Howie Roseman came out of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft looking pretty good on Thursday night.
While Roseman has his shortcomings as a general manager, maneuvering around the draft board to maximize value has never been one of them. And he ended up doing that very well in the first round this year.
The Eagles began this pre-draft process with the No. 6 pick. They ended up with DeVonta Smith, a player worthy of that spot, and a first-round pick in 2022.
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That’s not too shabby.
As a reminder, the Eagles traded back from 6 to 12 back in March, picking up a first-rounder from Miami in next year’s draft and then on Thursday night, used their second of two third-round picks to get back to No. 10.
Here’s a look at where the Eagles started and ended:
Eagles gave up: No. 6 (Jaylen Waddle), No. 84 (third-rounder), No. 156 (fifth-rounder)
Eagles got: No. 10 (DeVonta Smith), No. 123 (fourth-rounder), 2022 first-rounder
“I think when we made the trade from 6 to 12, we really had to make a list of guys that we would be really happy to take at 12,” Roseman said on Thursday evening.
“From March to draft day, a lot has changed. I think at the time, maybe we thought there would be more quarterbacks going, to be honest with you, before we picked. At the same time, we also had to project what would go in front of us, what we thought would go in front of us. We talked about it … as much as we look at the mock drafts, even more importantly, we make sure that we do our board and we have 12 players that we really like.
“DeVonta was standing out on our board, his grade, the type of player he is, the type of person he is. We just wanted to make sure we got him. We just think he can be a difference maker on and off the field for our football team.”
The night started off in decent fashion for Roseman on Thursday. Kyle Pitts went to the Falcons at 4 and then Ja’Marr Chase went to the Bengals at 5. That means that the Eagles played that trade-down correctly and didn’t miss out on two players who have the potential to be generational talents.
If Chase went at 6 and became a stud, it would have been tough for Roseman and the Eagles to live it down.
But after those two picks, things started to get a little sketchy. Just those first three quarterbacks came off the board and then three of the betting favorites for the Eagles came off nearly in succession at 6-8-9.
6. Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
8. Panthers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
9. Broncos: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
With those three players off the board, the other top option for the Eagles was Smith and they recognized that he wasn’t going to get past the Giants at No. 11. So the Eagles pulled off a trade with their most hated rival, the Cowboys, to move in front of them. The Cowboys moved down to 12 and took linebacker Micah Parsons from Penn State.
“Obviously, the more you trade up in the round, the more you’re going to have to give up,” Roseman said. “By the same token, when you trade in the division, you understand that you’re not going to get any values to that as well.”
None of this means that Smith will be a star or will even work out in the NFL. But that’s not the success we’re talking about tonight. We’re talking about how the Eagles successfully maneuvered around in a draft that wasn’t a great situation for them. Howie did a good job here.
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