September 06, 2022
The pick of Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson was a massive error, and on Tuesday morning, Howie Roseman admitted to what Philadelphia and the rest of the football world already knew.
"Listen, it's obvious," the Eagles' general manager said on a call with the WIP Morning Show. "I'm not gonna sit here and lie that we would love to have that moment back."
Reagor was traded to Minnesota last week after two highly underwhelming seasons in Midnight Green.
The Eagles took him out of TCU with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 draft as their boost to a weak receiving corps. It was a reach, especially with Jefferson, the LSU standout, right there on the board.
They preached scheme fit over skill, but that line of thought aged horribly. Reagor was often invisible within the Eagles' offense and after two years had just 64 receptions for 695 yards and three touchdowns to show for his first-round billing.
The Vikings, with the next pick at 22, laughed at the decision, then immediately brought Jefferson to Minnesota, where he has since become one of the league's top wideouts.
In honor of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman’s departures, never forget when they laughed at the Eagles for skipping Justin Jefferson 💀 pic.twitter.com/NudV5YWzfB— Locked In (@LocktoMinny) January 10, 2022
It was a hard lesson learned.
"A lot of the message there is we just have to take the best players at all times," Roseman told WIP. "We don't have to worry so much about fit or what we have on the team. You go back to that moment, we had two tight ends [Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert] who were really good in the middle of the field, Greg Ward was coming off a really good year in the slot, and so we were looking for a specific role as opposed to just kind of grading the players, and that's on me. 100 percent.
"At the end of the day, I'm responsible for all that. I take responsibility, but I promise you one thing if I make a mistake I'm gonna do everything in my power to make it up."
And it's apparent that he course-corrected pretty hard.
The next year at the 2021 draft, Roseman wasted no time overthinking and went right for DeVonta Smith, one of the class' top receivers out of Alabama, with the 10th overall pick. Then he swung the trade with the Titans for A.J. Brown this past April to give the Eagles one of the NFL's top receiving duos, on paper, heading into the 2022 season.
Roseman also wiped the slate clean from two of his biggest draft miscues with the Reagor trade and, earlier in the month before that, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside's trade to Seattle – another receiver selection from 2019 that never panned out.
"I believe that all these moments, they lead to where you're getting," Roseman said. "I feel like when we won a world championship [in 2017], there were some mistakes made in that process that led us to get where we wanted to be, so I can't go back in time and change it.
"All I can do is try to learn from it and get better."
The Eagles, thanks to a strong draft and a run of high-profile trades and free-agent signings throughout the spring and summer, are entering the new season as one of the league's most hyped teams.
It's a gift and, as it sometimes goes in Philly, a curse (Dream Team, anyone?). Roseman was reluctant to give himself the 'offseason champion' crown because of it.
"I don't know. We gotta go play a game in Detroit this weekend and we'll find out."
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