Eagles' Roseman looks for high-motor defensive lineman in draft
It took about 30 minutes into an hour-long interview for Howie Roseman to use the term “high motor.”
It took about 30 minutes into an hour-long interview for Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to use the term "high motor."
It's a draft phrase often used to describe relentless defensive linemen, but it's become shorthand for some who mock the Eagles' selecting of prospects labeled as such who have ultimately failed to produce.
Roseman, during a predraft sit-down with reporters Thursday, listed a number of tweaks the Eagles have made to their evaluation process.
They will stress film study over predraft events like the combine and all-star games. They won't be as stringent in devaluing players with minor character concerns. And they will take the best player on their board even if he doesn't address a specific need.
The Eagles need an impact defensive tackle, though, and this year's draft is supposed to have a handful of them. Roseman called it the deepest position in the draft. But there are prospects with upside that are seen as inconsistent and there are less flashy players who would seem to fall in line with what the Eagles are looking for.
"We are looking for guys who can get off the ball, guys who can bend . . . a high motor, guys who have an affinity for playing the game," Roseman said. "That's defensive linemen in general, not just defensive tackle."
That would seem to eliminate a defensive tackle such as Memphis' Dontari Poe or North Carolina's Quinton Coples, a defensive end several NFL insiders have projected to the Eagles at No. 15.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox or South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram would appear to fit Roseman's description of the kind of player the Eagles are looking for to play for defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
But the Eagles have been burned on undersize defensive linemen.
"We still have high hopes for the defensive linemen we've drafted," Roseman said.
Brandon Graham, though, is the only defensive lineman the Eagles have drafted in the last six years who remains on the roster. And the defensive end, despite Roseman's statement that he "looks great" in his return from knee surgery, is still a great unknown.
The other problem with getting Cox or Ingram is that both are expected to go in the top 10. The Eagles, with two second-round picks, have the wherewithal to move up. But they have to find a partner.
All this, of course, is assuming they really want a defensive lineman. The Eagles have covered their bases at most positions. So it wouldn't be a surprise if they drafted at almost any spot if they truly went strictly by their board.
But Roseman made it clear that there will be some leeway.
"We're going to take the best player on our board as much as we can," Roseman said. "Now there's obviously some variations in that. If you have guys very closely graded, and you don't have anyone at that specific spot, you're going to take that position."