The Eagles had an exciting first night 2022 NFL Draft — trading up Jordan Davis’ draft at No. 13 and trading No. 18 (and 101) for AJ Brown — but they’re not done yet. At the end of the first round, general manager Howie Roseman, head coach Nick Sirianni and vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl explained to reporters why they made the moves they made on Thursday night and how Davis and Brown would match what the Eagles are trying to do. to build.
HOWIE ROSEMAN“We still have two days to go here. We have a lot of work to do. Of course, when you started with ten choices and are down to six; I think Andy [Weidl] and his staff are a little mad at me right now for that. Let’s just see what’s going on here. But we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of areas that we want to continue to improve in this football team. This work will not stop. It’s not going to stop on Saturday, it’s not going to stop on Sunday and it’s not going to stop really until the commercial line. Even then, we’ll look at the waiver thread and keep working, trying to improve.
Here’s what they had to say:
On AJ Brown’s Trade
Roseman was asked if wide receivers earlier in the round considered the trade, but the GM said the trade was more contingent on getting an extension.
ROSEMAN: “[It was] something that we were working on during the draft, and we were just trying to balance finishing that, and if we didn’t finish that, we make sure we got the right players. But it didn’t matter who was on the board. For us. AJ Brown was someone we studied coming out of, that we spent a lot of time on, and we had a lot of love for AJ Brown coming out of that draft. Obviously things went differently in this draft, but really excited to have it – just in terms of how Coach [Sirianni] can use him and his vision for AJ Brown in this offense.
He went on to say that they love the way Brown compliments the other guys they have, and also explained that the WR’s relationship with “our quarterback,” Jalen Hurts, was something that turned them on.
Nick Sirianni then spoke about Brown and how he’s proven to be a productive player and someone they’re thrilled to add on offense.
SIRIANNI: “He plays with great game strength. This guy is a strong man. He’s quick for a big guy, and he catches everything. These are things that really stand out about his tape. There is no projection there. It’s like, ‘Well, that’s what he’s going to be in the NFL.’ No, you have seen it. You’ve seen him for three years now. And it’s just exciting to put on your tape and watch it.
Roseman mentioned that the deal was done very quickly and thanked Brown and his agent for making an extension so quickly, as things were unfolding to make the trade. As for why the Titans were willing to get rid of their top receiver, Roseman said it comes down to resources and the Eagles have more flexibility with Jalen Hurts still on a rookie contract.
ROSEMAN“I think for them, because the amount of resources we had and they’re also trying to hoard some of those resources, I think they thought it made sense to them at the time. And , you know obviously with all these players the contract is a big deal when you have a young quarterback like us you can be a little bit more aggressive with the contracts than you maybe can when you pay a quarterback.
Regarding Brown’s injury history, Roseman admitted that they had done medical work before the draft and that, while there were no guarantees or assurances, they knew what type of player he was and what he brought to the team.
ROSEMAN“Everything you do there is risky, but that’s what we’re going to be, we’re always going to be aggressive and we’re always going to shoot guys we believe in, and we believe in AJ Brown.”
Sirianni was asked how Brown complements DeVonta Smith and the offense, and the head coach pointed out that his size and strength will add a lot to the position.
SIRIANNI“He’s a bigger guy with a lot of game play. Like I said, he’s one of the strongest receivers in the NFL. I was next to him twice a year in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. So I saw him up close and personal, and then obviously we did our due diligence on tape.
But, yeah, there’s a lot of different things that because of his skill, because of that strength of play, because of that bodily quickness that he has and just the main one – the biggest asset that he has is the one that is so vital to the position. If you can’t catch the ball, you can’t play. And this guy catches it all.
And so, we can see it on a lot of different routes that fit our offense that uses that strength of play, that uses that speed, and that’s where it’s so tough. You want guys who can win one-on-one matches. And this guy has shown in the NFL that he will win one-on-one games.
The head coach later noted that having Brown on the court will help alleviate some of the focus on Smith from defenses and will also help boost Smith as he looks to make a leap from year 1 to year 2.
On the choice of Jordan Davis
As for the draft picks they had to give up to move to No. 13 to draft Davis, Roseman explained that he was a Top 10 guy for the Eagles, and with their commitment to OL and the DL, they wanted to make sure they could get Davis. The general manager went on to note that Jonathan Gannon is doing a lot of different things with the defensive scheme, and Davis is giving them more flexibility, especially adding him to Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave.
Andy Weidl talked about how the scouts spent a lot of time in Georgia and saw what Davis can do.
WEIDL“I think when you see a guy with that type of size, athleticism, and explosion that likes to play the game, he did what they asked him to do on their defense. He did the trick. He made them strong in the middle of defence.
But you saw the lateral quickness, you saw the range, you saw the ability to get down to the line of scrimmage and crush running backs and mow down quarterbacks. So we think he has it in his body, the explosion in his body. We are delighted to bring him here and integrate him into our program.
Weidl went on to acknowledge that it was difficult to find a lineup for Davis because he is such a unique player, citing his size, athleticism and outburst. He also called Davis’ professional training “exceptional”, but they were also impressed with the way he interacted with his teammates and how his personality emerged. Other players were drawn to the DT and his authentic personality, something the team felt when he visited the Eagles before the draft.
WEIDL“A guy like that, he keeps you strong in the middle of your defence. And having that strength in the middle of your defense is essential. It starts inside, it starts at the point.
And then I also think that I wouldn’t limit it just to the point. The guy has the ability to move around and play in different places along the defensive line. He has that type of athleticism, length, speed and lateral quickness to do it.
I wouldn’t say just limit him inside at the nose, but he makes us stronger there and I think he has the versatility to get up and down the line of scrimmage and help us out there .
As for why they moved up two spots to draft Davis, Roseman explained that they didn’t specifically think the Ravens were going to take him, but they didn’t want to take the risk. They didn’t want to be cute and miss the opportunity to add someone valuable.