THE MOST important person in the Eagles organization for the next four months isn't going to be Carson Wentz or Fletcher Cox or Doug Pederson or vice president of football operations Howie Roseman.
It's going to be Joe Douglas.
For those of you who don't recognize the name, Douglas is the Eagles' vice president of player personnel. He was hired last May by Roseman to run the team's scouting department.
I know what all of you Howie haters are thinking right now. You're thinking, so what.
You're thinking even if this Douglas guy actually knows what he's doing, he still reports to Roseman, and Roseman still will make all of the final decisions on free agency and the draft.
And that's true. Roseman acknowledged as much Wednesday during a long-overdue Q&A with the media.
"It will be a collaborative effort when we talk about who we are picking," Roseman said Wednesday. "But at the end of the day, the responsibility is mine."
The thing is, though, you don't need to have final say to influence decisions if the guy who does have final say respects your opinion. And Roseman has given every indication he respects Douglas' opinion a lot.
He gave him an early unprompted shoutout at his news conference, calling his May hiring "a huge addition." You don't do that if you just brought him in to be a hood ornament.
"Bringing Joe here with his insight, with his leadership, his ability to lead the draft room, his ability to put the free-agent board together, we think he's going to be a huge addition for this staff," Roseman said.
"He's already added valuable input into what he's looking for in players, what he thinks he can bring to this team, and we can't wait to see what he has in store for us in March (when the free-agent signing period gets underway)."
The people who hate Roseman because he never played the game should love the 40-year-old Douglas, who started 45 games at offensive tackle for the University of Richmond. He just looks as a football guy should look.
More important, he spent 16 years as a scout with the Baltimore Ravens, who have one of the most respected scouting operations in the league under general manager Ozzie Newsome, and another year as the Chicago Bears' director of college scouting before joining the Eagles.
Their assistant general manager, Eric DeCosta, called Douglas "a scout's scout." Mike Mayock, the NFL Network's longtime draft analyst, called him "a pure old-school talent evaluator."
Shortly after taking the job, Douglas brought another product of the Ravens' scouting department on board, hiring Andy Weidl to be the Eagles' assistant director of player personnel. Weidl had spent 11 years as a regional scout for the Ravens.
"The first thing he did was bring in Andy to have someone who spoke the same (scouting) language," Roseman said. "They've both got tremendous presence.
"Joe's got a way of looking and evaluating players that is different than what we've done in the past. And quite frankly, we needed that. He has full rein to set the draft board. He's involved in every discussion we have about building this team. And I think we'll start seeing dividends."
I asked Roseman to be a little bit more specific about the difference in the way the Eagles have evaluated players in the past and the way Douglas evaluates them. His answer, though, didn't really address the question.
"I think when we look at the success the Ravens had - and certainly they've won two world championships (in 2000 and 2012) since the start of the century - what they're looking for and the trades they're looking for in particular positions fits the way that this city is built, too," he said.
"We want to find whatever ways there are to improve this team and to improve the quality of players on this team. And I'm really confident that we have the right people on our scouting staff to do that."
Mayock on Douglas: "I respect Joe a lot. He was an offensive lineman and is very much a grinder. He doesn't BS coaches, players or cohorts. He knows exactly what he is looking for at every position and the type of personality that he wants."
The Howie haters see his lips move, but don't believe the words coming out. They don't believe he will listen to anyone but himself when it comes to making personnel decisions.
My feeling is he wouldn't bring in a guy as highly regarded as Douglas unless he was willing to listen to his advice. And I think Roseman will listen to him. But we'll see.
"He runs the player personnel department and he reports to me, so we meet every day, a lot of times a day," Roseman said. "He's able to funnel down the information and the thought process that he has with his scouting staff. And our job, and really my job, is to help make the decisions. I'm really excited for him to put his own spin on it. I think that's already started."