The Eagles draft record over the last five years has been abysmal to say the least. Quarterback Carson Wentz is the only pick that’s made a Pro Bowl since the 2016 draft and he got traded this offseason.
General Manger Howie Roseman has drafted just one defensive Pro Bowler in nine drafts leading up to this year. That was tackle Fletcher Cox with the No. 12 overall pick in 2012.
The Birds were 4-11-1 in 2020, finishing last in the NFC East, the worst division the NFL has seen in recent memory.
So he needed a home run to keep a mob from gathering at NovaCare. Thursday night Roseman looks like he touched all the bases when he was able to work a trade with division rival Dallas Cowboys to jump from the No. 12 spot to No. 10 and snag Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, a wide recveiver out of Alabama.
Roseman said during the offseason that he wanted to stockpile assets when he traded out of No. 6 last month when he agreed to acquire the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, a fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall), and a 2022 first-round pick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick this year and a 2021 fifth-round pick (No. 156 overall).
The Birds may have three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft (their own, from Miami (Dolphins' original pick), and from Indianapolis in the Carson Wentz trade).
None of that means anything if you don’t select the right players…which Roseman has failed to do in dramatic fashion for years.
Thursday night, when quarterbacks Justin Fields and Mac Jones drifted out of the top 10, Roseman realized he may miss out on the last player on his first-round wish list. The Giants were sitting right in front of the Birds at No. 11 and were certainly going to grab Smith.
Roseman called the Cowboys and sent the No. 12 selection plus a third-rounder (84th overall) to Dallas to move ahead of Big Blue and select Smith at No. 10 overall. The Giants traded back to 20 and took Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney, indicating their intention was to take a wide receiver in the first round.
Picking Smith may be the first step in his comeback. Roseman talked about trading with the Cowboys, the Eagles No 1 rival.
“I think the first part about us trading up is obviously the more you trade up in the round the more you're going to have to give up,” Roseman said via Zoom. “By the same token, when you trade in the division you understand that you're not going to get any values to that either. It's going to have to work for them as well.
“I think when you're dealing with the draft, you’ve got to do what's best for your team, and obviously they thought this was the best move for their team and that's why they did it,” Roseman continued. “They got who they wanted, and we got who we wanted, and it's always been a good relationship. It's respect for their organization and certainly Mr. Jones, Jerry (Jr.), and Steven (Jones). We have a lot of respect for them as well, competing against them.”
Smith, who recorded 235 receptions in 54 career games, 3,965 yards and a SEC record 46 touchdowns, said he was surprised when he watched the Eagles trade up to get him.
“I was shocked that they had traded up for me,” said Smith, who will be reunited with his former teammate Jalen Hurts. “I was really like, if they traded up for me then they see something that they like. So I was really excited and it's a blessing. And Jalen, that's my guy. Been with him in my time at Alabama. Even when I was a recruit he was the guy trying to get me to come to Alabama. That's my guy. I have a great relationship and I'm ready to work.”
Eagles fans can’t wait as well. *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii