Eagles general manager Howie Roseman talked to us about a wide range of issues Tuesday, including outside criticism of Jaiquawn Jarrett’s ability in pass coverage, thoughts on Curtis Marsh and the future of Quintin Mikell. Some of that, which didn’t fit into today’s story, is below.
For the most part, though, our focus was the draft, how he decided on Danny Watkins and whether the Eagles tried to move up in the first round, specifically to get Prince Amukamara, who fell all the way to the Giants at 19.
What emerged was Roseman’s telling of how the draft came together, which I wrote about today. We thought it was worthwhile to get the perspective of one of the team’s top decision makers, even though it comes with an obvious pro-Eagles gloss.
It wasn’t surprising that Roseman talked about how much the team liked Watkins all along. What would have been stunning would have been if he, or any GM, said, ‘actually, we really liked this other guy but couldn’t trade up and so we settled.’
Who should be the Eagles’ top target in free agency?
|Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (Raiders)|
|| 1370 (81.3%)
|Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (Bengals)|
|| 171 (10.1%)
|Defensive end Ray Edwards (Vikings)|
|| 50 (3.0%)
|Defensive end Jason Babin (Titans)|
|| 60 (3.6%)
|| 34 (2.0%)
Total votes = 1685
Still, that doesn’t mean Roseman doesn’t like the Watkins pick. He made a convincing case, to me at least, that if the Eagles were going to choose at 23, they were thrilled to have the Baylor guard.
“That doesn’t mean there weren’t other guys that we really liked in this draft, but we were really excited to get him with our 23rd pick,” Roseman said.
What was less clear was how hard the Eagles pursued a move up in the first round, to either get Amukamara or one of the pass rushing defensive ends that came off the board. I think you can be pretty sure that the team, which loves to make moves, at least poked around to find out what the going price was for a higher pick. It can be true that the Eagles liked Watkins at 23 (which Roseman said) and also true that they checked into moving up (which he was less clear about).
“You always look into what things would cost to get up there, but we felt very comfortable,” picking at 23, Roseman said.
Which could mean one of several things:
-- the Eagles tried to move up and couldn’t find a willing trade partner
-- the Eagles looked into moving up and decided they liked Watkins and their full complement of later picks better than the guys in the 15 to 22 range -- which would imply that they weren't enamored with any of the guys there, including Amukamara.
Getting anyone in the organization to say this close to draft day that they tried to move up is unlikely: it would require them saying they attempted a move and failed, and send a signal that Watkins was a fall back option.
“We felt comfortable where we were in the draft about getting a good player (Watkins) and we really liked having the flexibility of having a bunch of these picks,” later, Roseman said.
On other issues:
Roseman on the questions about Jarrett’s speed and ability to cover NFL receivers:
“He’s got a great feel for routes, so he’s positioning himself where that’s not an issue. You didn’t see it on the field.”
There’s a lot of debate about whether Jarrett could have been had later. It all hinges on how he plays. If he turns out to be great, no one will complain that Roseman should have waited until round 3 or 4 to pull the trigger – fans will just be happy to have him on their side. If he plays poorly, the mistake will be magnified.
On Mikell’s future:
When we asked about safety, Roseman listed every player at the position – naming Jarrett, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson and even Jamar Adams – before he got around to talking about Mikell.
“Obviously at some point he’s going to be a free agent, and when you have an opportunity to get a player that’s the best available player at that position, that’s something that we just felt we had to do,” Roseman said. “We have a lot of respect for Quintin Mikell as a player and as a person.”
But it didn’t sound like they have much interest in keeping him on the team.
On Curtis Marsh and his relative inexperience at cornerback, having just moved to the position in 2009:
“You don’t watch the tape of Curtis Marsh and feel like this is a guy who’s not an experienced player.”
While the Eagles passed on Miami corner Brandon Harris, considered small for the position, Roseman said Marsh has “prototypical height, speed, athletic ability, length.”
“You put on the tape and he’s got a feel for the game … it’s hard to get corners in any round that can do that sort of thing.”
On potentially spending big money for Nnamdi Asomugha, with the team already paying a big salary to fellow cornerback Asante Samuel:
“Everything’s a trade off. If you’re going to put a lot of resources at a particular position, then obviously you’re not going to be as strong elsewhere. You’ve just to go think about your team and think about what your priorities are.”