Here’s the good news: It will be hard for Howie Roseman to screw up the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.
I know the ghosts of Danny Watkins and Marcus Smith loom large in your memories, Eagles fans. And I’m aware of the cautionary tales of JaMarcus Russell, Vernon Gholston and every other bust who ever stood at the podium shaking Roger Goodell’s hand.
But this one is simple. The 2017 draft is loaded, particularly at three spots where the Eagles need the most help: cornerback, running back and edge rusher. All Roseman and personnel chief Joe Douglas have to do is sit on their hands until Pick 14 and decide among several great options.
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Want to help the secondary? Either Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) or Gareon Conley (Ohio State) should be standing by the Art Museum, anxiously waiting for the team hosting the draft to make them a fan favorite.
Of course, nothing would delight the green-clad throng Thursday more than grabbing a game-changing running back — and to hell with that notion that the ground game is obsolete. The Eagles’ offseason priority has been adding weapons to Carson Wentz’s arsenal. Both Dalvin Cook (FSU) and Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) could be nuclear-grade.
And if Tennessee DE Derek Barnett or Alabama LB Reuben Foster is still available at Pick 14? The Eagles would be wise to grab either.
The best scenario is for at least two teams picking ahead of the Eagles to overreach for a QB, likely Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson — neither of whom probably deserves to go in the top 13 picks. That would succeed in pushing prime beef down to the Birds.
Of course, there are no guarantees that: a) Roseman and Douglas will refrain from outsmarting themselves; and b) even the no-brainer pick pans out in the end. We’ve seen enough draft darlings wind up tripping over the yard markers.
But consider this: Over the past decade, the 14th overall pick has included Robert Quinn, Earl Thomas, Malcolm Jenkins and Darrelle Revis. Alas, the last bust taken at that spot is probably Broderick Bunkley, selected by the Eagles in 2006.
So, it’ll be tough for Roseman to screw this up. In fact, I see only one way.
Picture this: We’re all waiting nervously Thursday night, a quarter-million fans crammed onto the Ben Franklin Parkway. The mood gets edgier as the picks click on . . . 12 . . . 13 . . .
Now, Goodell strides onstage to yet another cacophony of jeers. The commissioner taps the microphone. The Eagles pep band stifles its banjos. The crowd goes silent.
Goodell begins to speak. “We have a deal,” he says. “The Eagles have traded down . . .”
That’s it. That’s the only foolish move this franchise could make — and the only way the Eagles would elicit a symphony of boos the world would never let us forget.
Sometimes the smart move is the most obvious move. This is one of those times.