This has been particularly true since since Super Bowl LII, the winning of which deluded Roseman and Lurie into believing they actually had something to do with it.
Now, even the reasonable contingent of fans who resented Wentz for jumping ship had mostly grown to despise the unqualified Lurie-Roseman power pairing.
With talent like Pitts, the Florida tight end; Chase, the LSU receiver; and the five touted quarterbacks in a top-heavy draft, the masses anticipated the arrival of a savior. None will be there at No. 12.
The Eagles were the finishers of a three-team flurry. The Dolphins had traded down with the 49ers, from No. 3 to No. 12, before repackaging that pick to move back up to No. 6. The 49ers -- in the market to develop a quarterback -- sent their No. 12 pick, along with two future first-rounders and a future third-rounder, to Miami. Then, Miami, which drafted Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall in 2020, moved back up, where they can choose among weapons for Tua at their leisure.
Weapons once earmarked as Eagles.
The report asserted that the Eagles considered trading up to No. 3 and building around BYU quarterback Zach Wilson -- a strategy that could upset Hurts the way Hurts’ arrival damaged Wentz’s fragile ego (but probably not; Hurts is tough). At least they apparently realized every quarterback besides Clemson stud Trevor Lawrence is a 2021 version of Jim Druckenmiller. Good for them.
There’s a chance this actually ends well for the Birds. Roseman could flip some of his picks and move back up. Also, my personal favorites might still be on the board, all from Alabama: receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Then again, Howie and Jeffrey could always trade back further, where even less talent resides.
That would make them comfortable.