May 02, 2022
The only thing I enjoy about Mondays is writing this column! In the most Philadelphia fashion possible, the past week in Philly sports was as uneven as humanly possible:
• The Sixers looked like they were going to be the first NBA team to ever blow a 3-0 lead, going down 3-2. They then battled back and absolutely destroyed Toronto in a Game 6 blowout. Joel Embiid suffered an injury late in Game 6, however, that will keep him sidelined for the indefinite future.
• The Phillies scored 32 runs across a four-game sweep of the Rockies at CBP. They then proceeded to go to Queens and lose two out of three to the Mets while getting no-hit on Friday and then surrendering 10 runs on Sunday.
• The Flyers ended their season with a whimper unlike any Flyers squad in my lifetime. There's no positive spin on their week.
• The Birds? Well, actually... things were consistently great for the Eagles.
That leads me to crowning the winner of Philly sports over the past week. It's an easy decision. As a reminder...
Every Monday going forward, I'll pick a Philly sports figure who "won" the previous week. What's the credential for winning? Well, it's ultra-subjective...
It's time give props to a man I've given a healthy amount of criticism over the years: Howie Roseman.
Roseman's week: Drafted the two best defensive players on the best collegiate defense of the 21st century, found Jason Kelce's successor, had a killer undrafted free agent class and brought the best wide receiver since Terrell Owens to Philly.
The biggest event in Philly sports this week, overpowering even a Sixers playoff series, was Roseman swinging a trade for Brown, a soon-to-be 25-year-old Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Over the first three seasons of his career, Brown has caught 185 passes, recorded 2,995 receiving yards and scored 24 receiving touchdowns. Only nine players have matched that mark over the course of the last three seasons: Brown, Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Tyler Lockett, Mike Evans and D.K. Metcalf (numbers via Stathead). Now that's good company!
Eagles fans have been right to be optimistic that 2021 first-round pick DeVonta Smith can be a legit No. 1 receiver in this league. He doesn't even need that label to reach his full potential with Brown now in town. The Birds will now have one of the best WR pairings in the league. They'll join the likes of Lockett and Metcalf in Seattle, Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Miami, Adams and Hunter Renfrow in Las Vegas, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in Cincinnati and Mike Williams and Keenan Allen in Los Angeles.
It's not hyperbole to say this is the franchise's biggest acquisition since the team traded for Owens before the 2004 season. Sure, there are moves that have paid off big time for the Eagles in the time since then like the 2014 signing of Malcom Jenkins and bringing back Nick Foles for the 2017 campaign. No single move, however, has raised the team's ceiling like this since Owens ended up in midnight green.
Roseman has constructed a dynamic group of skill position players between Brown, Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert, to say nothing of how Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell can break a game open any given Sunday. Even after whiffing on the J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor picks, Roseman has still assembled a nucleus that should have the Eagles playing January football.
All the chips are in place for Jalen Hurts to establish himself as the Birds' QB going forward. There are no excuses now between these skill guys and the best offensive line in all of football. In the event that Hurts doesn't pan out the way the franchise hopes, the team will still be an enticing landing spot for a quarterback next offseason, whether through trade or the draft. That's a credit to Roseman.
The Eagles did exactly what I wanted them to do in the first round of the draft on Thursday, jumping up a few spots to land Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. I raved about Davis before the draft, stating that his ability to collapse the line of scrimmage and command the attention of two-to-three offensive linemen at any given time is incredible. I believe in his upside as a pass-rusher given more freedom at the pro level and he will immediately bolster a much-heralded defensive line that underwhelmed in 2021.
Davis is one of the most unique prospects to hit the NFL in recent memory. Roseman recognized that. Simply parting with a few Day 3 picks to leap a team like Baltimore to land Davis could be a turn of events that Eagles fans talk about for years to come.
Davis isn't the only player from the vaunted Georgia defense to end up an Eagle, as Bulldog linebacker Nakobe Dean fell to the Birds in the third round. Dean's pectoral injury concerns dropped him down draft boards even though he was a first round LB talent. There's a risk in selecting Dean because of his medicals, but with the 83rd pick, it's more than worth it to taking a swing on a dude who could be a serious defensive building block for years to come if he overcomes the injury woes.
Hey, Roseman once used a third-round pick on Davion Taylor. Even if Dean has a career that's derailed due to injuries, the process behind the Dean selection is way better than anything Roseman has ever done for the Eagles' linebacker corps.
Davis won the Outland Trophy for being the nation's best interior lineman and the Bednarik Award as the country's best defensive player in 2021. Dean won the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football. Both players were unanimous First-Team All-American choices. Roseman bet on the best players from the best team who played against elite talent. That's exactly what he should be doing.
The Eagles only made five draft picks, which caused them to be super active in signing undrafted free agents.They certainly were, pouring big money into the class in order to bring the best possible talent to Philly. Even though Roseman didn't address cornerback in the draft itself, he signed two CBs in Alabama's Josh Jobe and Clemson's Mario Goodrich. Both players were early Day 3 picks to me. Good job, Howie!
Roseman also signed Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks. In 37 collegiate games, Brooks totaled 3,320 and 31 touchdowns on 7.0 yards per carry. Brooks rushed for 1,011 yards in 2019 alone while playing alongside Hurts during the latter's lone season in Norman.
The Eagles have maximized their running back group, putting together a historic rushing attack in 2021. Brooks should help the Birds continue that pace in 2022.
Kyle Schwarber is a certified Mets killer. He homered three times over the weekend in Queens and he's now raking against New York better than almost any player in league history:
Most HR in 1st 36 career games vs Mets:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 2, 2022
Kyle Schwarber: 16
Willie Mays: 15
Willie McCovey: 15
Kyle Schwarber is hitting .192. He’s on pace for 49 homers.— Nathan Ackerman (@NathanAckerman_) May 2, 2022
The Sixers' Game 5 loss at home was humiliating, but I give the team credit for heading on the road to Toronto for Game 6 and taking care of business swiftly. James Harden turned in his best performance as a Sixer in two months, dropping an uber-efficient 22-6-15 line and cooking up some dinosaur chicken nuggets in the process. Harden was a game high +38 in the 35-point victory. He's going to need to replicate that nightly if the Sixers are going to survive early in their second-round series with the Heat due to Embiid's absence.
You can't get no-hit against the Mets. Come on.
Last week's winner: Tobias Harris
Who Won the Week 2022 Tally:
Tyrese Maxey: 1
Tobias Harris: 1
Howie Roseman: 1
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