The Metamorphosis of Howie Roseman
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — For the most part Howie Roseman receded into the background last year after Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided accountability was the litmus test which was gong to prove whether Chip Kelly was an innovator or a snake-oil salesman.
Except for one instance, the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, which was held in March about seven weeks before the 2015 NFL Draft when the silly season was just heating up. In '15, of course, Marcus Mariota was on the tip of everyone's tongue in Philadelphia despite the fact the Eagles were sitting at No. 20 overall.
Here's what Roseman had to say at the time when asked about potentially handing over the kitchen sink for one player.
“The history of trading up for one player, when you look at those trades, isn’t good for the team trading up and putting a lot of resources into it," Roseman said.
Yet, the Eagles have already tried to trade up to No. 1 overall this time around but finished as runner up to the Rams and there is little doubt that calls to Cleveland are picking up with great frequency, all in an effort to land that "one player."
So what's changed in '16 other than Roseman is back pulling the strings instead of Kelly and Mariota has been replaced by Carson Wentz in all the rumors?
The simplest answer is obviously nothing other than the fact Roseman now trusts the guy who is making the franchise-changing decision ... himself.
But there are subtle differences like collaboration in that the Eagles have made a decision as an organization (Lurie, Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson) this time around and it isn't exactly a controversial one, the realization that you cannot win consistently in this league unless you have the answer at the quarterback position.
Kelly surmised the same but it was in a dictatorial framework so there wasn't as much confidence in his decision-making, although if the now-49ers coach could have pulled it off Lurie wouldn't have stopped Kelly from implementing his vision.
Either way the Eagles' sustained period of success under Andy Reid coincided with Donovan McNabb under center and that's no coincidence. The organization has simply not been the same since Donovan's descent as a player began.
The second part of the equation is that Roseman admitted Monday in his fireside chat with reporters, including 973espn.com, that it's his job to find players that his coaching staff covets.
The Eagles not only brought in Pederson as head coach but also former quarterbacks Frank Reich (as offensive coordinator) and John DeFilippo (as QBs coach) in an effort to get bright minds at the position in order to evaluate the talent in this year's class.
And two NFL sources have confirmed that Pederson believes Carson Wentz is the real deal and a future star at the quarterback position, meaning if Los Angeles takes Jared Goff at No. 1 and the North Dakota State star is available with the second pick, Philly remains in play to move up whether it's with Cleveland or San Diego if the Browns go position player.
Pederson, who also spoke Monday, talked glowingly of both Goff and Wentz but couldn't help expanding on his preference ... Wentz.
“These guys are pretty even, in my opinion,” Pederson assessed. “From all the physical tools, both of them are extremely gifted there – good arm strength, good mobility. Obviously, Carson is a little bigger, maybe a little better athlete right now. There’s not much separating those two."
“(Wentz has) got everything you want in a quarterback at this level,” the coach continued. “You never know. Quarterback is a unique position at the National Football League level. Guys come in here and there’s an expectation level that they have, there’s an expectation level that we have as a coaching staff. I like him, I like his arm strength, his mobility, he’s a bigger kid. I think he’s got all the tools to be an NFL quarterback.”
Change is really the only constant in life but Roseman's metamorphosis over the last calendar year is the most startling since Kafka took pen to paper.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen