By Peter Gleason
The Eagles have essentially cooked their own goose.
According to Geoff Mosher at EaglesNest.com, the Birds have tabled their search for a personnel chief and aren’t expected to hire until after the NFL draft — almost three months from now! — according to several league sources familiar with the situation.
And that means that Howie Boy Roseman has unfettered control of the draft board!
The Eagles, who have no scouting chief after firing coach Chip Kelly and top personnel executive Ed Marynowitz on Dec. 29, are looking for a high-ranking senior executive to lead the scouting department and determine the fate of current scouts, per sources, but they opened their search at a time when NFL teams are knee deep in the pre-draft process and would be reluctant to allow a top personnel executive to leave.
So the Eagles, who are marching forward with first-time head coach Dough Pederson, have temporarily suspended their search, which is significant for two reasons:
1) Even with the team’s insistence upon a “collaborative” process, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman will have final say on all of this year’s free-agent signings and draft selections.
2) The Eagles are prepping for free agency and the draft with an incomplete scouting department, one that also lacks a college scouting director.
Right now, the team’s top talent evaluators are Roseman, Tom Donahoe and Pederson. Roseman went a year without having any say in personnel decisions after losing a power struggle to Kelly last January and Donahoe, promoted from senior adviser to senior player personnel director while the Eagles are without a personnel head, has mainly patrolled the northeast and hasn’t done much field scouting across the country.
The highest-ranking college scout on the staff is Trey Brown, who was promoted by Marynowitz last June to assistant college scouting director. The team didn’t need an official director because Kelly was so heavily involved in scouting college prospects.
The Eagles have several scouts and front-office members who were hired under Kelly but face uncertain futures when the Eagles reopen their search for a scouting department leader.
One issue the new hire will face is making an evaluation of the current staff after the draft and free agency have already taken place. The top executive will have missed the opportunity to see how the scouts and executives work.
Industry sources also believe Lurie and Roseman will face the same challenge of finding a qualified candidate as Kelly did last year in looking to replace vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble, who was fired right after the season.
Several candidates turned down the chance to work under Kelly, who eventually promoted Marynowitz.
The Eagles have been plagued by turnover and instability in the front office, especially during Roseman’s rise to power, and league sources believe the team’s reputation for fostering a toxic environment signals a red flag to potential candidates.
After the 2014 season, Lurie fired Gamble after just two seasons and without ever specifying the reason. Gamble was a known ally of Kelly’s while a feud was brewing between Roseman and Kelly.
At the Jan. 19 press conference to introduce new head coach Doug Pederson, Lurie said the Eagles were about to embark on a search for a personnel head. Lurie didn’t give specifics on the amount of power the hire would have or whether Roseman would still have final say on the 90-man roster.
The Eagles opened their search last week in Mobile, Ala., with Lurie making a rare appearance at the Senior Bowl along with the rest of his staff. Team brass spoke with several candidates, including multiple discussions with Steelers pro personnel coordinator Brandon Hunt.
Hunt, entering his seventh season with the Steelers, is highly regarded around the league but lacks the experience of a top personnel executive.