April 23, 2020: We all wanted it. CeeDee Lamb on the board and he’s somehow falling. Ruggs and Jeudy are off the board. Lamb is there and it is time for pick 17.
The Dallas stinkin’ Cowboys are now on the clock. We all knew what was going to happen, we just didn’t want to admit it. We all said, “they have other needs”…this, that, and the other. And then we heard the selection.
Mass hysteria broke out on Twitter. I went into a blind rage temporarily. Oh, the things we said. Fast forward to our pick, and it is Jalen Reagor, WR out TCU. This guy who seems to get a ton of hate in this draft class. Without getting into too much detail, he was the right pick. Pierre did a great job covering Reagor’s excellent fit in Philly and why he was the selection for the Eagles, so give that article a read for more extensive information on that.
Now back to our pick and the immediate aftermath of the Cowboys landing Lamb, many of us shouted and screamed all types of things about Howie and his “lack of aggressiveness” in pursuing a trade-up for Lamb. This lack of aggressiveness turned out to be a false perception among fans considering the comments Howie made following the events. I called the man Coward Roseman for crying out loud. However, when you intently listened to his comments following the selection, you gain a clearer view of what happened and why?
Here’s the quote:
“We’re very aggressive in working the phones and having these conversations with teams and trying to figure out where we can move and when we can move,” Roseman said. “It just has to work for both sides obviously, but we are also very comfortable sitting here and taking a player that has a great skill set for what we’re looking for. Like Coach [Pederson] just said, we knew there were a lot of talented receivers in this offense and there is a lot of different flavors, and this was the one we felt could really help our football team in multiple ways.”
So after all the chaos and panicking, it’s the sensible thing. You get the idea that Howie was not comfortable with giving up whatever was being asked for. The hesitancy to give up more picks makes a lot of sense for where the Eagles are now in 2020.
Why? Well in 2018 and 2019, we had a total of ten draft picks. After winning Super Bowl 52, many believed we had a deep roster, and for the most part that was true. However, for two years, ten total picks is not an ideal scenario to find yourself in as an NFL franchise that is in win-now mode. We did not have as many chances to supplement our roster with as much depth as we would have liked. Of course, the bevy of injuries to key players has held us back in some ways too. That being said, the reason we had limited picks was justified when it was to go get our franchise QB, Carson Wentz, in 2016. Ultimately though, were we truly okay with giving up even more assets to get ONE wide receiver, even if he happens to project to be a great one?
Keep in mind that it is very likely that trading up for Lamb would have cost the Eagles two or three draft picks (likely between 2020 and 2021). Giving up two out of our eight possible picks in this year’s draft would have essentially meant that Lamb was the only WR drafted by the Eagles this year. Logically, does that make sense? Yes, he is great and is likely going to become a legitimate superstar but is our WR problem solved with the addition of just one WR?
We did not address the position all off-season, passing on some very intriguing options like Breshad Perriman, Demarcus Robinson, and Amari Cooper among others. We lack depth in the group. Currently, we have two aging, oft-injured WRs on our roster (Alshon Jeffrey and Desean Jackson). JJ Arcega-Whiteside had a disappointing rookie year, to say the least, and while many expect him to make a big leap forward with the coaching and roster changes, the Eagles cannot put themselves in a vulnerable position by adding only one player to the WR group as it stands at this moment.
Call it what you wish, but say we did go get Lamb and he happened to get injured in 2020, do we want to see the Practice Squad WRs playing significant snaps again? The silver lining of staying at #21 is that it leaves us with the possibility of adding another WR this year and giving ourselves more depth and security, This 2020 draft class may go down as the best and deepest class in history, so the situation was not exactly a desperate one. Would it have been nice to go get Lamb? No doubt about that. At the end of the day though, whether you are talking football or life in general, you must be able to make the smartest possible choices based on your current circumstances to avoid putting yourself in a compromising situation in the future. Logically, I believe Howie made the right choice for the Eagles in 2020 and beyond.
We still have our seven other selections, and we have our new dynamic speed guy in Reagor. We can breathe a little easier, Howie is not doing too bad. He can fill out the roster and address our other needs without feeling like he HAS to make the absolute most out of fewer picks (again). He can take his time, roll up his sleeves, and go get us another WR without having to do it at the cost of addressing other positions of need.
In the long run, Howie Roseman made the smart choice regardless of what we thought initially. And as Eagles fans, myself included, we have to be able to admit that we can be wrong. We may think we always know the best possible move, but when you break things down and give yourself a chance to gain a further understanding of the full picture, it all makes sense. We’re going to be just fine.