Eagles GM Howie Roseman's latest roster trick: Stockpiling other teams' draft picks

Eagles GM Howie Roseman's latest roster trick: Stockpiling other teams' draft picks originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have added 23 draft picks this offseason.

Draft picks they didn’t draft.

One of Howie Roseman’s go-to moves this offseason has been to stock up on former draft picks – a lot of them pretty high draft picks – most of whom didn’t work out with their original team or found themselves out of work.

Including six 1st-round picks and 15 in the first three rounds.

Now, a few of them were big-ticket free agents. Saquon Barkley got a huge contract, Devin White has been a Pro Bowler, C.J. Gardner-Johnson was just here two years ago. Everybody knows those guys. But most of these are players trying to revive their careers, who were once considered good enough to be drafted on Day 1 or Day 2 but didn’t have the career they hoped for.

Roseman and Nick Sirianni have emphasized that they want increased competition at training camp and what better way to generate that than by bringing in a ton of guys who were once considered top prospects and are trying to revive their careers?

Most of these are no-risk, high-reward signings.

They didn’t cost anything, there's little or no guaranteed money and there’s no cap liability if they don't work out. But the Eagles got a bunch of guys at every position who at some point were pretty highly regarded.

All these acquisitions have something in their history – whether it’s past production, physical traits or a stellar college career – that says maybe they can help. The Eagles knew there wouldn’t be a particularly deep class of undrafted rookies this year, so they stocked up on players who aren’t drafted or rookies.

We’ll see what happens. Most of these guys are roster longshots. Several will never play in the league again. But once again, this is Roseman being creative when it comes to roster management.

Let’s take a look:

1st round

QB Kenny Pickett [Acquired from the Steelers March 16]: The Steelers gave up on the 20th player in the draft after just two seasons and a 14-10 record in 24 career starts. As of now, he’s Jalen Hurts’ backup.

LB Devin White [Signed to one-year contract, March 18]: White signed with the Eagles as a free agent after five up-and-down years in Tampa. White made the Pro Bowl in 2021 but overall had a disappointing run in Tampa as the fifth overall pick in 2019.

RB Saquon Barkley [Signed to three-year contract, March 13]: The Eagles’ biggest move of the offseason, Barkley was the second pick in 2018. He’s the eighth first or second overall pick the Eagles have signed as a free agent since 1970 (Irving Fryar, Michael Vick, Ronnie Brown, Chris Long, Ndamukong Suh, Sam Bradford, Marcus Mariota).

WR DeVante Parker [Signed to one-year contract, March 14]: The Dolphins made Parker the 14th pick in the 2015 draft but despite a 1,200-yard season in 2019 he averaged only 629 yards in nine NFL seasons, the last two with the Patriots. As of now, he’s the likely WR3 going into camp.

OL Mekhi Becton [Signed to one-year contract, April 29]: After the Jets didn’t try to re-sign the 11th pick in the 2020 draft when he hit free agency, the Eagles snapped him up on a one-year deal to back up both tackle spots.

WR John Ross [Tryout player in rookie camp, April 28]: Ross was the ninth player taken in the 2017 draft but had only 62 catches for 957 yards and 11 TDs in parts of five seasons before retiring. The Eagles brought him in last week as a tryout player but so far haven't signed him.

2nd round

WR Parris Campbell [Signed to one-year contract, March 21]: Campbell was the 59th player taken in 2019 but he managed only 1,087 yards in four seasons with the Colts and Giants. His 9.3 career average is 5th-lowest in NFL history among wide receivers with at least 100 receptions.

3rd round

OL Le’Raven Clark [Signed to futures contract, Jan. 22]: Clark was the 82ndplayer taken in the 2016 draft and the 15th offensive lineman, three picks after Isaac Seumalo. He spent five years with the Colts and has been on and off the Eagles’ roster and practice squad since 2021. The Eagles signed him to a futures contract in January but placed him on IR last week.

LB / Edge Oren Burks [Signed to one-year contract, March 18]: The Packers made Burks the 88th pick in the 2018 draft. He’s played in 91 games with 15 starts in four years with the Packers and two with the 49ers. Started a career-high five games last year.

QB Will Grier [Signed to one-year contract, March 23]: Grier was the fifth quarterback taken in the 2019 draft, the 100th player taken overall. He started two games for the Panthers as a rookie – lost both, threw no TDs and four interceptions – and hasn’t played since. But he’s here because of his familiarity with Kellen Moore’s offense and nobody expects him to have to play here or even make the roster.

LB / Edge Zack Baun [Signed to one-year contract, March 13]: The Saints drafted Baun 74th overall in 2020 and he played in 62 games starting 10 in four years in New Orleans.

OL Matt Hennessy [Signed to one-year contract, March 13]: The 78th pick in 2020,Hennessy started 22 games with the Saints and is expected to compete at right guard and provide interior line depth this year.

LB Terrell Lewis [Signed to futures contract, Jan. 22]: After playing at Alabama, Lewis was the Rams’ the 84th overall pick in 2020. He played in 30 games with seven games with the Rams from 2020 through 2022.

LB Julian Okwara [Signed to unknown contract, Feb. 14]: Another futures contract guy who was once a 3rd-round pick, Okwara was the 67th player taken overall in 2020. He played in 38 games, starting four, in four years with the Lions.

RB Tyrion Davis-Price [Signed to unknown contract, Feb. 20]: The 49ers liked Davis-Price enough coming out of LSU that they selected him with the 93rd pick in the 2022 draft, making him the fifth running back taken. Davis-Price averaged 3.0 yards per carry on 40 rushing attempts in San Francisco.

4th round

TE Albert Okwuegbunam [Signed to one-year contract, Feb. 23]: Albert O, Denver’s 4th-round pick in 2020, was signed as a free agent, but he was here last year, played in four games and had one target and no catches. In three years with the Broncos, he caught 54 passes for 546 yards and four touchdowns.

TE Jacob Harris [Signed to futures contract, Jan. 22]: The Rams selected Harris in the fourth round in 2021 out of Central Florida. He’s spent time with the Rams and Jaguars and has one catch for six yards in 18 NFL games – from Bryce Perkins against the Chiefs in 2022.

LB Brandon Smith [Signed to futures contract, Jan. 22]: Former Penn Stater was the Panthers’ 4th-round pick in 2022 but only played 12 games for Carolina before getting released. He spent some time on the Eagles’ practice squad last year and got into two games on special teams only as a game-day callup. The Eagles re-signed him when the season ended.

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson [Signed to three-year contract March 12]: Two years after he had a huge six-interception season with the Eagles, C.J. is back. Was originally the Saints’ 4th-round pick in 2019.

5th round

TE C.J. Uzomah [signed to one-year contract, April 11]: Uzomah was an under-the-radar signing, but he’s a nine-year veteran with 192 career receptions for 1,181 yards and 16 touchdowns. His best year was in 2021 with the Bengals when he caught 49 for 493 and five.

OT Darian Kennard [signed to unknown contract, Feb. 20]: The Chiefs’ 5th-round pick in 2022, he has two Super Bowl rings but has never played in an NFL game. Attended noted Cleveland football factory St. Ignatius, also the alma mater of Jonathan Gannon.

6th round

CB Isaiah Rodgers [activated from suspended list, April 23]: Technically, the Eagles signed Rodgers last year, but they got him this offseason after the NFL cleared him following his one-year suspension for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Rodgers played in 45 games with 10 starts in three years with the Colts. He had three interceptions and a 101-yard kickoff return in Indy.

7th round

RB Lew Nichols [Signed to futures contract, Jan. 22]: The Packers’ 7th-round pick last year, Nicholas hasn’t played a regular-season game, but check out his 2021 season with Central Michigan: 1,848 rushing yards, 18 TDs, 40 receptions.

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