Eagles general manager Howie Roseman held his annual predraft media confab today.
As one would expect, Roseman took pains not to say anything that might tip the team's hand, a week before the start of the three-day draft. But your Eagletarian came away feeling the Birds really won't bend over backward to draft an offensive lineman in the first round.
Yes, the Eagles need right side offensive line help, but Roseman kept emphasizing the depth of the o-line talent this year, in contrast to other positions. The Birds' two other big needs are at cornerback and on the defensive line. Roseman agreed that impact corners usually go in the first round. And he said that though there are quite a few first-round worthy d-linemen, the quality of the group drops off after that.
Conclusion that I'm jumping to: If the Eagles stay at 23rd overall, don't expect them to take an o-lineman. Of course, the Birds haven't actually drafted in the 20s since they took Lito Sheppard 26th in 2002. Since then, if they're in the 20s they trade up or trade down.
Could the Eagles end up trading down into the second round and making an o-lineman their first pick of the draft that way? Seems very possible. In fact, Roseman indicated that so far, there has been much more interest from teams wanting to trade up from early in the second round to 23 in the first -- some of them hoping to draft a quarterback -- than from teams ahead of the Eagles who'd like to move down.
I went into the session thinking there would be more pressure than ever to draft for need this year, since there has been no free-agency, and trades are not allowed because of the lockout. Roseman took a contrary view -- "At some point, you're going to have another avenue" to address need, Roseman said, with hundreds of veteran players unsigned. He noted that usually, the big-time free agents are signed by the draft, leaving the burden of addressing unmet needs on the draft. He doesn't see that this year.
Other Roseman highlights:
*The Eagles have traded out of their first-round spot six of the last eight years. Roseman said that since most draft-day trades are picks for picks -- something that is still allowed -- there is no reason why not being able to trade players will affect draft-day trades.
*Roseman was asked about not being able to trade Kevin Kolb, which might have netted the Birds an extra first-round pick this year. "Everybody's dealing with the same conditions," Roseman said. But obviously, everyone isn't trying to trade a quarterback. He praised Kolb's team-first attitude.
*Roseman said when the Eagles are trying to assess injury or character concerns in a potential draftee, they try to "make sure we know everything." Asked about Colorado corner Jimmy Smith, whom the Birds invited to NovaCare for a visit, Roseman called Smith "a good guy to talk to ... He's got good energy." But did Smith satisfy any Eagles concerns about a couple of arrests? "We'd like to keep as much of that internal as possible," Roseman said.
*The Eagles not only trade their first pick, they make a lot of moves involving picks deep in the draft, almost every year. Asked why, Roseman said: "A.D.D." but then he said the team tries to envision scenarios that crop up during the draft, so that they are not making trade decisions "on the fly."
Look for more in Friday's Daily News.
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