Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

The Philadelphia Eagles own two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft thanks to the shrewd maneuvering of general manager Howie Roseman and the mistakes of the New Orleans Saints.

The draft will take place in Kansas City, MO from Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29, but months of speculation and rumors lead us up to one of the most important three-day windows on the NFL calendar.

Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer spoke on the The Anthony Gargano Show about the lure of the draft that captivates fans every year. 

“I get why fans love it because there’s the optimism of the new players that come in without any marks, typically, against them. I feel like that’s the main thing, and you feel like you can get instant help, or especially in the first couple rounds, you get players who can come in and contribute right away.”

McLane put it pretty simply: “A lot of people like to play GM.”

The long-time Eagles beat writer certainly knows his audience. However, one thing sometimes gets lost among all the smoke screens that appear in the news cycle every April:

The Eagles’ draft history tells you a lot more about their interests than any draft rumors do.

The positional priorities of former head coach Andy Reid have carried into the era of Howie Roseman. The Eagles have shown a rigid commitment to building successful rosters based on what’s worked in the past, and their preferences are never more obvious than at the NFL Draft.

When you think about the appeal of drafting an exciting running back like Bijan Robinson with the 10th-overall pick versus the boring decision to take an offensive lineman, consider 11 revealing trends in franchise history.

  • Eagles Love the Lines

    Andy Reid won more games than any other coach in franchise history during his 14-year tenure in Philadelphia. He kickstarted the organizational philosophy that NFL teams win and lose football games in the trenches. 

    In nine of the 14 drafts during his tenure, the Eagles picked an offensive or defensive lineman with their highest selection.

    Howie Roseman hasn’t forgotten what he learned from Reid. The Eagles have taken linemen with their highest pick in five of their 10 drafts since moving on from Reid.

    Will the trend continue when the Eagles are on the clock with the 10th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft?

  • The Quarterback Factory

    As much as Howie’s infamous “quarterback factory” line got under the skin of Philadelphia fans in 2020, the pick ultimately landed the Eagles their new franchise quarterback in Jalen Hurts.

    Hurts was originally taken as a backup to Carson Wentz. The pick aligns with the consistent priority the Eagles have placed on the backup quarterback position by spending significant money on free agents Nick Foles, Chase Daniel, Joe Flacco, and Marcus Mariota.

    The Eagles have also selected Kevin Kolb and Clayton Thorson at two different points with their expected franchise quarterback already in place. For better of for worse, they do not take stability at the quarterback position for granted.

  • Spending High Picks On Defensive Tackles

    There’s also preferences among the linemen.

    Howie Roseman spoke openly about his roster-construction strategy on the first day or training camp before the 2022 season.

    “I think you’ve seen over the last few years an increased emphasis from us as a front office in interior pass rushers.”

    He had just traded up to the 13th-overall spot to select Jordan Davis three months earlier. The heavy emphasis on the defensive tackle position helped the Eagles reach Super Bowl LVII.

    The Eagles took three defensive tackles in four years with Mike Patterson in 2005, Brodrick Bunkley in 2006, and Trevor Laws in 2008.

    They picked the best defensive tackle in franchise history before Reid’s last season in 2012. Fletcher Cox has earned six Pro Bowl nods in 11 seasons in midnight green.

  • Lesser-Known Trend Along the Offensive Line

    NFL teams generally value tackles more than interior offensive linemen, and the Eagles know a thing or two about assembling an effective offensive line. Coach Jeff Stoutland’s unit is widely called the best in the NFL.

    The Eagles, however, haven’t spent as many high premium picks on offensive tackles as you might think. Reid had the luxury of Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas as the pillars of the offensive line for nine consecutive season from 2000-2008.

    Jason Peters and Lane Johnson also gave the Eagles excellent stability for a long period of time, and Roseman struck gold with Jordan Mailata in the seventh round in 2018.

    The circumstances haven’t called for tackles as often, but the Eagles still take great pride in their decision to take Lane Johnson with the 4th-overall pick in 2013. The four-time Pro Bowler has outperformed 1st-overall pick Eric Fisher and 2nd-overall pick Luke Joeckel by a mile in 10 NFL seasons.

    The Eagles swung and missed with Andre Dillard in 2019, but don’t be surprised if they try again with Paris Johnson Jr. in 2023.

  • Minimal Value for Running Backs

    Fans of Bijan Robinson might not want to hear this, but it would take a gigantic and unlikely exception to the organization’s philosophy to select the Texas star with either of their two first-round picks.

    The Eagles scooped up two of the best running backs in franchise history in the third round by selecting Duce Staley in 1997 and Brian Westbrook in 2002.

    Andy Reid spent early picks on Ryan Moats and LeSean McCoy. He considered Moats, a third-round selection in 2005, a potential replacement for Westbrook.

    McCoy became the franchise’s all-time leading rusher after he was taken in the second round in 2009.

    Howie decided Miles Sanders was worth a second-rounder in 2019, but the next-highest pick he’s spent on a running back in the past decade is a late fourth-rounder on Donnel Pumphrey.

    The Eagles did take Keith Byars with 10th pick in the 1986 NFL Draft. The fact that they also took a running back in the second round that year tells you how much the league has evolved since then. 

  • No Safeties

    The Eagles picked JaCoby Stevens with a compensatory sixth-round pick in 2021 and K’Von Wallace with a fourth-rounder in 2020. They’ve barely touched the safety position otherwise in recent history.

    Andy Reid failed to replace Brian Dawkins by spending second-round picks in back-to-back drafts on safeties with Nate Allen in 2010 and Jaiquawn Jarrett in 2011.

    Roseman took Jalen Mills in 2016 and Nate Gerry in 2017, but both college safeties spent more time in Philadelphia at different positions.

    The Eagles spent a few mid- and late-round picks on safeties during the Chip Kelly years, most notably on current Buffalo Bills star Jordan Poyer.

    You have to go all the way back to the second round in 2002 when the Eagles took Michael Lewis to find the last homegrown safety who became a key contributor. They also drafted Dawkins in the second round in 1996.

  • Tight End- An Unexpected Wild Card

    Would the Eagles spend a premium pick on a tight end in the 2023 NFL Draft?

    Pat Egan recently spoke on The John Kincade Show about a nugget shared by Zach Berman.

    Zach Ertz was coming off his fifth NFL season and his first Pro Bowl at age 27 when the Eagles selected Dallas Goedert with the 49th-overall pick in 2018. Goedert is now 28 years old after five NFL seasons, and he has finally established himself as one of the top tight ends in the league.

    The focus on the tight end position in 2018 had a lot to do with losing Trey Burton in free agency and Brent Celek to retirement after both backups played key roles during the 2017 season and the run to Super Bowl LII.

    The historical precedence could mean something in Kansas City this weekend if the Eagles aren’t satisfied with role players Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra as the backup tight ends in 2023. Consider the Eagles sleepers to select a tight end.

  • Waiting To Draft Linebackers

    The Eagles haven’t drafted a true linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979. Andy Reid spent scarcely on linebackers during his tenure in Philadelphia, and the position has lost even more value in the modern era of the NFL.

    Don’t expect the Eagles to draft a linebacker with either of their two first-round picks on Thursday night, but recent history does show reasonable value for the position.

    They’ve selected Mychal Kendricks in the second round in 2012, Jordan Hicks in the third round in 2015, Davion Taylor in the third round in 2020, and Nakobe Dean in the third round in 2022.

  • Cornerbacks- One Shining Memory

    The Eagles thought outside the box ahead of the 2002 NFL Draft.

    They had one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL with Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, but they spent their first-rounder on Lito Sheppard and their second-rounder on Sheldon Brown. They even spent their other second-rounder on Michael Lewis one pick before Brown.

    Taking three defensive backs in the first two rounds when they already had one the best secondaries in the NFL seemed crazy at the time.

    It seems a lot smarter in hindsight considering Sheppard and Brown became a reliable starting tandem for an extended period with the Eagles beginning with the unforgettable 2004 season.

    The Eagles barely missed a beat when Vincent and Taylor walked in free agency, and Lewis also made one Pro Bowl in five seasons.

    They look set for the moment on the outside with 32-year-old Darius Slay and 29-year-old James Bradberry, but Christin Gonzalez from Oregon makes sense as a long-term option.

    If the Eagles don’t address the future of the secondary in the first round, they probably won’t wait very long afterwards. Bo Wulf spoke about the possibility on The Best Show Ever.

    “I think cornerback in the middle rounds is almost definite.”

  • Wide Receivers- Finally Getting it Right

    Andy Reid famously missed by taking Freddie Mitchell in the first round in 2001 with Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, and Steve Smith (the better one) still on the board. He didn’t try again until 2009 with Jeremy Maclin.

    More recent history is much more prevalent. Roseman also missed badly with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in 2019 and Jalen Reagor in 2020.

    He redeemed himself by taking DeVonta Smith in 2021 and trading a first-round pick for A.J. Brown in 2022. The position finally looks set for now, at least for the early rounds.

    However, is Howie bold enough to stack the offensive weapons for his newly-signed quarterback? Jamie Lynch and Pat Egan have gushed over the thought of another top wide receiver like Jaxon Smith-Njigba working with Jalen Hurts.


  • The Creativity of Howie Roseman

    Howie Roseman has landed the Eagles with an excellent stock of draft capital with supreme confidence to think outside the box. He will never be the type to stand pat when there’s a move to be made. 

    The move to acquire A.J. Brown in 2022 blindsided a lot of people, and you could see a splash at the 2023 NFL Draft too.

    Howie might trade out of the 10th-overall spot. He might make a move to go after Will Anderson or Jalen Carter. He might trade back from 10 or from 30 to fill the void of picks in rounds four, five, and six.

    He wouldn’t be the same GM that’s led the Eagles to multiple Super Bowl appearances if he didn’t have something up his sleeve on Thursday night. 

    “If everyone’s doing the same thing, you’re probably not getting any competitive advantages…and now we’re spending a lot of time going, ‘All right, how can we zig when they’re zagging?’ We don’t want to buy into the narrative that everyone else is because you’re buying into an overvalued market. So we’re trying to kind of look at those things to be different. I think it’s okay to be different.” –Howie Roseman 

Sign me up for the 97.5 The Fanatic email newsletter!

Become a Fanatic MVP to get the latest info on the Philly Sports landscape, plus access to exclusive content and member-only contests.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.