Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is doing damage control after senior football adviser Tom Donahoe seemingly shaded his fist bump Friday in a viral video during the 2021 NFL Draft.
On Tuesday, Roseman gave his perspective of the cringeworthy moment, which occurred after the Eagles selected Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Milton Williams with the 73rd pick in the third round. After the pick was announced, in typical NFL Draft fashion, a camera inside the Eagles draft room showed Roseman and Co. celebrating their pick. When Roseman approached Donahoe with a fist bump, he was met with a poker-faced mean-mug that made him shrug his shoulders, seemingly asking Donahoe what was wrong.
Roseman, in his explanation, hinted that Donahoe had his eye on another lineman — Alim McNeill out of NC State — which was the presumed reason for the awkward on-camera exchange. The Lions ended up taking McNeill at No. 72 overall, after Roseman opted to trade down from 70 to 73 for an additional sixth-round pick.
“Discussion and debate and having these conversations, it’s OK. You’d rather have that passion,” Roseman said on SportsRadio 94 WIP Tuesday, via Crossing Broad. “Tom’s been here for a long time. We’ve been together for 10 years, extremely close relationship. It’s OK to have tough conversations, and Tom and I have had a lot of them in 10 years.”
Roseman went on to explain his reasoning behind selecting Williams at 73.
“We’re at pick 70, we have two guys standing out on our board, two defensive guys. Two defensive linemen, and they’re different. Different flavors. One is a three technique and one is more of a nose tackle. Obviously everyone likes different flavors,” Roseman said. “Carolina calls and they’re picking two picks behind us, and (general manager) Scott Fitterer says ‘Howie, you want to drop down two picks for our top-of-the-sixth-round pick?’ I said, ‘you gotta tell me offense or defense’ and he told me they were taking an offensive player.
“So we know we’re gonna get one of these two (defensive players). And when we talk to our coaches about their fit and role they’re excited about these two guys. So one of them goes (McNeill), and then we take Milton Williams.
Roseman also addressed the narrative that he isn’t collaborative with the Eagles front office when it comes to the draft process, and mostly refers to his own draft board.
“That’s ridiculous,” Roseman said on 94WIP. “Every single person on our staff has their own draft board. That’s how we write up reports. [Coach] Nick [Sirianni] has his own draft board, [vice president of player personnel] Andy Weidl has his own draft board, Tom Donahoe has his own draft board, I have my own draft board. That’s how we rank players. That’s how our system is set up, to do that.
“We have an Eagles draft board that reflects a lot of things and my job is to bring them all together. My job is to get the coaches’ perspective, the scouts’ perspective, the medical perspective, the character perspective as we do this process. My job is to try to reflect all of that. I listen to everyone to try and make these decisions. And at the same time, someone may be unhappy because it may not be reflected accurately in all the information that I have that they may not have.”
The pressure is on in Philadelphia to deliver a more successful season than last when it finished 4-11-1 in the NFC East and parted ways with Doug Pederson, who delivered the franchise its first Super Bowl in 2018.
Although the Eagles have yet to name Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback — they traded QB Carson Wentz to the Colts in February — they drafted some familiar help for the second-year pass-thrower. Hurts’ old Alabama teammates, wide receiver DeVonta Smith went to Philly with the 10th overall pick and offensive lineman Landon Dickerson joined at No. 37 in the second round.