There have been some questionable draft picks. There have been some major free agent signings. But there’s been no bigger acquisition by Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman than the trade this week with the Cleveland Browns to move up in the draft for the second overall pick. The move presumably sets the Eagles up to select the franchise quarterback they have lacked for close to a decade.
Many draft analysts and NFL writers seem to like the trade for Cleveland, a team in dire need or as many draft picks as possible, while opinions are split on how the Eagles did here. With the draft still six days away, right now it’s impossible to say who’s right and who’s wrong. There have been two proven paths to winning the Super Bowl. One is acquiring a franchise quarterback that leads the team to the greatness, and the other is building an elite defense that keeps the team in every game it plays. For the better part of the last 10 years, the Eagles have been caught in between with average quarterback play and average defenses and have fielded average football teams. This has resulted in no playoff wins since the 2008 season. This trade puts the Eagles in position to draft either Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz to potentially be that franchise quarterback. It’s the ultimate high risk-high reward move from Roseman who traded the eighth overall pick this year, a third round pick this year, a first round pick in 2017 and a second round pick in 2018 to pull it off.
| Yong Kim/Philly.com|
Roseman has made some good moves and
some not so good moves, but this one
will determine if he succeeds as an executive.
If this works, it will be easy to forget some of Roseman’s big misses in the draft in prior years. Passing on Earl Thomas for Brandon Graham and drafting Danny Watkins in the first round in 2011 won’t hurt as much. But the inverse is that if this move doesn’t work, then some of Roseman’s better decisions like drafting Fletcher Cox in the first round in 2012 and Bennie Logan in the third round in 2013 won’t be as helpful. The Eagles were one of the more active teams in free agency this year. Bringing in guard Brandon Brooks and safety Rodney McLeod were their two biggest signings and each one made sense looking at the age of both players and the team’s desperate need for a guard and a safety. Both may very well work out, but there’s no one position in sports that impacts team success more than quarterback in football.
In five years, this trade could look like a no brainer for the Eagles if Goff or Wentz is taking the team deep in the playoffs. But the alternative outcome could drive the franchise into a deep hole that will take a while to dig out of. So often do we like to grade trades like this and talk about the winners and losers the minute the news breaks. But, the grade this time is an incomplete for the Eagles. Roseman is hinging the team’s future on one of these two quarterbacks, and it’s time to see what that future holds.