Did you know that Howie Roseman, at age 34, was once the youngest General Manager in NFL history? He held that title until Andrew Berry, who worked under Roseman last year, became the youngest at age 32. Berry actually credited Roseman as the "best GM in the sport". That's just some of the high praise that Howie has received from around the league.
Roseman was the architect of the Eagles franchise's only Super Bowl championship team in 2017, but his abilities have since been doubted. What Roseman has done during his tenure ranking in the Philadelphia Eagles front office is impressive. Roseman believes in his principles to build a champion, it needs to be homegrown while sprinkling in veteran leadership through free agency. He has learned to lean on those principles to build a championship team while going through his fair share of trials and tribulations.
During the regular season, our writer Travis talked about Roseman's previous two drafts and how he has become a bit underrated. This article will dive much deeper than that original article, spanning Roseman's entire tenure as the General Manager.
Howie Roseman's Draft Classes
Howie's first season as Eagles GM came in 2010. This was a big off-season for the Eagles, but we will get into that later. First, looking at Roseman's first draft - he found a few starters throughout.
2010 Draft Hits: Brandon Graham (1), Riley Cooper (5), Kurt Coleman (7), Jamar Chaney (7)
2010 Draft Misses: Nate Allen (2), Daniel T'eo Neishiem (3)
At this point, the Eagles have found their next franchise QB in Vick, and Roseman went on a shopping spree during free agency. Yes - the "Dream Team". Remember those principles to building a championship of Howie's? Completely out the window.
2011 Draft Hits: Jason Kelce (6), Dion Lewis (5)
2011 Draft Misses: Danny Watkins (1), Jaiquawn Jarrett (2), Curtis Marsh (3)
2011 was a catastrophe. The whole off-season, including the draft, was a disaster. It is almost as if the front office spent their entire time looking at the free agents available rather than paying attention to what their scouts were saying. Howie got away from his principles and to many fans that off-season is his scarlet letter. He did find a diamond in the rough in Kelce, giving the team hope heading into the 2012 draft.
2012 Draft Hits: Fletcher Cox (1), Mychal Kendricks (2), Vinny Curry (2), Nick Foles (3), Dennis Kelly (5)
2012 Draft Misses: None. Anything after a day two pick (2nd or 3rd round) is not a "miss".
The Eagles' 2012 draft class featured four Super Bowl starters AND the Super Bowl MVP. Looking back on this class, it may have been the Eagle's best draft class of the decade - until the 2013 draft class.
2013 Draft Hits: Lane Johnson (1), Zach Ertz (2)
2013 Draft Misses: None. The team's 3rd round pick was Bennie Logan who played well here.
Howie put together two outstanding draft classes together over the prior two seasons. However, Chip Kelly came into town and demanded personnel control - including final say in draft choices. In hindsight, this was not a good move given what Howie was building here.
2014 Draft Hits: Beau Allen (7)
2014 Draft misses: Marcus Smith (1), Jordan Matthews (2), Josh Huff (3)
Howie put together two outstanding draft classes together over the prior two seasons. However, Chip Kelly came into town and demanded personnel control - including a final say in draft choices. In hindsight, this was not a good move given what Howie was building here.rs in Philly, but there was no one else to throw to on the outside; he didn't live up to the price tag of a 2nd rounder. That was a Chip draft, and so was the 2015 one.
2015 Draft Hits: Jordan Hicks (3)
2015 Draft Misses: Eric Rowe (2)
Another disappointment. By now, Chip Kelly is gone, Howie is back in charge of bringing in players and Doug Pederson now mans the head coaching vacancy. The Eagles own the 13th pick in the draft, but Howie want's a franchise QB. There are two in the 2016 draft - Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz. It was determined that the Rams wanted the LA kid, given the upcoming franchise relocation. Howie needed to move up to the 2nd overall pick to get his guy. First he swings a deal with the Miami Dolphins, sending Oregon's own Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell, and the 13th pick to get into the top ten. Howie then sent a package of draft picks to the Cleveland Browns for the 2nd pick in the NFL draft.
2016 Draft Hits: Carson Wentz (1), Isaac Seumalo (3), Halapoulavaati Vaitai (5), Jalen Mills (7)
2016 Draft Misses: None. The team traded their 2nd round pick to trade up for Wentz.
The Eagles know they have something special in Wentz. They built depth in the offensive line, and they know they are a few pieces away from contending. Wentz carried an offense that did not have many weapons outside of Ertz and Sproles. However, the defense was not good, and needed more resources.
2017 Draft Hits: Derek Barnett (1), Nate Gerry (5)
2017 Draft Misses: Sidney Jones (2)
Another disappointment. By now, Chip Kelly is gone, Howie is back in charge of bringing in players and Doug Pederson now mans the head coaching vacancy. The Eagles own the 13th pick in the draft, but Howie wants a franchise QB. There are two in the 2016 draft - Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz. It was determined that the Rams wanted the LA kid, given the upcoming franchise relocation. Howie needed to move up to the 2nd overall pick to get his guy. First, he swings a deal with the Miami Dolphins, sending Oregon's own Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell, and the 13th pick to get into the top ten. Howie then sent a package of draft picks to the Cleveland Browns for the 2nd pick in the NFL draft.
2018 Draft Hits: Dallas Goedert (2), Avonte Maddox (4), Josh Sweat (4)
2018 Draft Misses: None. The team traded out of the 32nd pick to acquire draft capital.
Another solid draft in 2018 for Howie and the scouts. Take a look at the franchise talent and depth pieces the team has brought in through the draft, and you will begin to better appreciate Howie. The 2019 draft is no different.
2019 Draft Hits: Andre Dillard (1), Miles Sanders (2)
2019 Draft Misses: It is simply too early to label J.J Arcega-Whiteside a draft bust.
Scroll back up and take a look at the decade's worth of draft picks. There are many more draft hits that have turned into franchise players than draft busts for the Eagles. While Howie may have had some say in the 2014 and 2015 draft classes - it was pretty obvious who was running the show for the team. The exciting part is that Howie Roseman learned, and got better at drafting as the years of experience began to build. Rather than blaming the "Dream Team" on someone else (and continue to attempt to build his team through free agency), Howie took it on the chin, took accountability and got back to his principles of building a championship. Roseman did, however, sign a few under the radar names who flourished into Pro Bowlers under the Eagles.
Free Agents/Team Signings
As mentioned a few times already, Howie Roseman has talked before about his principles to building a championship football team. It begins with building a team with homegrown talent. Next, when you know that the homegrown talent you have is special, reward them with a second or third contract - locking them up for the foreseeable future. Championships cannot be won during free agency. So what gave during the 2010-2011 off-season?
We all remember "The Dream Team". During Roseman's second off-season as GM, he brought together some of the biggest names in free agency to build out the team's roster. The Eagles won the off-season that year. During training camp, Vince Young, the backup QB the Eagles brought in during free agency, named the Eagles "The Dream Team." Hopes were high in Philly, but when the season kicked off, not a ton of winning was done. At one point the Eagles were 4-8, but they rallied and ended up finishing with an 8-8 record.
This was a very off-brand move for Howie, and it backfired in a huge way. Roseman has since come out and stated that he regrets that year, and got away from his philosophy of building his teams. Let's take a look at what he learned from his early days of being a GM.
We already took a look at the homegrown talent portion of Howie's philosophy/principles. He enjoys having a number of draft picks, and using them to either obviously select players, or trade up to get the guy they want. Howie makes it a priority once he knows that homegrown player is special, to lock up the younger ones long term before they hit the open market.
2011 Contract Extensions: Mike Vick
2012 Contract Extensions: Desean Jackson, Todd Herramens, Trent Cole
2014 Contract Extensions: Darren Sproles after trading for him, Allen Barbre
2015 Contract Extensions: Mychal Kendricks, Demeco Ryans
2016 Contract Extensions: Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox, Brent Celek, Chris Maragos, Donnie "Long Ball" Jones, Jon Dorenbos
2017 Contract Extensions: Jason Peters, Tim Jernigan, Alshon Jeffrey
2018 Contract Extensions: Doug Pederson
2019 Contract Extensions: Jason Kelce, Carson Wentz, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson
Free Agent Pick Ups
2010 pickups: N/A
2011 pickups: Evan Mathis
2012 pickups: N/A
2013 pickups: Connor Barwin
2014 pick ups: Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Maragos, Bryan Braman
2015 pickups: Walter Thurmond, Raheem Mostert (UDFA)
2016 pickups: Rodney Mcleod, Nigel Bradham, Stefen Wisniewski
2017 pickups: Nick Foles, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long, Patrick Robinson
2018 pickups: Haloti Ngata, Cre'von LeBlanc
2019 pickups: Malik Jackson
When you take a look at the 2017 Super Bowl roster, Howie's fingerprints are all over it. Howie Roseman constructed that roster and has since been dragged through the dirt by some fans. As the youngest GM, at the time, in the NFL - Howie took his lumps early and was even "put in the side of the building" where Jason Kelce didn't see him for a year. However, Howie rose from the ashes like a Phoenix and in the words of Jason Kelce "a different man. He came out with a purpose and drive to make this (SB52 parade) possible." Howie came out an underdog and a hungry dog. As we know, "Hungry Dogs Run Faster." Even after winning that Super Bowl, I believe that Howie Roseman is still, in 2020, an underrated General Manager.