One of my favorite musicians and greatest songwriters of all time, Bob Dylan, once sang famously that “the times they are a’ changin’.” If one looks over the past five years of the Philadelphia Eagles’ offseason success, there seems to have been a very emphatic shift which has changed the landscape of the team’s foreseeable future.
General manager Howie Roseman has always been among the greatest to create cap space from seemingly insurmountable deficits as well as becoming widely known as the league’s most dangerous traders. His ability to “fleece” the league has become legendary, but his ability to draft well had come into severe question when multiple years went by and almost every pick was either a bust, overreach or simply a plain miss. Over the last few years, however, the times have indeed “a’ changed.”
Roseman is no longer reaching for unknowns, rather, he is taking the obvious and talented picks at positions of need which have bolstered this team’s outlook and depth. Where once Jalen Reagor was picked, Devonta Smith was selected, and where aging players had threatened to corrode the team, a burst of youth was infused.
Just last offseason, we saw Roseman’s brilliance on full display with his trade to acquire star receiver A.J. Brown via a first round pick followed by his selection of Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Two positions of need and depth were filled by young and talented players rather than the previous strategy: trade for a veteran and sign free agents. Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Chris Long and more were great players for that Super Bowl year, but the strategy was not sustainable to defy time. Now, the strategy seems to be: stock up on draft talent, and do not overthink it!
In the first round of the 2023 draft, Philly made another move to get exactly who they wanted. Following months of anticipation, the Eagles ended up moving up one pick (to the ninth) in order to select the bona fide top prospect coming out of college, Jalen Carter.
Now, Carter’s fall from grace stems from off-the-field issues which were in connection to an accident that his teammate and a team staff member were involved and killed in. Carter has faced charges for having been in a car going well over the speed limit racing the two, who were in another car. The 22-year-old has assured teams and media members that this activity is a thing of the past and will not define his future. This will remain to be seen through his actions, but it is well worth noting that the Eagles are likely the most perfect destination for Carter to have come into with this baggage attached to his name. Not only will veterans such as Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox hold the kid in check, so too will a very disciplined coaching staff, an accountable and exemplary quarterback in Jalen Hurts and, of course, the strong Georgia Bulldogs presence.
With the addition of Carter, the “Georgiadelphia Bull Eagles” have begun to take over the defense as he joins forces with not only linebacker Nakobe Dean but also the aforementioned Jordan Davis and the soon-to-be-mentioned second first round pick.
As the end of the first round rolled upon us, the Eagles were able to draft yet another stud on the defensive line: Georgia defensive end Nolan Smith.
Smith is a heat-seeking missile off the edge and looks like a young version of current Eagle Hassan Reddick. He was highly regarded as a top-15 pick but fell, likely due to a recent pectoral injury that may have shaken some confidence in his prospect. Smith will fit in well with the already star-studded defensive line of the Eagles and has plenty of time to polish his game as he plays amongst Graham, Josh Sweat, Reddick and others.
Roseman has once again shown that his lessons have been learned and that sticking to these principles will pay off in the long run. Can’t wait to see the records this defensive line will shatter this year.
Eagles continued their raid upon all things Georgia by drafting top cornerback prospect Kelee Ringo in the third round and trading for Lions (and former Georgia) running back D’Andre Swift.
Fly Eagles Fly.
Joseph Gill is a fourth year English major with a minor in Journalism. JG923276@wcupa.edu