Howie Roseman was asked during his post-season press conference this week about some mistakes the team made when Chip Kelly was in charge of player personnel. Roseman refused to talk about specific players who are currently under contract — cough DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy cough — but did say, “I don’t have a Delorean time machine to go back in time and get some of those guys back.”
But, what if he did? What moves would Roseman not make if he could go back in time to right the wrongs of the last eight years? The comment during Wednesday’s presser, embedded below, was specifically talking about Chip Kelly destroying the offense with ridiculous moves the owner and neutered front office let happen. But more than just the two years Kelly was in charge of the roster, what moves would Roseman re-do if he was able to go back in time to when he first took over as vice president of player personnel in 2008?
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This is an inexact list — the Sam Bradford for Nick Foles or Shady McCoy for Kiko Alonso trades aren’t on it, for example — but it’s representative of some of the biggest misses for the Eagles since Howie was put in charge, then removed from power, before being reinstalled last off-season.
These are real moves, too, not random hypotheticals, like the Eagles should have traded up from the 35th pick in 2013 when they took Zach Ertz to get back into the late first round to draft a Pro-Bowl cornerback at 25.
So, no, where this Eagles list is going, we don’t need (Xavier) Rhodes. (I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.) Let’s go back to the past to see how we could have helped the Eagles improve the future!
Do not draft Danny Watkins
Of all the first-round busts in NFL history, Danny Watkins may be the most obvious. The 2011 first rounder (23rd overall) was an absolute bust for the Eagles, and while that draft as a whole was rather thin in the first round, the Birds could have drafted running back Mark Ingram, defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson or defensive end Cam Hayward, all taken within 10 picks of Watkins. Passing on the pick altogether would have been better than drafting Watkins.
Do not cut DeSean Jackson
It goes without saying that in the history of dumb things Chip Kelly did or perhaps didn’t do, leaking DeSean Jackson’s alleged gang affiliations so the city would turn on him and it would make it easier to cut the speedy wide receiver is at the top. The Eagles still haven’t recovered at wideout, or on offense.
Avoid Marcus Smith debacle
The Eagles could have drafted Johnny Manziel. Thankfully, they didn’t. But they did pick Marcus Smith with the 26th pick of the 2014 draft, two picks before Carolina took wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin! Oh, and had the Eagles stayed at 22 instead of trading down so Cleveland could take Manziel, they could have drafted Pro Bowl corner Jason Verrett, who went 25th to San Diego. Or they could have traded down again and taken Derek Carr, who went 36th overall that season to Oakland and is an MVP candidate.
Sure, the Birds took Jordan Matthews in the second round, so they found a first-round talent in the second, but nailing the pick they wasted on Smith could have changed the future of the franchise.
The Nelson Agholor pick
Safe to say the Eagles really dropped the ball on this one. (Zing!) While the entire NFL universe thought Chip Kelly was going to mortgage the future to move up to draft Marcus Mariota, the Eagles instead took Nelson Agholor with the 20th pick of the first round, two picks before Pittsburgh took linebacker Bud Dupree, three picks before Denver took Shane Ray and five picks before Carolina took Shaq Thompson. Oh, right, Giants safety Landon Collins went with the first pick in the second round. A lot of teams with they had a time machine for that one.
That’s also the draft the Eagles took Eric Rowe in the second round. Roseman was asked repeatedly about why they traded Rowe this season. He probably wishes he had a Delorean to go back in time to figure out a better answer for that one.
There are not enough time machines in the world…
Trading Lito Sheppard
The Eagles brought in big-ticket defensive back Asante Samuel in 2008, and while that was a smart move at the time, it made Lito Sheppard expendable. Trading Sheppard wasn’t a huge surprise given how the team used him in 2009, but this paragraph by Len Pasquarelli at ESPN should make anyone want to go back in time to undo the move:
Sheppard, a first-round draft choice in 2002 draft, appeared in 93 games and started 53 of them. He has 253 tackles, two sacks, 18 interceptions, and 54 passes defensed. The recent re-signing of cornerback Joselio Hanson to a multi-year deal, made Sheppard expendable for the Eagles. Hanson received an increasing amount of playing time as the No. 3 cornerback as last season progressed.
Joselio Hanson: multi-year deal. Oh, Howie.
Cowboys – 2010 2nd round NFL Draft trade
The worst move of the Howie Roseman era is one most fans probably don’t even think about in the mix of Watkins and Smith and Jackson and McCoy.
The Eagles traded the 55th overall pick of the 2010 draft for the 59th pick and the 125th pick.
Dallas used the 55th pick to draft Sean Lee.
But it gets worse! The Eagles dumped the 59th pick for three picks from the Browns, including the 71st pick that year. Golden Tate was taken with the 60th pick and linebacker Brandon Spikes was taken two picks later. At 71, the Eagles opted to trade down again, and Green Bay moved up to take Morgan Burnett, who has started 90 games at safety for the Packers.
The Eagles got the 86th and 122nd picks from the Packers and took Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Mike Kafka. So, yeah, the Eagles could have drafted Sean Lee. Instead, they got Mike Kafka.