Eagles general manager Howie Roseman met with reporters today in preparation for the NFL draft, which commences a week from this evening.
As usual, Roseman gave few cues about exactly what the team might do. But he talked extensively about the process that leads to making picks, and some of the things he said seemed to offer clues.
For one thing, when the Eagles draft in the first round, whether they stay at the 15th overall spot, move up or move down, Roseman gave the distinct impression you shouldn't expect them to take anybody who might have star-level talent but doesn't always play hard. One of the things the Eagles have learned through trial and error is that you can't teach or instill effort.
(My purely subjective interpretation: don't hold your breath waiting for Quinton Coples, the North Carolina defensive end who was up-and-down despite being huge and talented.)
Roseman, who agreed with draft analysts that defensive tackle is the deepest position in the 2012 draft, said the Eagles' thinking on so-called "character" issues has evolved over the past several years. He said there are some situations that are "dealbreakers," but that the team has learned to make some allowances for "young men in college and their lifestyle."
He said trading for linebacker DeMeco Ryans "gives us some flexibility in the draft," meaning they don't HAVE to take a linebacker high now, but Roseman stopped well short of saying linebacker isn't still a priority.
Consistently since the end of the season, Roseman has beaten the drum for the idea that this year, the Eagles will take the best player available to them in the first round, instead of reaching to fill a need. It's obvious he believes they have strayed from that idea in some drafts, and paid for it by missing on some picks.
Roseman also said he feels that sometimes the Eagles have been swayed too much by the Senior Bowl practices or the Scouting Combine, Instead of basing picks on how players looked on game tape, over time.