The Eagles had one of the more interesting draft classes. General manager Howie Roseman is known for his wise team-building strategies and the draft has been a key part of that component.
Philadelphia put together another solid draft class that can help the franchise stay atop the NFC East, which is always one of the more competitive divisions across the board. The selections of wide receiver Jalen Reagor and quarterback Jalen Hurts caught many by surprise, but the post-draft comments from Roseman helped ease any concerns of the two prior the draft.
The Eagles’ complete 2020 draft class:
- No. 21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
- No. 53: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
- No. 103: Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado
- No. 127: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
- No. 145: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
- No. 168: John Hightower, WR, Boise State
- No. 196: Shaun Bradley, LB Temple
- No. 200: Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss
- No. 210: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
- No. 233: Casey Toohill, OLB, Stanford
In this new series, I will analyze quotes that stuck out the most from executives’ pre- and post-draft press conferences. Below are quotes from Roseman.
Roseman: "I think you see the separation on tape. You see the vertical separation as an outside receiver and those things are hard to find. When you look at this draft and guys who can just separate as an outside vertical receiver, there’s not a lot of those guys. They’re hard to find. Obviously, a guy went really high who has explosiveness and speed [in Ruggs], but he was going to go [long before the Eagles picked].
"Coach and I, after the season ended, we talked about our desire to bring some youth onto the football team and add some speed, and Jalen [Reagor] has those things. This was a very good receiver draft and there were a lot of different flavors. It was like going to Dunkin Donuts and picking out your favorite doughnut. There were a lot of good players in the draft, but Jalen [Reagor] fits something we were really looking for. An explosive guy, ability to contribute as a runner and as a returner, the ability to be explosive with the ball in his hands. These were all things we were looking for and things coach really wanted to stress."
Analysis: One of the Eagles’ worst kept secrets was selecting a receiver early on in the draft. Justin Jefferson was the commonly pegged to Philadelphia in most mock drafts, but they elected to go with Reagor. His ability to easily separate, his explosiveness and what he brings as a return specialist caught the front office’s eye.
Reagor was a do it all threat at TCU, but he was far from just a receiver. Outside of his normal duties as a wideout, he received many manufactured touches on jet sweeps, quick tosses and carries out of the backfield as a running back. All of these factors are exactly what the organization has missed especially down the backstretch of last season when Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson were both sidelined with injuries. Playing with young, inexperienced, and less talented players down the backstretch, the steam still managed to win the NFC East, but it was clear that the team needed an upgrade on the perimeter for Carson Wentz.
Question: The selection of Hurts is going to come with plenty of backlash, but what went behind the pick, and did you talk to Carson Wentz about it before or after?
Roseman: "We’re not looking for Carson’s replacement. I hope Carson plays till he’s 40, 42 years old. We just feel like this is the most important position in sports and we think this player has something to him. Someone said this to me that’s a successful money manager or stock guy or something, and they said when you hedge on something it’s always expensive and everyone always complains about hedging or buying insurance until they need it."
Analysis: The Eagles selecting Hurts would've been the last guess among many, but these words from Roseman were some of my favorites of any post-draft press conference. Along with everyone else, he witnessed the team’s first Super Bowl victory on the shoulders of a backup quarterback rushed into emergency duty during the postseason.
Hurts is a carbon copy of that type of insurance behind Wentz, especially considering his inability to remain healthy over the duration of an entire season. There aren't many young signal-callers across the league that are willing to embrace a backup role behind a franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future, but if there's one that would fully understand his role, it's Hurts.
He's already witnessed a similar situation when backing up Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama and was able to have success when unexpectedly thrust into action. Everyone hopes Wentz goes on to have a long-lasting, healthy career, but it's also safe to have a dependable backup option to help the season stay afloat.
For more “General Manager Speak,” see Cincinnati, Miami, Detroit, Arizona, New York, Giants, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina, Oakland, San Francisco, Minnesota, Atlanta and Green Bay’s executives discuss their 2020 draft class.