By Theodore N. Beitchman
Like most of us in Eagles Nation, I am hoping for the best from the Birds’ eight picks in the just-concluded NFL draft.
Derek Barnett looks like a keeper on the D-line and Mack Hollins could be a game-breaking wideout. But I have no idea if Sidney Jones was worth the gamble on his recovering Achilles surgery — BTW, did you see Ray Didinger and Co. flip out on CSN? What’s up with that?
But one thing I am absolutely sure of:
Joe Douglas is now the de facto Eagles general manager.
How do I know this?
All you had to do was watch his pressers without the sound Thursday and Friday nights after the Eagles’ selections were in — just watching the body language between Douglas and de facto Eagles big boss Howie Boy Roseman!
Douglas is a big and brutish-looking, shaved-head professional who made his bones as an NFL man under the Ravens’ Ozzie Newsome.
Roseman is a slight, accountant-looking child of a general manager wannabe who made his bones only to trust fund owner Jeffrey Lurie and has been a borderline disaster as a talent-spotter.
If you think that is too harsh, so be it.
I have never thought Roseman had the experience or talent to run a football team in this sports-crazy town. Only someone like Lurie, who had previously given his childhood BFF Joe Banner reigns to the team, thinks he does.
The verbiage used by both at the dual-pressers was stark:
Douglas giving fact-based reasons for the draft picks:
“The thing that jumped out, to me, was look how much he [Derek Barnett] can finish,” Douglas said Thursday. “First, he’s got a great first step. And then when he gets to the top of his rush, he’s able to bend and close, and finish. Just very strong.”
“Lightning feet. Great feet and great hands,” Douglas explained at his post-draft press conference on RB Donnel Pumphrey. “And don’t let the size fool you: this guy, he’s a little dog that thinks he’s a big dog, and he plays that way. I love the way he plays.”
And then there was Roseman, whose answers were filled with arglebargle like “draft board” and “going forward” — what’s the option, going backward?
“Yeah, our staff, we have a really good staff. They were working hard throughout. Guys I had worked with before, Doug had worked with a lot of those guys before, a larger staff than what we’re used to having. So we had guys really double back on a lot of players. We were able to really kind of keep the main thing the main thing on guys and really focus in on guys on our board, and so I think that the one thing you look at it as it’s a lot of time and you talk to other people in the league and how engaged they get and what time of the year they get. We don’t think that was a factor. The biggest factor to us was not having as many picks in the early going as we used to, so we felt like later in the draft taking shots on guys in the seventh round, really having the best undrafted process we’ve ever had, became a priority to us. We’re excited about that, and we may have done it a little bit in terms of taking guys that we thought maybe had a chance to really have a role and had athletic tools but needed to be developed.”
And the optics were stunning.
Douglas giving an answer and then the whiny Roseman with his faux southern accent looking up and smiling like a little kid trying to please his big brother or father.
As I said, I don’t know if this draft will be a game-changer for the Birds on the field, but it certainly gives me comfort to know that an adult is finally in the room.