Howie Roseman gives full explanation of awkward NFL draft moment

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Dave Zangaro
·4 min read
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Roseman gives full explanation of awkward draft moment with Tom Donahoe originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

By now you’ve seen the video.

After the Eagles slid down a few spots in the third round of the draft to take defensive tackle Milton Williams, general manager Howie Roseman is bouncing around, excitedly fist-bumping with those inside the Eagles’ draft room. Then he gets to senior football advisor Tom Donahoe, who isn’t pleased.

Donahoe gives a half-hearted fist bump and tersely mutters a few words under his breath. Roseman lifts his hands in the air in confusion. And the whole thing gets broadcasted on national television, then shared countless times on social media.

Not a good look for an organization that has been battling reports of dysfunction between its departments this offseason.

On Friday night, Roseman answered a question about the disagreement but he gave a much fuller answer about what happened to 94WIP Tuesday morning with Angelo Cataldi.

“Let me tell you the story about what happened there, because I think you guys deserve it,” Roseman said. “I’ll give you some insight into it. We’re at pick [No. 70], we have two guys standing out on our board, two defensive linemen. And they’re different flavors. One is a 3 technique, one is more of a nose tackle. And so obviously when you have different flavors, everyone likes a different flavor. So Carolina calls and they’re picking two picks behind us and (Panthers GM) Scott Fitterer says, ‘Hey Howie, you want to drop down two picks for our top of the sixth-round pick?’ I said, ‘You gotta tell me offense-defense.’ He said, ‘I’m taking an offensive player.’ So we know we’re getting one of these two guys.

“And when we talked to our coaches about their fit and their role, we are excited about these two guys. And so one of them goes and then we take Milton Williams. I didn’t even know where the cameras were, to be honest, as you probably know at this point.”

To recap, the Eagles had pick No. 70 but traded down to 73 and picked up a sixth-rounder (No. 191) in the process.

70. Panthers: Brady Chrstensen, OT, BYU

71. Giants: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

72. Alim McNeill, DT, NC State

73. Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech

So it’s pretty obvious that Donahoe, who has been with the Eagles since 2012, preferred McNeill in this instance. The Eagles ended up with Williams, who is a much different player. McNeill is a 317-pound nose tackle and Williams is a 284-pound 3 technique, a much more penetrating player.

For reference, here are how some analysts had them ranked among defensive tackles:

Dan Brugler: Williams 4th, McNeill 7th

PFF: McNeill 2nd, Williams 3rd

Daniel Jeremiah: McNeill 3rd, Williams 4th

In Jeremiah’s list of his top 150 players overall, he had McNeill at No. 71 and Williams at No. 72. So these guys were very close in rankings but are very different players.

If you look at this from Donahoe’s perspective, if the Eagles lost out on a player they (or he) wanted more just to pick up a sixth-round pick, that’s not great.

But a day after we all saw the video of an upset Donahoe, the Eagles released a video of the same moment from a different angle that showed Jonathan Gannon’s reaction to the Williams pick. He was pumped. Obviously, the Eagles put this out for a reason but it does mean something.

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And Roseman argued that the Eagles got their nose tackle type in the sixth round when they drafted Marlon Tuipulotu, who had a Day 2 grade for the Eagles, Roseman said.

As far as the disagreement between Roseman and Donahoe, who is a two-time former GM in the NFL, Roseman offered this to WIP:

“Discussion and debate and having these conversations, it’s OK,” Roseman said. “You’d rather have that. You’d rather have that passion. Tom’s been here for a long time, we’ve been together for 10 years, extremely close relationship. It’s OK to have tough conversations and Tom and I have had a lot of them in 10 years and that’s why you want people around you who aren’t going to just tell you everything you’re doing is OK. They’re going to give you their perspective and we have that. I think Andy (Weidl) said it really right after the second day when he said our job is to make sure we’re fulfilling the vision of the head coach. And this guy, fans are going to love Milton Williams.”

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