Not only is this week's NFL Draft the first to take place in Philadelphia, it's also the first for Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas, who joined the Eagles from the Bears this offseason after several years in Baltimore and will be the guy to set the Birds' draft board in advance of Thursday's first round.
It will be interesting to see how that impacts the organization's draft philosophy, especially with the plethora of options that are expected to be available when they pick at 14th overall. And because of that – coupled with the fact that one of the biggest knocks on Howie Roseman has been his ability to evaluate talent – the Eagles may have picked the perfect year to bring Douglas on board, according to ESPN draft expert Todd McShay.
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"[The Eagles are] in great hands," McShay told PhillyVoice. "I think the world of Joe Douglas and [Assistant Director of Player Personnel] Andy Weidl. I think they’re two of the best when it comes to college evaluations and personnel evaluations and handling the draft. There’s nothing I think they should do that they won’t do. In the end, they’ll make the right decision."
But it's more than just his ability to evaluate prospects. Douglas also learned from Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. And it's that mentorship – and the level-headed temperament he learned from Newsome during their time together – that could be most beneficial to Douglas and the Eagles.
"In addition to his unbelievable knowledge of the players and the work ethic that he has and the ability to put guys in the right place, [Douglas] spent the vast majority of his career with Ozzie Newsome and that group in Baltimore," McShay said. "So he learned from one of the best in the business, maybe the best. Definitely one of the best, let’s put it that way.
"And I think he understands the importance of draft picks. I know he’s got a very calm demeanor, and he’s not a guy who is going to get overly worked up and emotional. And I think that’s an underrated quality when it comes to draft day. Ozzie Newsome, over the years, has taken advantage of other teams that are overly emotional and get overly excited about getting one player and are willing to give up too much. The New England Patriots, Bill Belichick is the same way. They’ve exploited teams for years. And I think Joe has that calm demeanor about him and will bring that to the room.
"I think he’s an unbelievable human being and guy too. So I think he’s the complete package – and there’s no one in the business I respect more than that guy."
That's pretty high praise for a guy who is entering his first draft as an organization's top personnel guy. We'll find out more about Douglas during the draft based on the picks he makes – and even more once we see how those picks pan out in the NFL.
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