NFL teams invest millions of dollars and thousands of hours of manpower into preparing for the NFL Draft, yet the process remains as inexact as ever. There are busts every season, at every position. Even the best general managers and scouting departments have a lists of mistakes.
The Eagles cut both of their top picks in the 2011 draft (Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett) before their third NFL seasons. They're still waiting on significant production from Brandon Graham, who was their top pick in the 2010 draft. In fact, the team has only three offensive or defensive starters from the 2010 and 2011 drafts. They have more from the 2012 draft alone, if including nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin.
General manager Howie Roseman studies why some picks work and some picks don't, and explained last week that teams can force a pick on a player because they want him to be something that maybe he isn't.
"The error was that you want something, you want a particular position, so you force guys up and you continue to watch them," Roseman said. "When I look back at, certainly, our misses, you look at stuff that were kind of terminal factors, whether it's guys beating up on guys because they were older, whether it's guys who couldn't run as well (as needed), whether it's guys, when you look at their testing, had such stiffness that they unable to overcome it."
Roseman noted there are flaws in every prospect. He calls himself a "glass-half-full evaluator," yet even the No. 1 overall pick can be picked apart. So everyone has a weakness. The question is what weaknesses are teams willing to overlook.
"I think it becomes more apparent to you when you go back and look at it that you were trying to force something, you were trying to find something that wasn't there," Roseman said. "That's why the best process for us is when it all matches up. So when the play on the tape matches up also to the measurables, matches up to the production, then you feel good about it. I mean, there's no insurance on it, but you feel good about it."